Friday, 30 November 2012

Egyptian Male Deities - Anubis

©De Marco & Manton
For the fourth quarter, the God I've chosen from the Gods and Titans Oracle (Blue Angel, 2011) is Anubis, with his keyword of Protection.

North - Earth - Body - Anubis - Protection

Anubis is associated with mummification and the after life.  So, the protection he offers is not merely physical, but also at a soul level.  After guiding the Ancient Egyptian embalmers in their task (they would wear an Anubis mask while they worked), this God would then also accompany the souls of the dead to their final judgement by Anubis and Ma'at.

Being associated with tombs, womb-like structures within the earth, is one reason to associate him with that element.  The idea of protection, particularly taking care of one's body, is another.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Egyptian Male Deities - Osiris

©De Marco & Manton
For this third day, and still using the images from the Gods and Titans Oracle (Blue Angel, 2011), here is Osiris.

West - Water - Emotion - Osiris - Renewal

Osiris, husband of Isis, had a tumultuous relationship with his brother, Set, who was envious of him.  First, Set made him a sarcophagus as a birthday present, suggesting his brother try it out to see how well it fit him, and then locking him in it and hiding it.  Isis managed to find it again, and release Osiris. So then, Set dismembered his brother, scattering the pieces across the world.  Once again, Isis managed to find all the bits of her husband, except for his phallus.  So, she made him a new one out of gold, and it worked so well that he sired Horus with it ;)  So, not one but two "rebirths", with a little help from the determined and skilled Isis!

Why associate him with water, you may ask.  Well, I guess it links to ideas about the cauldron of rebirth, and he did float along a river in his sarcophagus.  There's also something about the deep emotions he evoked, both in Isis and Set.  And renewal is something I associate with water, washing us clean for a fresh start.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Egyptian Male Deities - Ra

©De Marco & Manton
Drawing again on the Gods and Titans Oracle (Blue Angel, 2011), today I'll take a look at Ra.

South - Fire - Passion - Ra - Power

Ra is the Egyptian Sun God, carrying the sun in his chariot across the sky each day.  More than that, though, he is associated with creation itself, with the bringing of life.  Which is kind of curious, considering how Egypt suffered under droughts.  Perhaps, in part, it is for that very reason he was considered so important - a force that can kill you and blight your crops must, at the very least, be respected.  Still, his role went well beyond that: it is said that he called all beings into existence by speaking their secret names (now there's an archetype for you!)  And the power of the sun, in good measure, is vital for crops to grow.  Ra speaks of inner power, too, the inspiration to build something of value (huge building projects took place under his auspices), and to value yourself.

When you dig deeper into pantheons, they tend to make less sense rather than more, as the Gods evolve over time to fit the needs of changing populations and cultures.  For example, in some texts Ra is linked to Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, while in others he is said to be father to Set, Osiris' brother *doh*  Ultimately, I don't think these lineages matter.  To me, what matters are his strength, creativity, and inspiration, as characteristics to call upon.

As for his connection with the element of fire - the power of the Sun is the most obvious.  The aspects of creativity and strength also speak to that, for me.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Egyptian Male Deities - Thoth

©DeMarco & Manton
Still don't get on with Greek male deities, they just rub me the wrong way!  So, I started thinking about what other Gods I might call on, particularly when casting a circle.  I was drawn to the Egyptian Pantheon, and my first thoughts were Thoth, Ra, Osiris, Anubis and Set.

The Gods and Titans Oracle (Blue Angel, 2011) has all of these.  While I find the Gods in this deck a little overly "calendar boy", these ones are mitigated by animal heads and amazing colours.

My thoughts, then, for assigning them to the elements when calling a circle, and for shadow work, go like this:

East - Air - Mind - Thoth - Wisdom
South - Fire - Passion - Ra - Power
West - Water - Emotion - Osiris - Renewal
North - Earth - Body - Anubis - Protection
Shadow - Set - Chaos

Over the next few days, I'll post about each in turn, so here's Thoth:

East - Air - Mind - Thoth - Wisdom

God of learning and wisdom, of the written word and magic, Thoth is the God that Aleister Crowley attributed the Tarot to :)  He was also said to be the one who taught Isis the words she needed to resurrect Osiris (more on that this Thursday).  Thoth's wife, Ma'at, was the Goddess of Justice, so together they represented a good balance of knowledge and action.  And Thoth also became known as the go-to God for arbitration, both for humans and amongst the Gods themselves, and took part in the judging of souls.  All these attributes associate him with the element of air: magical words, judgement, knowledge, and good communication skills.

Friday, 9 November 2012

The Goddess Hekate

Last night I attended a lecture by Prudence Jones on the Goddess Hekate (I prefer this spelling to Hecate).  She traced the worship of Hekate back to ancient Greece, and from there possibly back to Anatolia and Mesopotamia, where she may have been a Great Goddess.  Although the Asia Minor version was blood-thirsty, she was also a Goddess of Plenty, generous to her followers.  However, it is from there that she may have her association as Goddess of Witches, as the Greeks equated blood sacrifice and black magic ;)

Prudence traced interesting connections: how Hesiod in his Theogeny named her a Goddess sole-born to her parents (a title also given to Jesus).  He also said she was honoured by her uncle Zeus, and given her Titan-born share of the heavens, the earth and the seas.  In this way, already around 700 BCE she was a triple-aspected Goddess.

©Marashinsky & Janto
Interestingly, in her Athenian depiction as the saviour of Persephone, she is a Maiden to Persephone's Wife and Demeter's Mother aspect.  Nowadays, we tend to see her as a Crone, perhaps because of her connections to the land of the dead.  Later, Hekate became equated with Artemis, with many sculptures inscribed as being Hekate-Artemis. Thus when Artemis, previously Goddess of Hunting, became associated with the moon, so too did Hekate.

Around 45 BCE, there was a temple to Diana Trivia just south of Rome.  Trivia means of the three ways, which was a name for Hekate, and Diana was the Roman name for Artemis.  This temple was built by the side of a lake in an extinct volcano crater, so that the moon would reflect in the circular pool, an enormous scrying mirror!
Hekate's most frequent associations are as a Goddess of the three ways - when three paths join, or a fork in the road.  She protects from bad energies, and is a psychopomp, guiding the souls of the dead on their path with her two flaming wands.  However, she was also originally a Goddess of flocks and fishing ;)

It was interesting to hear Prudence's research, making connections between ancient practices and our modern-day ideas, tracing how different associations accreted to Hekate, and exploring her different aspects, dark and light.  This is still a work-in-progress, but Prudence hopes to publish on it in the future, so it will be interesting to see how her ideas develop and see where her research takes her...