The two-volume Sky Lore Anthology won a gold medal at the recent International New Age Trade Show, INATS, in Denver.
“All things bear fruit according to their nature.” Goddesses for Every Day
The Goddess Sign for Virgo is the Sheaf of Wheat, which appears in depictions of the constellation of Virgo as the bright star Spica that is held like a staff in the hand of the goddess. The mutable earth sign Virgo relates to the stage of spiritual unfolding which focuses on specialization of forms. Virgo represents the stage in the cycle when the soul’s experience is focused on assimilation of knowledge. In this phase matter is organized, purified and refined into specific and recognizable objects. Here we might say the Grand Plan of the Cosmos is carried out in detail. Metaphysically Virgo is the matrix and represents the womb of the inner spiritual self, containing the seed and eventual fruits of the Spirit. Seeds germinate in darkness, breaking their way out of their shell casings, and sending roots into the Earth. Like the abdomen and intestines, which Virgo has dominion over, this phase distills the qualitative pearls from life.
In every case I have been able to find except Egypt, the Earth is always seen as feminine. She is a great mother goddess who gives birth to and sustains her children from the substance of her body. This expresses through the fertility cycles of the seasons. Virgo goddesses include goddess of agriculture and grain, as well as the harvest, and the annual descent into the underworld while the Earth grows barren for a time. Icons of these goddesses include generous platters of fruits, overflowing cornucopias and waving fields of grain.
Virgo is the only female among the zodiacal constellations, and other than the twins, Castor and Pollux (Gemini), she is the only human figure. Author Richard Hinkley-Allen says, “Those who claim very high antiquity for the zodiacal signs (15,000 years ago), assert that the idea of these titles originated when the Sun was in Virgo at the spring equinox, the time of the Egyptian harvest.” Australian astrologer Bernadette Brady has remarked that, “Whatever image is chosen across time and cultures, what is contained in Virgo is the archetype of the harvest-bringing goddess, pure and good, independent of the masculine. She gives the four seasons and is the source of the fertile Earth.” The more ancient concept of “virgin” described a woman who was independent and free to love whom she chose.
Demeter was the Great Mother earth goddess of the people who preceded the Greeks. Her sacred rites, known the Eleusinian Mysteries, were celebrated for nearly two thousand years, as long as Christianity has existed, in what is now mainland Greece. People came from all over the known world to participate in these secret ceremonies. We don’t know many details of these activities, as the penalty for revealing their contents was death. Some aspects are known or suspected however, as the high point of the ritual was said to be a “sheaf of wheat reaped in silence.” The Eleusinian Mysteries are similar in significance to the annual celebration of the mysteries of Isis and Osiris in Egypt. I believe the deeper meaning is learning move in resonance with shifting seasons of light and dark in order to harvest blessings in their time.
Based on and excerpted from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com
Milky Way Galaxy
“May we come and go in and out of heaven through gates of starlight. As the houses of earth fill with dancing and song, so filled are the houses of heaven. I come, in truth. I sail a long river and row back again. It is a joy to breathe under the stars. I am the sojourner destined to walk a million years until I arrive at myself.”
Normandi Ellis, Awakening Osiris
Existence is vast, seemingly boundless and immeasurable. The latest figures from NASA estimate that there are one hundred billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy pictured above. There are also estimated to be a jaw-dropping two trillion galaxies in our universe alone. It’s impossible to comprehend this immensity of scale, and yet it’s believed by scientists that we are also part of a multiverse. Perhaps an unknown number of universes co-exist in a Cosmos of parallel dimensions that spread light through infinite space and time. What is the significance of one brief human life in all this immensity?
The ancient Egyptians were master sky watchers. Monumental temples aligned with the rising of bright stars and calendars and ceremonies were planned based on the sky. Egyptian funerary texts called the Book of Gates proclaimed that when Ra, the sun god arrived at the twelfth and last hour of the night, before dawn, the miracle of rebirth occurred through the gate “with the mysterious entrance.”
In The Traveler’s Key to Ancient Egypt, author John Anthony West describes Egyptian funerary texts as “manuals of spiritual instruction” and says the Duat is the “field” in which the transformation of the soul occurs. The theme of transformation and reclamation also runs through other ancient mystery traditions. Many ancient gods were seen as solar and stellar fire, and many rites represented the redemption and regeneration of this spiritual energy. The ineffable mysteries they sought to unveil, and the hidden knowledge the rites contained, held and transmitted this wisdom. Manly P. Hall, in Secret Teachings of the Ages says, “Mysteries were the channels through which this one philosophical light was disseminated.”
The Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece took place from 1,600 BCE to about 400 CE, although most scholars believe their origin is much earlier in the Mycenean period. They were contemporary with, and bear strong resemblance to, the Egyptian mysteries of Isis and Osiris. In the Greek mysteries the goddess Demeter, carrying two torches named “intuition” and “reason,” searched the world for her daughter Persephone, who symbolically represented the lost soul. She had to be rescued from the underworld, where she had been abducted by the god Hades.
Sometimes the light seems to go out in our lives and we can be deeply challenged by a darkness of spirit. Although we know the Sun still shines behind the clouds, and the stars still burn even though hidden in cities by artificial light, at these times we need courage and the love of friends. Poet Khalil Gibran said, “One may not reach the dawn except by the path of the night.” This is true, but there have always been those who hold lanterns to guide our way through the darkness to the mysterious entrance of initiation. We can take heart that this universal path of spiritual teaching has permeated spiritual traditions throughout time. Often called the Underground Stream, the spiritual wisdom of ages is always present, even though hiding in the shadows at times. Our job is to remember that the light is always there and to prepare ourselves to receive the gift of ancient wisdom, which sheds light on the Path.
Julie Loar’s blog won a gold medal last year.