Wednesday, April 30, 2008
She is the Female Aspect of the Divine... She is the primal force, who came before everything else. She is the originator of the Cosmos. She is the Cycle of Life, and the Turning of the Seasons, the Goddess of birth, beginnings, fertility, generation, reincarnation, prosperity, and abundance. She is birther, sustainer, and giver. She is Healer. She is Wisdom, and Magick. She is the Tao.
She is particularly represented (or manifested) in wind, in rain, rivers and flowing waters, and has been called "Holy Waters from the Sky" - nourisher of the Sacred Oak. She is also associated with the moon - perhaps with Aine, the moon Goddess who protects the crops and livestock, as an aspect of herself. She is mother and queen of the fairies.
When considered to be part of the Morrigan, she is also strife and death, a balance between good and evil, light and dark, the sometimes mysterious and frightening aspect of female energy.
Some believe that Anu and Danu were separate goddesses, and not similar names for the same one. Some that Aine is Anu (I also saw Aine described as the Goddess of love and fertility as well as agriculture)... there are many overlaps and contradictions in what I've read, so it is difficult to pick through them. It is possible that Saint Anne is identified with her, sainted by the Catholics to draw in reluctant Pagans.
As a "triple goddess" she seems to be seen as the maiden aspect, despite her strong "mother" associations, often with Badb as mother and Macha as crone.
Monday, April 28, 2008
This fall, I looked up some information on Paganism. I don't remember who or what, but someone said something that made me curious, and also made me think that maybe I didn't know as much about Paganism as I thought I did. Because being raised strict Torah-observant Christian, you learn a lot about Paganism. You learn all about the Pagan roots of Christmas and Easter, about pagan symbolism in modern Christianity, about the many many warnings in the Bible about pagans and witches, etc etc. So I did know a bit (a lot more than most Christians who insist that the decorated evergreen tree with presents under it is not pagan in origin... and even when they say "Yule log" they don't recognize the connection to ... um... Yule.) But there was a lot I didn't know, a lot I assumed, and a lot I just didn't understand. Because I had only learned about it through one filter, had only seen it from one paradigm.
I was blown away by what I learned. So many beautiful ideas and images... it's really stunning. Once you get over the "The Bible says this is Evil and you will be cursed" thought, past that way of reading the Bible... you see that there is Truth to be found in earth-based Paganism (can't speak for Heathens or other Pagans, since I don't know as much there... needless to say there is a world of diversity in Pagan belief). I am so inspired by the Feminine Divine.
I'm beginning to see that powerful men stole the messages of those who had been in communion with the Divine, who wanted to share their experience and encourage others to seek that connection... they took the messages and twisted them to suit their own purposes. At best they simply interpreted the messages through their very limited, patriarchal filter that couldn't understand, let alone relay, anything outside that view. They rewrote the Goddess as a noneity, as a pagan idol, as a symbol of rebellion against the true male God, as just one of the Devil's lies...and women as either whores and witches (the evil kind), or as good girls (submissive to men, never complaining, subservient, obedient, meek, asexual). Those are our choices: to either be Maleficent, the evil, selfish, powerful, destructive witch... or to be Aurora, who was sweet, good, giving, and so passive that she could sleep through the whole story without it mattering much. I am so glad that Paganism introduced me to a wonderful way to see woman at each stage of her life, and to the feminine aspect of the Divine.