Horned Deities Ref Baph Eop  

Posted by Stella Clark in , , , , ,

Horned Deities Ref Baph Eop Image
"The goat idol of the "and the deity of the sorcerers'
Sabbat. The name is composed of three abbreviations: Tem. ohp.
Ab., *Templi omnium hominum pacis abhas*, "the father of the
temple of universal peace among men."

Some authorities hold that Baphomet was a monstrous head, others
that it was a demon in the form of a goat. An account of a
veritable Baphometic idol is as follows:

[describing the Levi Baphomet, perhaps Levi's descript. -- tn]

A pantheistic and magical figure of the Absolute.
The torch placed between two horns, represents
the equilibrating intelligence of the triad. The
goat's head, which is synthetic, and unites some
characteristics of the dog, bull, and ass,
represents the exclusive responsibility of matter
and the expiation of bodily sins in the body.
The hands are human, to exhibit the sanctity of
labor; they make the sign of esotericism above and
below, to impress mystery on initiates, and they
point at two lunar crescents, the upper being white
and the lower black, to explain the correspondences
of good and evil, mercy and justice. The lower part
of the body is veiled, portraying the mysteries of
universal generation, which is expressed solely by
the symbol of the caduceus. The belly of the goat
is scaled, and should be colored green, the semi-
circle above should be blue; the plumage, reaching
to the breast, should be of various hues. The goat
has female breasts, and thus its only characteristics
are those of maternity and toil, otherwise the signs
of redemption. On its forehead, between the horns
and beneath the torch, is the sign of the microcosm,
or the pentagram with one beam in the ascendant,
symbol of human intelligence, which, placed thus
below the torch, makes the flame of the latter an
image of divine revelation. This Pantheos should
be seated on a cube, and its footstool should be a
single ball, or a ball and a triangular stool."

In" of Sorcery and "(1851), Thomas Wright
stated:

Another charge in the accusation of the Templars
seems to have been to a great degree proved by the
deposition of witnesses; the idol or head which
they are said to have worshipped, but the real
character or meaning of which we are totally unable
to explain. Many Templars confessed to having seen
this idol, but as they described it differently,
we must suppose that it was not in all cases
represented under the same form. Some said it was
a frightful head, with long beard and sparkling
eyes; others said it was a man's skull; some
described it as having three faces; some sait it
was of wood, and others of metal; one witness
described it as a painting (*tabula picta*)
representing the image of a man (*imago hominis*)
and said that when it was shown to him, he was
ordered to 'adore Christ, his creator.' According
to another deposition, the idol had four feet, two
before and two behind; the one belonging to the
order at Paris, was said to be a silver head, with
two faces and beard. The novices of the order
told always to regard this idol as their saviour.
Deodatus Jaffet, a knight from the south of France,
who had been received at Pedenat, deposed that the
person who in his case performed the ceremonies of
reception, showed him a head or idol, which
appeared to have three faces, and said, 'You must
adore this as your saviour, and the saviour of the
order of the Temple
' and htat he was made to worship
the idol, saying, 'Blessed be he who shall save my
soul.
' Cettus Ragonis, a knight received at Rome
in a chamber of the palace of the Lateran, gave a
somewhat similar account. Many other witnesses
spoke of having seen these heads, which, however,
were, perhaps, not shown to everybody, for the
greatest number of those who spoke on this subject,
said that they had heard speak of the head, but that
they had never seen it themselves; and many of them
declared their disbelief in its existence. A friar
minor deposed in England that an English Templar
had assured him that in that country the order had
four principal idols, one at London, in the Sacristy
of the Temple, another at Bristelham, a third at
Brueria (Bruern in Lincolnshire), and a fourth
beyond the Humber.

Some of the knights from the south added another
circumstance in their confessions relating to this
head. A templar of Florence, declared that, in
the secret meetings of the chapters, one brother
said to the others, showing them the idol, 'Adore
this head. This head is your God and your Mahomet.'
Another, Gauserand de Montpesant, said that the idol
was made in the figure of Baffomet (*in figuram
Baffometi*
); and another, Raymond Rubei, described
it as a wooden head, on which was painted the figure
of *Baphomet*, and he adds, 'that he worshipped it
kissing its feet, and exclaiming *Xalla*,
' which he
describes as 'a word of the Saracens' (*verbum
Saracenorum*
). This has been seized upon by some
as proof that the Templars had secretly embraced
Mahometanism, as *Baffomet* or *Baphomet* is
evidently a corruption of Mahomet; but it must not
be forgotten that the Christians of the West
constantly used the word Mahomet in the mere
signification of an idol, and that it was the desire
of those who conducted the persecution against the
Templars to show their intimate intercourse with
the Saracens. Others, especially Von Hammer, gave
a Greek derivation of the word, and assumed it as a
proof that gnosticism was the secret doctrine of the
temple....

Some occultists have suggested that the Baphomet of the Templars
was really the god of the witches deriving from the nature god
Pan. During the nineteenth century, the Austrian Orientalist
Baron Joseph von Hammer-Purghstall discovered an inscription on
a coffer in Burgundy which he claimed showed that Baphomet
derived from two Greek words meaning "Baptism of Metis" {Wisdom}";
the inscription exalted Metis or Baphomet as the true divinity.

When Karl Kellner and other early twentieth-century German
occultists founded the secret order".T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis
or Order of Templars in the East
), they installed the British
occultist Aleister "as head of the British section, and
gave he gave himself the magical name of Baphomet.

Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, 2nd Ed.,
edited and revised by Leslie Shepard, Gale Research
Company, 1984; pp. 131-2.
"Bataille" and "Margiotta" claimed that the order of the Palladium
or Sovereign Council of Wisdom was constituted in France in 1737,
and this, they inferred, was one and the same as the legendary
Palladium of the Templars, better known by the name of "In 1801 one Isaac Long, a Jew, was said to have carried the
"original image" of Baphomet to Charleston in the United States,
and it is alleged that the lodge he founded then became the chief
in the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite. He was succeeded in due
course by Albert Pike, who, it was alleged, extended the Scotch
Rite, and shared the Anti-Catholic Masonic chieftainship with the
Italian patriot Mazzini. This new directory was established, it
was asserted, as the new Reformed Palladium Rite or the Reformed
Palladium.

Ibid, p. 330.
"

Wrathful Deities  

Posted by Stella Clark in , , , , ,

Wrathful Deities Image
WHAT ARE THE WRATHFUL DEITIES OF THE CHONYID BARDO? Just like the peaceful deities in the Chonyid Bardo, the wrathful deities are the manifestations of the karmic fruits and experiences in our life. From the 12th until the 19th day, the consciousness of the dead person must now face the horrifying deities who appear surrounded by flames. According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, these figures are beyond one's imagination although they are often portrayed in Tibetan art as multi-limbed and multi-headed entities and the literature speak of them as manifesting in otherwordly dimensions.

The wrathful deities are the powerful counterparts of the peaceful deities. Like demonic monsters we commonly see in films, they capture the spirit of the dead and try to drink its blood (which symbolize one's desires and passions) from cups made out of human skull. Because these visions are so intensely frightening, the consciousness of the dead person tries to get away from them, eventually descending into the lower realms of the after death state until it is propelled to its proper place for rebirth. More on the gory details later.

Another characteristic of the wrathful deities of the bardo is that of having animal heads with human bodies which is something particularly comparable to the gods of ancient Egypt such as Horus (falcon), Thoth (ibis), Anubis (jackal), Bastet (cat), Hathor (cow), Khnum (ram), and Serket (scorpion). Like the animal-headed deities from the Egyptian pantheon, the wrathful deities also have symbolic meanings which can be deciphered by studying what the corresponding animals represent.

Are the Wrathful Deities real?

What is their purpose?

As mentioned in the previous article, all the peaceful and wrathful deities are only archetypal images of the mind that have no reality of their own. They are empty and cannot harm the body of an enlightened awareness. All the blood-drinking and animal-headed deities of the bardo are mere projections of the intellect and they emerge from the four directions of the third eye chakra.

However, since it was mentioned that the consciousness of the dead person is already capable of having sensory awareness after it has gone through the first bardo, it experiences the vision of the wrathful deities in full realistic horror, even more unbearable and dreadful than The Exorcist, The Ring, or A Nightmare on Elm Street in 4D. Wait... 4D?

Now, the effect of the images becomes even stronger if the awareness-body tries to evade or reject them. This is not good news for the dead person because evading or rejecting these visions would cause its consciousness to descend into unconsciousness. This basically means that instead of having power over these entities by accepting them as aspects of your own consciousness, they gain power over you. Figuratively speaking, all the demons hide inside the subconscious and wield their influence in your life now because before you were born, your consciousness wasn't strong enough to overcome them in the after death state (assuming you accept rebirth as part of your belief system). It is, therefore, reasonably important for spiritual practitioners in Tibetan Buddhism and other traditions to pay attention to this fact during their lifetime and distinguish these hidden aspects of consciousness to avoid being overwhelmed once they leave this world.

According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, all the wrathful deities appear in order to purify awareness of false thinking, ignorance, and delusion. Any kind of reaction that is the result of fear is a movement towards rebirth. If you are able to recognize the deities by name and see through them as mere illusions, they instantly lose their power over your consciousness and you achieve liberation.

The Vision of the Wrathful Deities


(12th to 19th DAY)

All the deities you will see here are the polar opposites of the peaceful deities. The wrathful deities appear on a lotus-sun throne of the forehead mandala (third eye chakra) and stand in a blazing aureole of flames. Since they are quite numerous, I can only provide a short description for each group of deities. If you are interested to know more about them, you can search their names on Google/Wikipedia or, even better, read the English translations of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Also, it's quite hard to find pictures that exactly fit the descriptions I have, so forgive me if this creates a little bit of confusion.

1. THE POWERFUL MAHASRI-HERUKA

"

Mahasri-Heruka"


The visions start with Mahasri-Heruka, the lord of the "blood-drinking deities." He is the tremendously wrathful expression of Adibuddha (the source of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas in the bardo). Mahasri-Heruka is usually depicted as red-brown in color with three heads, nine eyes, six arms, and four legs surrounded by a ring of flames. His right face is the color of smoke, the middle is white, and the left is red. In his three right hands he carries a short metal weapon called vajra, a trident, and a drum with a handle. In his left hands he carries a bell, a skull cup, and a sling made from innards. The powerful Heruka is usually depicted in tantric union or "yab yum" with his dakini, whose color is pure white. Like the Adibuddha, the powerful Mahasri-Heruka occupies a special position among the bardo deities and all of the symbols associated with him have specific meanings.

2. THE FIVE BLOOD-DRINKING DEITIES

"

The Five Blood-Drinking Deities"


The next vision involves the Five Blood-Drinking deities (a.k.a. Buddha-Herukas) in tantric union with their five dakinis. Their purpose is to annihilate the five principal failings of human behavior (ignorance, hatred, pride, passion, and envy) while the five dakinis enlighten the five elemental realms (earth, water, fire, air, ether). All of them have three heads, six arms, and four legs and are adorned with crowns of skulls and skull-necklaces. They are usually depicted in paintings with wings of the garuda bird, a mythical bird that symbolizes the power to overcome evil.

1. BUDDHA-HERUKA - appears in the center with his smoky-white dakini Krodhesvari. This wrathful Heruka is an emanation of Buddha Vairocana, manifesting himself in a terrifying flaming form. In his right hands he carries a long-handled axe, a flaming sword, and the wheel of the teachings; in his left, a kapala, a ploughshare, and a bell.

2. VAJRA- HERUKA (dark blue ) - appears in the east with his dakini Vajra-Krodhesvari

3. RATNA-HERUKA (yellow) -appears in the south with his dakini Ratna-Krodhesvari

4. PADMA-HERUKA (red) - appears in the west his dakini Padma-Krodhesvari

5. KARMA-HERUKA (green) - appears in the north with his dakini Karma-KrodhesVari

Note: The descriptions do not match the picture.

3. THE EIGHT KEURIMA ">

The next vision involves the eight Keurima and the eight animal-headed Phramenma. All of these deities originate from the various regions of the head. They wear leopard-skins and hover in empty space, surrounded by blazing flames. They should not be feared, but instead be considered as mere projections of the mind. Psychologically, they have the same purpose as the Eight Mahabodhisattvas and their Dakinis.

The Keurima are the counterparts of the Eight Mahabodhisattvas from the mandala of the peaceful deities. Their sole purpose is to purify and enlighten the eight kinds of awareness (the psychic organs of perception). The Keurima are divided into two groups. The first group of dakinis is of the cardinal directions of the mandala and of pure colors. The other four are of the intermediate directions with mixed colors.

The Phramenma are the eight animal-headed deities who rule over the eight realms of consciousness (the corresponding physical organs of perception). They are the wrathful counterparts of the eight dakinis of the Eight Mahabodhisattvas. Four of the Phramenma have animal heads and they correspond to the four cardinal directions of the eight-petalled lotus. The other four have bird heads and correspond to the intermediate directions.

4. THE FOUR ANIMAL-HEADED FEMALE GUARDIANS OF THE MANDALA

The next vision involves the Four Animal-Headed Female Guardians. Their purpose is to indicate to the dead person its four boundaries. These boundaries represent the "Four Sublime States" (compassion, loving-kindness, sympathetic joy, and equanimity).

5. THE 28 ANIMAL-HEADED DEITIES

Finally, the awareness-body comes face to face with the rest of the crew, the 28 powerful Animal-headed Deities who are enjoying their sumptuous banquet of corpses, internal organs, and blood. Their purpose is to help consciousness to overcome any remaining false ideas and karmic hindrances so that it may be freed from all passions and attachments.

THE END OF THE CHONYID BARDO VISIONS


During the entire period of the Chonyid Bardo experience, the lama or guru keeps on reminding the consciousness of the dead person through the death ritual how important it is to recognize these images as one's own thought-forms even if he spent years of his life studying scriptures or practicing tantric techniques. Failure to do so at this point means failure to achieve liberation or moksha/buddhahood. Also, if one flees from the thought-forms out of fear all-throughout the visual experience of the wrathful deities, all of them will finally transform to the most powerful and terrifying aspect of the Lord of Death, Dharma-Raja, who represents ignorance, hate, and greed. The peaceful deities, on the other hand, turn into a powerful protective deity called Mahakala representing wisdom and enlightenment, although still wrathful in form.

"They will come having their upper teeth biting the nether lip; their eyes glassy; their hairs tied up on the top of the head; big-bellied, narrow-wasted; holding a karmic record-board in the hand; giving utterance from their mouth to sounds of 'Strike! Slay!', licking human brain, drinking blood, tearing heads from corpses, tearing out the hearts..."

Source: http://www.summum.us/mummification/tbotd/book1.shtml

Now you can just imagine how this can turn out to be such a bad day for the dead person without someone reminding him that it is not real. This is also why sacrifices and prayers are given as part of the death ritual just so the dead can make it through the dangers of the afterlife. From a psychological standpoint, these visions are seen as the processes of instinctual life, the repressed emotions, and the core patterns of memory and perception that are hidden from our consciousness. Carl Jung refers to this process, taking place in real life, as an encounter with the shadow. When this happens, the elements that occupy the unconscious mind try to penetrate consciousness and force the individual to face his own demons which are projected into the outside world. For Buddhists, the only way to overcome this in life, or even in death, is through the expansion of one's consciousness. In the next article, I will discuss the Sidpa Bardo wherein the journey through the six realms of existence and the search for the next place of rebirth take place. Say your prayers before going to bed, ayt?

Read all the articles in the Buddha Mind series.


Sunny Yellow Deities  

Posted by Stella Clark in , , , , ,

Sunny Yellow Deities Image
FEELING DEPRESSED Altar cloths Sunny Yellow Deities Your Matron God/dess, Isis, or Kali Candles White Flowers Cheerful, daisy-type flowers Stones Amber Scents Eyebright, St John's Wort, Savory, Thyme, Borage Other Drink St John's Wort tea

FEELING ANXIOUS Altar cloths Purple Deities Demeter, Tara, Artemis, or Ganesh Candles Light blue Flowers Violets or anemones Stones Amethyst Scents Lavender, Eyebright, Sage Other Potted flowers, Drink chamomile mint tea

FEELING BLUE Altar cloths Pale pink Deities Brighid, or Mary Candles Yellow Flowers Violets Stones Rose quartz Scents Violet, Pine, Borage Other Sea shells

FEELING FEARFUL Altar cloths Light Blue Deities Artemis or Kali, Dancing Shiva or Pan Candles Yellow Flowers Chrysanthemum Stones Black hematite- no crystals! Scents Snapdragon, Eyebright, Basil Other Big pine cones

FEELING DESPAIRING Altar cloths Bright red Deities Kwan Yin, Mary, or Yemaya Candles White Flowers Tiger lilies Stones Pearl Scents Lavender, Rosemary, Mint, Borage Other River stones

FEELING STUCK Altar cloths Bright green Deities Dancing Shiva, Kali, Danu, or Brighid Candles Red Flowers Cuttings of green branches or flowering fruit trees Stones Quartz crystal Scents Motherwort, Mint, Mandrake, Basil, Anise Other Red ribbons on your athame

FEELING STRESSED Altar cloths Purple Deities Matron God/dess, Voluptus, or Lalita Candles Ivory pillar candles Flowers Pastel colours and green leaves Stones Hematite or amber Scents Vervaine, Thyme, Lavender Other Eat cucumbers

FEELING IRRITABLE Altar cloths Pale pink Deities Kuan Yin, Green Tara Candles Sky blue Flowers Narcissus or Daffodils Stones Moonstone Scents Tarragon, Passion Flower Other Drink Chamomile Tea

FEELING POOR Altar cloths Gold Deities Lakshmi, Gaia, or Moon Mother Candles Silver Flowers Lush garden roses or large bouquets, Hollyhocks Stones Rose quartz and pearl Scents Rowan, Alfalfa Other Fruits, nuts, bread pentacles

FEELING SPIRITUAL APATHY Altar cloths Black with stars (silver or gold) Deities Matron God/dess, or Tara Candles Silver, Gold, or Sky blue Flowers Yellow and pink roses Stones Turquoise Scents Sandalwood, Myrrh Other Decorate your chalice with flowers, colours, shiny things

FEELING A CREATIVE SLUMP Altar cloths Orange Deities Brighid, Saraswati Candles Turquoise (if you can stand it) or red Flowers Lotus, Water lilies, Orchids, Jasmine Stones Lapis Lazuli or Herkimer diamond Scents Vervaine, Mandrake, Jasmine Other Decorate with Stars

FEELING UNGROUNDED Altar cloths Brown Deities Gaia, Artemis/Diana, Green Man Candles Brown or Black Flowers Geraniums Stones Hematite Scents Wisteria Other Potted plants

NEEDING HEALING Altar cloths Spring Green Deities Green Tara, Hari, Medicine Buddha Candles Yellow Flowers Jasmine Stones Amethyst Scents Rosemary, Pine, Juniper, Jasmine, Hyssop, Ginger

WANTING LOVE Altar cloths Dusty rose Deities Aphrodite, Venus Candles Red Flowers Irises, Plush roses (red, peach, or pink) Stones Moonstone Scents Lovage, Rose, Vervaine, Rose Geranium, Periwinkle

Hindu Gods Adopted By The Elephant God  

Posted by Stella Clark in , , , , ,

Hindu Gods Adopted By The Elephant God Image
If you are willing, and if you are wanting, the Lord Ganesha lifts you out of the fog of the materialistic conscious mind, establishing a connection and a relationship with you. This is a personal relationship with the Deity. There is nobody in between - just you and the God, Lord Ganesha.

It's like being adopted in a way. If you were an orphan or abandoned on the streets of Sao Paolo or Madras, or on the streets of where ever there are little kids running around, you would be "free". You could go through life listening to no one and exercising unrestricted free will, free instinctive will.

If you had a developed intellect, then you could exercise an intellectual will. You could do anything that you wanted to do, absolutely anything. Of course you would find that as you attempted to fulfill your desires, you were limited, sometimes prevented, by the natural forces within and without. But you could attempt anything.

If you were fortunate enough, foster parents might come along to help you. They would adopt you and take you into their home. Your new mother would begin to lovingly guide and direct your life. She would tell you, "You can play as you like in this room, but not in the others." She is a wise mother and knows that you are accustomed to having your own way, so she lets you play freely within the confines of your own room.

But if she catches you playing in another room, she might say firmly, "You may play in your room, not here in this room." You have lost your "free will" in being adopted by a mother and father, you are a part of their family now, and your well-being, your education, your training all now come under their will, to which you must adjust yourself and obey. They will watch over you and discipline you morning and night. They will protect you from getting into trouble with your "free will".

It is the same when you evolve a relationship, a personal relationship with the Deity Lord Ganesha. He will not allow you to use your free will to get into difficulties. Guiding your carefully and protecting you along your way in your natural "karma" through life is His concern.

Little by little, slowly, imperceptibly a relationship evolves, a very personal, loving relationship, between the devotee and the elephant-faced God. Psychic protection is granted, physical protection, mental and emotional protection are all granted as boons by Him.

He will not allow His devotees to use their free, instinctive willfulness to make more "kukarma" by getting into difficulties. Rather, he will guide them carefully, protecting them every moment along the way so that their natural birth karmas may be worked through and "sukarma" created by right living. This is His main concern. Lord Ganesha loves and cares for His devotees. Once the devotee is connected to Him through the awakening of the "muladhara chakra", loneliness is never experienced.

Ganesha is a truly wonderful, loving God. He has an extraordinary knack for unweaving complicated situations and making them simple. He can unweave his devotees from their karma, simplifying and purifying their lives. But this only happens after they have established a personal relationship with Him. Soon thereafter, changes begin to happen in their lives; and when they go through difficult times, they no longer become angry or live in fear or worry.

When difficult times come, they know it is because they are being unwound from accumulated and congested, difficult karmas or being turned in a new direction altogether. They know that at such a time they have to consciously surrender their free, instinctive willfulness and not fight the divine happenings, but allow the God's divine will to guide their life. Such is the spiritual path of total surrender, know as "prapatti."

"from "Loving Ganesa"

by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami


Hindu Gods Yamthe Five Abstentions  

Posted by Stella Clark in , , , , ,

Hindu Gods Yamthe Five Abstentions Image
"YAMA is the first limb of Raja yoga (a.k.a. Ashtanga or classical yoga). It is a Sanskrit word that means "death." It is a set of social disciplines to be maintained by a yoga practitioner which includes non-violence", "absence of falsehood", "non-stealing", "sexual continence", and "absence of avarice". Other branches of yoga actually have more than just five abstentions, but I don't want to be greedy, really, so let me show the "absence of avarice" right now by being satisfied with what I have.

You may be asking why the Hindus would use such a word as "death" to name the first set of practices in yoga. Well, according to Indian mythology, Yama is the god of death (the lord of the celestial abodes that one visits after one's life has ended). Other cultures have their own version of Yama, like Anubis (Egyptian mythology), Hades (Greek mythology), and Pluto (Roman mythology). However, in the consideration of yoga, what is being represented is not the death of the physical body, but instead, the death of one's identification with individual existence, which is referred to in psychology as the 'ego'.

WHY DO WE NEED TO PRACTICE YAMA?

All spiritual and religious traditions have guiding principles for engaging with others in society. These principles encourage ethical ways of living, but I do believe it goes far beyond that. If you contemplate on the concept about bringing death to the ego, you may also arrive with the following ideas:

* You live in a world inhabited by other beings who, just like you, need to evolve spiritually in their own unique way. Earth is our training ground and we need to give each other the chance to learn by making sure that this place we call reality is conducive for this goal. Wouldn't it be fun to live in a world without violence, dishonesty, theft, sexual misconduct, and greed - all crazy impulses that the helpless ego cannot control?
* The Ego is the organizing center of the mind. Most of the time, however, it doesn't do a good job in controlling your thoughts, especially when it is disturbed because of one's ignorance of moral values. This is why there is a need for you to establish a connection with your true self by doing yoga so that you can abandon your conceptions of being in control.
* The Ego creates a sense of attachment between consciousness and the physical body. In the advanced practices of yoga, practitioners are required to work with the subtle and causal bodies, so there's really a need to let go of one's ego. This stage is said to be wherein one may experience going out of one's body and even out of the the realm of mind. It's totally different from being insane, of course.

THE YAMAS (5 ABSTENTIONS)

1. AHIMSA (NON-VIOLENCE)

The first Yama called himsa means "violence." Ahimsa is the practice of non-violence (physical, mental, and emotional) towards other living beings and yourself. To the Hindus, violence or himsa can be of three types: krta (harming others directly), karita (harming others indirectly) and anumodita (supporting an act of violence).

2. SATYA (ABSENCE OF FALSEHOOD)

The second Yama called satya means "truthfulness or the absence of falsehood." Satya is the practice of speaking the truth at all times. People who faithfully practice the four other abstentions have no problem in telling the truth in everything they say. The ones who, for example, beat people up, fornicate, steal from others, and so on will undoubtedly have a hard time dealing with their conscience.

3. ASTEYA (NON-STEALING)

The third Yama called steya means "theft." Asteya is the practice of not stealing. Obviously, there is an increasing pressure on your mind when you take something which is not yours and keep it to yourself. Violate this code and you also violate three others: ahimsa, satya, and aparigraha.

4. BRAHMACHARYA (SEXUAL CONTINENCE)

The fourth Yama called brahmacharya is derived from the words brahman meaning "unity consciousness" and achara meaning "pathway." Bramacharya may have two meanings. In one sense, it means avoiding over-indulgence of the senses. Another meaning refers to abstinence particularly in terms of sexual activity.

5. APARIGRAHA (ABSENCE OF AVARICE)

The fifth Yama called aparigraha means "not being acquisitive." It is the avoidance of unnecessary attainment of things that are not essential to maintaining life. The logic behind this is pretty simple, really. Acquiring fame and fortune, for example, guarantees attachment to them. As your fame and fortune increases, so does your fear of losing them. On a different note, it is said that if you faithfully observe aparigraha, you may attain knowledge of past, present and future and also knowledge of your previous births.

Mesopotamian Deities  

Posted by Stella Clark

Mesopotamian Deities Image

OTHER NAMES

Aschtar

ASSOCIATIONS


"Deity": Inanna, Astarte, Aphrodite

"Animal": Lion

"Symbol": Eight pointed star or rosette

"Element": Air

"Planet": Venus

FAMILY & OTHER CONNECTIONS

Ishtar was a Babylonian and Assyrian goddess, sharing many traits and associations with the earlier Sumerian Inanna.

Daughter of Sin or Anu. Lover of Tammuz.

INFORMATION & STORIES

When Ishtar became synonymous with Inanna many of the older goddess' stories became known as stories about Ishtar, for example the famous tale of Inanna's descent into the underworld. Another well known story is the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which Ishtar appears - although not in a favourable light.

Ishtar approaches the hero Gilgamesh, a person who is two parts god, one part man, and asks him to marry her. When Gilgamesh refuses on the basis that she has treated all her previous lovers badly, Ishtar becomes enraged and goes to complain to her father, Anu. She demands that Anu give her the Bull of Heaven so she can get revenge on Gilgamesh, and warns that if Anu refuses her she will break open the doors of the underworld and cause chaos by bringing the dead up to walk and eat amongst the living.

Anu gives her the bull and she sends it after Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu, but they manage to defeat it. Ishtar stands on the walls of her city and curses them before calling her people together to mourn for the Bull of Heaven.

MAGIC


Ishtar is associated with fertility, sex, love and war.

MISC.

She was particularly worshipped at the Assyrian cities of Nineveh and Arbela.

PICTURES

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Catholic Spirituality  

Posted by Stella Clark

Catholic Spirituality Image
Copyright 1993 Durwydd Mac Tara

(With special thanks to G. B. Gardner, Freydis Vasa, Julia Phillips, and Pyrocanthus Basileus)

In ancient times, our Lord, the Horned One, was (as he still is) the Controller, the Comforter. But men know him as the dread Lord of Shadows, lonely, stern, and just.

But our Lady the Goddess oft grieved deeply for the fate of her creations as they aged and died. She would solve all mysteries, even the mystery of death, and so journeyed to the underworld.

The Guardian of the Portals challenged her: 'Strip off thy garments, lay aside thy jewels; for naught may you bring with you into this our land, for it is written that your True Self is the only fitting adornment for those in the realms of Death.'

So she laid down her garments and her jewels, and was bound, as all living must be who seek to enter the realms of Death, the Mighty One.

Such was her beauty that Death himself knelt, and laid his sword and crown at her feet, and kissed her feet, saying: 'Blessed be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways. Abide with me; but let me place my cold hand on thy heart.'

And she replied: 'Why do you cause all things that I love, and take delight in, to fade and die?'

'Lady,' replied Death, 'it is age and fate, against which I am helpless. Age causes all things to wither; but when men die at the end of time, I give them rest and peace and strength, so that they may return. But you, you are lovely.

Return not, abide with me.'

And she replied, 'Nay, I love thee not and I am needed in the world of the living.'

Again Death knelt, and kissed her knees, saying: 'Blessed be thy knees that kneel before the Altar. Abide with me; let me place my cold hand on thy heart.'

And she replied, 'Nay, I love thee not and I am needed in the world of the living.'

Death (still kneeling), kissed her on the womb, saying: 'Blessed be thy organs of generation, without which none of us would be. Abide with me; let me place my cold hand on thy heart.'

And she replied, 'Nay though I feel the beginnings of love for thee, I must return to those I fully love in the world of creation.'

Death then stood, and kissed her on the breast, saying: Blessed be thy breast, formed in strength and beauty. Abide with me; let me place my cold hand on thy heart.'

And she replied, 'Nay though I feel love for thee, I must not abandon those I am responsible for, in the world of creation. I cannot do this thing, better you would return with me.'

'Lady,' replied Death, It cannot be so. If I were to leave my realm, and abandon those who seek their comfort and rest with me, then the Wheel would no longer turn. Age and weakness would overtake those whom you love, and they would have nowhere to find rest, and peace, and reunion with those who have gone before. As age and debility overtook your creations, there would quickly be no room for the new, only the withered, the tired, and the stagnant.' He then kissed her lips, saying: 'Blessed be thy lips, which shall utter the Holy Names.

Abide with me; let me place my cold hand on thy heart.'

And she replied, Let us BOTH lay our hands, each unto the heart of the other, thereby claiming and uniting each unto the other. In this way may I rule my kingdom of birth, creation, and life; yet share with you your kingdom of death, rejuvenation, and rest. United in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust, that the Universe may be whole and the Wheel turn smoothly.

Death replied, 'This is indeed WISDOM, So Mote it Be!' They embraced, thus pledging their eternal love.

And he taught her all his mysteries, and gave her the necklace which is the circle of rebirth. And she taught him her mystery of the sacred cup which is the cauldron of rebirth.

They loved, and were one; for there be three great mysteries in the life of mankind, and magic controls them all. To fulfill love, you must return again at the same time and at the same place as the loved ones; and you must meet, and know, and remember, and love them again.

But to be reborn, you must die, and be made ready for a new body. And to die, you must be born; and without love, you may not be born.

And our Goddess is ever inclined to love, and mirth, and happiness; and guards and cherishes her hidden children in life, and in death she teaches the way to her commun-ion; and even in this world she teaches them the mystery of the Magic Circle, which is placed between the worlds of men and of the Gods.

And thus we are taught of the beginnings of the wheel of the year wherein the Lord and the Lady share their rulership of the year, each offering and sharing a balance to the other, and the basis of that sharing.

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She Was The Goddess Of Wisdom  

Posted by Stella Clark

She Was The Goddess Of Wisdom Image
A Message for Imbolc

by Rel Davis, Minister, Unitarian Fellowship of South Florida

In Mexico, there are two "patron saints." The first, and foremost, with a holiday on December 12, is Guadalupe, called variously St. Guadalupe and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Church now says this is the Virgin Mary who made an appearance before a young man named Juan Diego in December 1531. She looked like an Indian maiden and she appeared on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City.

Although she is assumed to be the Virgin Mary, she is nonetheless called the

"patron saint" of Mexico. She is most likely nothing but the ancient Aztec goddess Coatlique, whose holy day also happened to have been December 12.

The other saint you hear about a lot in Mexico is the mysterious "San Juan de los Lagos," Saint John of the Lakes. There never has been such a person, of course. It was obviously an ancient lake god, presumably the patron saint of Mexico City, which was built on top of Lake Texcoco. He could have been Tpoztecatl, ancient god of agriculture, or even Huitzilopchtli, sun god of the Aztecs.

All over the world, in Roman Catholic countries, you will find "patron saints"

who never existed. They are the early pagan gods and goddesses converted to Christianity for public relations purposes.

The earliest recorded "conversion" of a pagan goddess was Saint Sophia in Asia Minor. Very early, Christians had a hard time converting the populace of Greece and the Hellenic cultures of the region because the people were quite happy with their goddess, Minerva, also known as Pallas Athena, the patron deity of the city of Athens.

The word "pallas" is the ancient Greek term for a maiden. Athena is thought (by Robert Graves and others) to be a version of Anatha, the Sumerian Queen of Heaven. With the title of Pallas, she would have been the ancient Goddess in her maiden aspect.

Minerva was universally called Sophia -- wisdom. So a "Saint Sophia" was invented, and churches all over Asia Minor were built in her honor. She was even said to have had three daughters -- St. Faith, St. Hope and St. Charity!

The entire region converted to Christianity as soon as the church declared the region's favorite goddess to be a Christian saint.

So it really wasn't the inherent stupidity of the Irish, as some scholars allege, that allowed them to be converted in a similar way.

They reacted like people all over the world did. Make my god a Christian saint and I'll become a Christian.

Interestingly, the Irish goddess converted to Christianity was the same as Pallas Athena, it was the maiden aspect of the Goddess. Where in continental Europe, the Mother aspect was chosen -- witness all the cathedrals built to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God -- in Ireland, as in Asia Minor, it was the maiden goddess honored.

The Irish goddess was called Brigid (pronounced "breed") or Brigit. She was a triple goddess (some said all three were named Brigid!) and she was the goddess of wisdom (like her Asia Minor counterpart). Her sisters were the goddesses of healing and smithcraft respectively.

At Kildare there was a temple to Brigid, with a perpetual fire kept by 19 priestesses. The number 19 was used because there are 19 years in the Celtic

"great year," when the solar and lunar calendars coincide. Brigid was always called "The Three Blessed Ladies of Britain" or "The Three Mothers" and she was identified with the moon and the three phases of the moon. (As such, she is also identical to the ancient earth goddess, Hecate.) It was common for the ancients to accept their goddess as being three people. This is where the Christians got their concept of the trinity.

Actually, Brigid can be traced back to Illyricum, the ancient land now occupied by Croatia (and extending over Serbia, Bulgaria, and Austria). Her shrine was in the city of Brigeto and she was called Brigantes, accepted by the Romans as identical to Juno Regina, Queen of Heaven. Her followers were often called Brigands, or outlaws, and Robin Hood was most likely the title of a leader of

"brigands" fighting against the Christian conquerors.

The Gaelic Celts brought Brigid with them when they left their original home in Galatia -- in Asia Minor, no less, and moved across Europe to settle in what is now Ireland.

In Ireland, the Church could not talk the people into giving up the worship of Brigid, so they "converted" her to St. Bridget, claiming she was a nun who founded a convent in Kildare (where the goddess' temple already was located.)

The stories about "St. Bridget" were the same stories told about the goddess: that everywhere she walked, flowers and shamrocks sprang up (the three-leafed shamrock, of course, was the symbol of the triple Brigid), that in her shrine it was always springtime and that in her convent the cows never went dry -- all fertility stories.

The Irish priests said, however, that Brigid wasn't really a saint at all: she was the Queen of Heaven, the mother of Jesus herself. The Church ruled that since Bridget couldn't be the mother of Jesus (Mary already had that job all sewed up), she could be the step-mother of Jesus -- which meant, of course, that Jesus had to have been raised in Ireland, a story frequently told in the old days.

The goddess Brigid had a consort named Dagda, meaning "father." The Latin word for father was Patricius, so the Church made him a saint as well, "St. Patrick."

The myths say Patrick was the person who Christianized Ireland in the year 461, but we know Ireland actually was converted in the seventh century by Augustine of Canterbury, who was responsible for getting Patrick canonized.

Patrick, the sun-god, has his day on March 17, the beginning of spring in Ireland.

Interestingly, the churches in Ireland dedicated to "St. Bridget" were also dedicated to the O'Kelly clans. All the baptismal fees in those churches belonged to the O'Kellies. If you know any Irishman named Kelly you can tell him or her something about the history of their name. The word means they are descended from the kelles, or sacred harlots (to use the Church name) of the goddess Brigid.

The goddess' priestesses were not allowed to marry, so they were free to choose any man they wished. Children born to such unions were called O'Kelly, because they were born of a kelle.

Every woman today who gets married is given the goddess name, of course, for the word "bride" is simply an alternate spelling of Brigid.

The feast day of Brigid is February 1, which was also considered the first day of spring to pagans. It is the day of quickening, when vegetation comes alive (quickens) in the bowels of the earth. For this reason, it is often called Imbolc, a Celtic word meaning "in the belly." It's also called Oimelc ("ewe's milk") for this was also the lambing season in ancient Ireland.

In ancient Rome, the first two weeks of February were called the Lupercalia, in honor of Lupercus (or Faunus), god of agriculture, and Venus, goddess of fertility. It was also a festival of quickening, and also honored the goddess as maiden. It involved parades and the lighting of fires.

Lupercalia ended, of course, on February 14, a day we now call St. Valentine's Day, after yet another spurious "saint." The name was most likely originally

"Gallantine's Day," the day of the lover. On this day, a couple could agree to a trial marriage, living together until the next Lammas, August 1. "Will you be my Valentine?" was the way a woman would propose such an engagement to a man.

(The Valentine "heart," of course, was not the physical heart we are acquainted with, but another part of the anatomy entirely.)

Fires have always been important on Imbolc. The fires symbolized the new-born sun, born at Yule and the sparks of new life in springtime. One ancient custom was the lighting of candles in every window of the house, to let the world know of coming spring. The sight of every home blazing with candles must have been comforting to people still feeling the bitter cold of February up north!

The Church made this time the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin ("virgin"

was just another word for "maid," of course
) and they called in Candlemas, the feast of candles. Since people were already lighting candles at home anyway, the Church declared this a time to go to church and get your candles blessed.

During the Burning Times, the great Inquisition of Europe, it was said that witches considered Candlemas their most sacred festival. This was probably the Church's way of warning people not to take Brigid too seriously.

One of the most important customs at Candlemas in ancient times was the forecasting of weather. In the old English poem: "If Candlemas Day be bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year." It was once thought that the quarters (the equinoxes and solstices) foretold the weather directly (i.e. a warm Christmas meant a warm winter) while the cross-quarters (Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain) foretold the weather negatively.

We keep this custom by calling February 2 "Groundhog's Day" and predicting the rest of the winter by whether or not the groundhog sees its shadow or not. If it sees its shadow then Candlemas Day will be "bright and clear."

There were a number of customs associated with this day. One was the baking of

"Bridget's bread" on this day. This goes back thousands of years to the baking of cakes for the Queen of Heaven spoken of in the Bible. The last of the precious grain stored over the winter would be prepared into cakes on this day, in the prospect of much more grain in the year ahead.

Another custom called for the making of "Bridget's crosses" out of straw. The cross was the ancient symbol for the sun (the rays of the sun seem to come out in cruciform shape) and the straw crosses were in honor of the reborn sun. The crosses would be placed around the home for protection during the following year.

One young woman each year would also be chosen to represent the goddess, the

"Bride." She would wear a crown of candles on her head that day, again in honor of the sun.

The meaning of this holiday for us is simply this: this is the time of quickening, the time of new life. It's a time to be thankful for all the new life that arises in spring, a time to plan ahead for the new year and a time to begin the long processes of making a living, bringing in a new crop or getting on with our lives.

New projects are well begun on Brigid's Day. This is a time of hope, a time for looking positively at one's world.

This week, go out and buy a candle for the Maiden Goddess -- and for yourself.

This week, light it and place it in a window of your home. Focus all your hopes and dreams for the coming year onto that candle. And dedicate it to hope.

Blessed be!

Further reading (free e-books):Leo Ruickbie - Imbolc Festival Of The Goddess Brigid

Francesca De Grandis - Goddess Initiation


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Goddess Saule  

Posted by Stella Clark

Goddess Saule Image
SAULE (pronounced SEW-lay) is the Baltic sun Goddess, ruling all parts of life and light. She is married to Meness, the moon God, and together they created the earth and the stars. When Saule found out that Meness had raped one of their daughters, she slashed his face with a sword, leaving the marks we see on the moon today. She then banished him from her presence, and they are no longer seen together in the sky. Saule continues to drive her sun chariot across the sky every day, drawn by two white horses, and travels in a golden boat by night, trailing a red scarf and collecting the souls of those who have died during the day.

Saule is also a Goddess of spinning who used an amber spindle to create life's thread. Other names for her include BALTA SAULITE (darling little white sun), SAULES MAT (mother sun), SAULITE MAT (little sun mother), and SAULITE SUDRABOTA (little silver sun).

Saule, my amber weeping Goddess

Creating light like thread.

As "Saules Mat" my mother sun,

Daily blessing your thankful world with light.

-Traditional folksong



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Goddess Tenga  

Posted by Stella Clark

Goddess Tenga Image
TENGA is the Mossi Goddess of the earth. The Mossi people of West Africa believe that Tenga is not only responsible for the fertility of the land, but also for social order. She receives this authority from the dead who are buried in her womb. Tenga is most often worshipped near old trees or springs, which both have roots deep within the earth. When a transgression has been committed, especially one which has caused blood to be shed on the earth, she must be appeased by sacrifice or she will withhold fertility from the land. Tenga's name, which means "earth," is also seen as NAPAGHA TENGA.

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Goddess Hiiaka I Kapua Enaena  

Posted by Stella Clark

Goddess Hiiaka I Kapua Enaena Image
HI'IAKA-I-KAPUA-'ENA'ENA is the Hawaiian Goddess of lei making. She is Pele's older sister and the mother of Laka, Goddess of the hula. Besides making leis and 'awa (an herbal drink) for Pele, Hi'iaka-i-kapu-'ena'ena was also responsible for the rosy glow seen on mountains and clouds in the early morning. Her name means "Hi'iaka of the burning clouds," and some of her alternate names show her other associations, such as HI'IAKA-I-PUA-'ENA'ENA (Hi'iaka of the burning flower) and HI'IAKA-I-PU-'ENA'ENA (Hi'iaka of the burning hills). Another of her names, KUKU-'ENA-I-KE-AHI-HO'OMAU-HONUA (beating hot in the perpetual earth fire), is used when she acts as a guide to lost travelers. Other variations on her name include HI'IAKA-I-KAPU-'ENA'ENA (Hi'iaka of the forbidden burning), HI'IAKA-I-TAPU-'ENA'ENA (Hi'iaka of sacred burning), and HI'IAKA-I-KAPUA-'ANE'ANE (Hi'iaka in extreme old age).

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Takotsi Nakawe Goddess Of The Earth  

Posted by Stella Clark

Takotsi Nakawe Goddess Of The Earth Image
HER NAME IS "TAKO'TSI NAKAWE", AND SHE IS THE "MESOAMERICAN" GODDESS OF THE EARTH; HER NAME MEANS GRANDMOTHER GROWTH. SHE IS CONSIDERED THE "MOTHER OF THE GODS" AND IS CLOSELY IDENTIFIED WITH THE CROPS...MAIZE, BEANS, PUMPKINS...AND ALSO WITH THE BEAR. EVERYTHING LIVING BELONGS TO HER. SINCE "TAKOTSI NAKAWE" IS THE OLD "GODDESS" OF THE EARTH, SO ALL KINDS OF MATERIALS FROM THE EARTH, BELONG TO HER, FOR INSTANCE, PAINTERS' COLORS, WHICH ARE ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY OF DIFFERENTLY COLORED EARTHS

SHE IS WATER AS WELL AND IS A "RAIN SERPENT" IN THE EAST. AND, AS A "RAIN SERPENT "GODDESS SHE LIVES IN EACH OF THE QUARTERS:

"SHE OF THE EAST IS RED, AND THE FLOWERS OF SPRING ARE HER SKIRT; SHE OF THE WEST IS WHITE, LIKE A WHITE CLOUD; BLUE IS THE RAIN SERPENT GODDESS OF THE SOUTH, AND TO HER BELONG SEEDS AND SINGING SHAMANS; WHILE THE RAIN-SERPENT GODDESS OF THE NORTH, WHOSE NAME MEANS "RAIN AND FOG HANGING IN THE TREES AND GRASS" IS SPOTTED. "

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Goddess Juturna  

Posted by Stella Clark

Goddess Juturna Image
JUTURNA is the Roman Goddess of wells and springs. Originally an important Goddess married to Janus, God of beginnings and endings, and the mother of Fontus, God of fountains, later myths made her a mortal woman who was turned into a nymph by Jupiter in exchange for her virginity. Jupiter gave her control of a spring in the Roman Forum near to the Temple of Castor and Pollux. A well built over the spring, the Lacus Juturnae, is still in existence today, and it was from this well that the Vestal Virgins would draw water to use in their rituals. The water from her spring was said to have healing properties--Juturna's name is derived from the Latin word juvare, which means "to help." She was also worshipped at a temple in Rome's Campus Martius, which was likely built around 240 BCE. Juturna's name is also seen as IUTURNA.

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