By Julie Loar
Astrology of the Sacred Feminine
“She is so bright and glorious that you cannot look at her face or her garments for the splendor with which She shines.” Hildegard of Bingen
Someone once asked me, “What would your life be like if you had grown up imagining the Divine as feminine?” The question haunted me and became a quest that resulted in Goddesses for Every Day. Marking time by the motions of the Moon and planets against the background of the zodiac has been part of every culture–Egyptian, Mayan, Babylonian, Celtic, and more. This circle of stars, which has also been called The Girdle of the Goddess, is divided into twelve constellations, and seemed an appropriate way to frame the 366 goddesses included in the boo
Sacred feminine symbols, such as birds, trees, serpents, and spirals are found in cultures around the world, and I perceived an alignment with these icons and the familiar twelve zodiac signs. They came together in a magical and mysterious way. I called the result of this inspiration theGoddess Signs©.They are: Aries, the Cretan Axe or Labrys; Taurus, the Tree of Life; Gemini, the Honey Bee; Cancer, the Clam Shell; Leo, the Cobra; Virgo, the Sheaf of Wheat; Libra, the Dove; Scorpio, the Spider; Sagittarius, the Bow & Arrow; Capricorn, the Spinning Wheel; Aquarius, the Spiral; and Pisces, the Chalice or Grail.
In addition, the ancient trinity of the Triple Goddess–Maiden, Mother, and Crone– can be linked with seasonal cycles. Goddesses of dawn and new beginnings can be aligned with spring, goddesses of birth and mothering with summer, goddesses of the harvest with autumn, and goddesses who preside over death, portals, and the wisdom of age, can be matched to the dark time of year in the northern hemisphere. The many facets and myriad manifestations of the Goddess embody a seeming paradox that is complex and sometimes contradictory. Like life itself, her expressions can be alternately gentle or fierce, loving or cold, creative or destructive, so the circle of goddesses who live in the pages of the book are a diverse spectrum of expression.
Aries – The Cretan Axe The labrysof Crete was a ritual implement wielded by a priestess. The Cretan Axe was a symbol of royal power and not a weapon, although it may have been an implement of sacrifice. The word comes from the same root as labyrinth. Aries are pathfinders, and walking the sacred path of a labyrinth, wielding the Double Axe, seems a fitting metaphor for the pioneers of the zodiac. Aries goddesses include gentle goddesses of Spring who embody new beginnings, the light of dawn, cyclical renewal of the Earth, and the rebirth of life. Aries goddesses are also pioneers who blaze new trails, and courageous leaders and fierce warriors who have the will to do battle. The quality of vision enables them to move forward in the direction of the new path. These goddesses are often independent, possessing a keen sense of adventure.
Taurus – The Tree of Life Trees, especially those that bear the fruit of immortality, are connected with the Goddess in cultures around the world where she typically lives in a western garden with a serpent who guards the Tree. The energy that sinks sustaining roots deep into the Earth describes the grounding and stabilizing nature of Taurus. These goddesses embody the element of earth, and many are also symbolized by cows or other strong, protective mammals. Qualities of Taurus goddesses are abundance, sustenance, manifestation, security, growth, establishing roots, and fertility.
Gemini – The Bee Like curious Gemini, the bee flies from flower to flower, drinking nectar and preparing to make honey. The Bee is an ancient symbol of royal power and the sacred feminine. Myths of Queen Bees, and priestesses who tend her hives and shrines, exist in diverse cultures. Bees pollinate flowers that bear fruit and yield seeds in a perpetual cycle of renewal. The industrious Bee, who is not supposed to be able to fly, is an appropriate symbol for the pollinating nature of mental Gemini. The goddesses included in Gemini encompass magicians, clever tricksters, and shape shifters, as well as those who are gifted with words and language. Gemini goddesses are animated, verbal, mental, versatile, and magical.
Cancer – The Shell is a symbol of the ocean from which Cancer’s traditional symbol of the Crab emerges. Shells, which are containers of life, appear in numerous cultures as images of the Goddess. Sometimes it is the Cowrie shell, which is widely revered, and is suggestive of a woman’s anatomy. The goddess Venus also mythically emerged from the ocean on a clam shell. Cancer is ruled by the Moon, so Goddesses that appear in the sign of Cancer include lunar goddesses. Cancer goddesses are nurturing, often creators, and are linked to the ocean, which is the source of all life. They are protective mothers who guard the home, keep the hearth fires burning, and honor their ancestors.
Leo – The Cobra is arguably the Queen of Serpents. Around the world serpents and dragons are connected with the wisdom of the sacred feminine. Many cultures also imagine the apparent motion of the Sun, the ruling planet of Leo, crossing the sky as a serpent. Dragons are creatures of fire, and in myth cobras are seen as “spitting fire” at their enemies. A cobra goddess named Wadjet, symbol of divine kingship, appeared on the brow of all Egyptian pharaohs. Leo goddesses include radiant solar goddesses and great cats from different cultures, and also those who represent the creative principle of fire in the form of dragons or serpents. Leo goddesses represent nobility, the principle of light, and the fire of the Sun.
Virgo – The Sheaf of Wheat is symbolically held in the hand of the goddess of the constellation Virgo. With rare exceptions Earth is seen as a goddess who sustains her children through the annual cycle of fertility and renewal of the land. The body of the Goddess feeds and nourishes her children, and many ancient goddesses embodied the perpetual motion of the agricultural year. Virgo goddesses include ancient goddesses of grain, agriculture, and the harvest, whose myths embody these seasonal cycles. Images of these goddesses often include vast fields of waving grain, overflowing cornucopias, or generous platters of fruits.
Libra – The Dove is an ancient emblem of the goddess Venus, the traditional ruler of Libra. Birds are connected with the Sacred Feminine around the world and viewed as messengers to heaven. In Hermetic tradition the Language of the Birds, or the Green Language, is the domain of the Goddess. White doves are ancient symbols of peace and purity; even the ancient Egyptians revered them. Doves are also symbols of love, “billing and cooing.” Libra goddesses embody the idea of love, beauty, art, and elegance. Although Libra seeks peace and harmony, conflict is inherent in relationship, so goddesses included in this dual air sign can also appear as fierce birds of war. Libra is also the sign of marriage, so these goddesses learn to balance the challenges relationships present.
Scorpio – The Spider is the great weaver who spins creation, the literal web of life, from her own life force. Scorpio is traditionally represented by a Scorpion and represents the life force and how that energy is expressed, so this sign is connected to sexuality as well as healing. Serpent goddesses, when they are healing agents appear here, representing the life force directed toward transformation. In Scorpio the substance of the threads of life are spun out of the Spider’s belly, creating the potential. Scorpion and spider goddesses are included as well as goddesses who embody passion and sexuality. Because Scorpio is the portal to the unseen realm beyond the Veil, goddesses of death and rebirth are also included.
Sagittarius – The Bow & Arrow relates to traditional astrology where Sagittarius is symbolized by the Archer, who is a centaur. Many goddesses, in fact some of the most ancient, are huntresses who live in primeval forests and guard the animals who live there. For these goddesses hunting is not sport but a sacred reciprocity that is represented in women’s lives and the Earth herself. The Sagittarius hunt can also be seen more symbolically as the quest for wisdom, engaging the fire of aspiration that takes us into a larger view of the world. Goddesses included in Sagittarius represent wisdom, dreams, providence, fortune, and the voices of oracles. Because Sagittarius is ruled in astrology by the sky god Jupiter, a mythical latecomer, goddesses of light, wisdom, thunder and lightning are also included.
Capricorn – The Spinning Wheel represents Crone goddesses who are weavers of Fate. Spinning, weaving, and looms are the province of wise elder goddesses who pronounce destiny, measuring and cutting the threads of our lives. While Scorpio spins the threads out of the substance of the Goddess’s belly, it is in Capricorn, the sign of form, that the threads take shape and are woven into the tapestries of our lives. Mountains are symbols of this process in all spiritual traditions, so Capricorn has usually been symbolized by a mountain goat with the tail of a fish or dolphin. Ancient mountain goddesses are included in Capricorn along with goddesses who embody structure, organization, time or duration, as in measuring the threads of Fate, endings, the dark of winter, and the wisdom of old age.
Aquarius – The Spiral can be seen in the whirling galaxies of deep space, hurricanes, pine cones, and sea shells. This motion represents the spiraling nature of reality that eternally spins and evolves. The spiral represents the cyclical motion of Nature and the sky, including the arms of our Milky Way, inviting us to look up and beyond our limited scope to widen our view. Aquarius goddesses are connected to space and knowledge of the alchemical Above. Aquarius goddesses reach toward heaven, and the realm of the higher mind, connecting to the sky and stars, celestial themes, and the ancient wisdom of astrology.
Pisces – The Chalice, or Grail, contains the waters of collective consciousness and is a symbol of the quest toward immortality and conscious union with the Divine. Pisces is traditionally symbolized by two fish swimming in opposite directions in the ocean of existence, but tethered at the tails. Pisces can represent illusion, not seeing clearly, refusing to see, or divine inspiration. This stage of the journey requires faith. Pisces endows knowledge of the alchemical Below, the deep reservoir of collective existence, which engenders empathy. Pisces goddesses include mermaids, fish deities, and mother-creators from the sea, as well as those who embody the principles of sacrifice and compassion.
The Goddess Signs© offer a feminine lens through which the timeless energies of the zodiac can be expressed and experienced. Ancient Egyptians said every woman was a nutrit,a “little goddess,” after the nature of the great goddess Nut, whose star-covered body arched over the Earth. Each dawn she gave birth to the Sun. I believe if every woman reclaimed that awareness we could heal the world.
Goddesses for Every Day: Exploring the Wisdom & Power of the Divine Feminine Around the World
Originally published in Atlantis Rising Magazine http://www.AtlantisRising.com