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Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto
are two of the primary kami found in ancient Shinto mythology. The divine siblings are the deities of the terrestrial creation myth, whereby the lands and all the creatures that inhabit them came into being. Specifically, they are honored as the originators of the islands of Japan.

While they star in the same creation story and both play essential parts in the generation of beings, they also have different roles and responsibilities. The myth focuses on the things they create together, but it also allows each of the kami to have an individual role in the mythology.

The primordial deities in the sky who preceded the pair in existence ordered Izanagi and Izanami to go down to earth to make something useful of the vast terrestrial realm. But at that time there was still nothing down there to sustain them or even provide a platform for their creative mission. While standing on the floating bridge of heaven, the pair looked down upon the face of the earth and pondered whether or not a potential country was beneath them. Higher still above them, the primordial deities realized that there actually was no place for their emissaries to land, so they cast down to them a magnificent jeweled spear.

Izanagi thrust the jewel-spear of heaven down into the ocean and stirred. With a “curdle-curdle” sound, he stirred up the brine of the ocean, and when he lifted the spear the brine coagulated and dripped off. It soon hardened and formed the island of Onogoro (“spontaneously-congealing”) island in Japan. This mythical island, supposedly located somewhere off the northeastern coast of today’s Shikoku, became Izanagi’s and Izanami’s home.

Read More http://jedijack-his-story.blogspot.com/2010/06/izanagi-and-izanami-creators-of-japan.html



{June 14, 2010}   The Muses of Ancient Greece

The Muses were not only singers for Zeus and other gods; they also oversaw thought in all its forms: eloquence, persuasion, knowledge, history, mathematics, astronomy. 

Hesiod praises their services to humankind, claiming that they accompany kings and inspire them with the persuasive words necessary to settle argument and re-establish peace, and that they give monarchs the gift of gentleness which makes them popular.

A singer (thought of as a servant of the Muses) has only to celebrate the deeds of men of long ago or to sing of the gods, and anyone listening who is beset by troubles or sorrows will forget them instantly. The oldest song of the Muses is the one sung after the victory of the Olympians over the Titans to celebrate the birth of a new order.

The following list of Muses was accepted by those who lived during the classical period in Western history:

  • Calliope–The first of the muses in dignity, is the muse of heroic or epic poetry, and is often depicted holding a writing tablet.
  • Clio–The muse of history, represented with an open scroll of paper, a laurel wreath, and a trumpet.
  • Erato–The muse of love poetry, from whom comes the term “erotic.” She is often shown holding a lyre.
  • Euterpe–Muse of music or flutes (often playing flutes).
  • Melpomene–Represents tragedy. Most often depicted with a tragic mask and the cothurnus (a high shoe worn by tragic actors to increase their apparent stature).
  • Polymnia–Muse of sacred poetry, ceremonial song or sublime hymn, or the mimic art.
  • Terpsichore–Muse of dancing and choral song. She is often represented dancing with the lyre.
  • Thaleia–Muse of comedy, often shown with a comic mask.
  • Urania–The muse of astronomy, usually portrayed with a staff pointing to a celestial globe.

 The word “museum” originally meant a place connected with the Muses or the arts inspired by them.

Classical era Greeks and Romans understood history differently than do people in the modern era. Whereas Greco-Romans considered history more literally, as something to be remembered and aspired to, we tend to think of history as something that explains present circumstances and can be a valuable guide to the future. In that sense, in some ways the nobler aspects of the past can and should be emulated.

Source: Texas A & M University 
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Women’s History Magazine



During the surveying of prehistoric rock art at Carr Edge in Northumberland, on 30th October 2005, a previously unrecorded rock art panel was discovered by Yvonne Black, Ian Craig and Derek Gunby, members of Team 4 of the Rock Art Project of Northumberland and Durham.

The panel is an exposure of sandstone rock, 2 m x 1.2 m, upon which is carved a figure of a warrior. The figure holds a sword or spear in his right hand and a shield in his left. There is a sword or knife scabbard at his waist on his right side.

A second figure is located below and to the right of the first. This figure has an almost triangular body and has facial features of eyes and nose. There are several cup and groove marks on the rock and many peck marks.

A carving in the bottom left of the panel may suggest a third, hooded, figure but this requires further investigation. The panel is located on top of a natural mound. It was found close to another new sandstone panel which is carved with cup and groove marks. The mound is in an area of rough pasture with a small wood to the north. It is in an elevated position with a view towards Warden Hill.

Such is the complexity of the panel that it is difficult to ascertain if any of the carvings are contemporary. It is thought that the carvings could range in date from early Iron Age to Romano-British. However, the cup and groove marks may well be earlier than the figure carvings since these are of a more traditional indigenous form…..

Since Carr Edge is just as close in proximity to Warden Hill (Iron Age hill fort) as it is to Hadrian’s Wall the geographical location of the warrior figure does not necessarily suggest a Roman date of origin. However, the Stanegate (Roman road) runs between Warden Hill and Carr Edge, so there is an undeniable Roman presence in the area.

The second figure is probably female as it is comparable in form to carvings of the Romano-British triple goddess, examples of which may be seen at Housesteads and Bath. The carving at Bath has not been dated, but is assumed to be Roman. The Deae Matres or the Matronae (the three mother goddesses) together form a unity representing strength, power and fertility.

The origin of the ‘power of three’ dates to the Iron Age as triplism was prevalent in Celtic religion and the triskele was a recurring motif in Celtic art. Only one female figure is present on the Carr Edge panel but it may be that the carving was not completed. It could, of course, depict only one Celtic mother goddess – The Morrigan. The Morrigan is the unification of a triad of goddesses, Morrigan, Badb and Nemain. She is both fertile and destructive.

The potential hooded figure could represent a genii cucullati (guardian spirits with hooded cloaks). These are also known to represent the male triple god of fertility and frequently appear alongside the triple goddess in Celtic iconography. Both the genii cucullati and the Matronae are known to be protectors of springs and rivers. There is evidence to suggest that a spring once existed close to the figure panel at Carr Edge.

Souce: archaeologydataservice.ac.uk
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Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto are two of the primary kami found in ancient Shinto mythology. The divine siblings are the deities of the terrestrial creation myth, whereby the lands and all the creatures that inhabit them came into being. Specifically, they are honored as the originators of the islands of Japan. 

While they star in the same creation story and both play essential parts in the generation of beings, they also have different roles and responsibilities. The myth focuses on the things they create together, but it also allows each of the kami to have an individual role in the mythology.


The primordial deities in the sky who preceded the pair in existence ordered Izanagi and Izanami to go down to earth to make something useful of the vast terrestrial realm. But at that time there was still nothing down there to sustain them or even provide a platform for their creative mission. While standing on the floating bridge of heaven, the pair looked down upon the face of the earth and pondered whether or not a potential country was beneath them. Higher still above them, the primordial deities realized that there actually was no place for their emissaries to land, so they cast down to them a magnificent jeweled spear. 

Izanagi thrust the jewel-spear of heaven down into the ocean and stirred. With a “curdle-curdle” sound, he stirred up the brine of the ocean, and when he lifted the spear the brine coagulated and dripped off. It soon hardened and formed the island of Onogoro (“spontaneously-congealing”) island in Japan. This mythical island, supposedly located somewhere off the northeastern coast of today’s Shikoku, became Izanagi’s and Izanami’s home.


After settling down in Onogoro, Izanagi invited Izanami to describe how her body was formed. She said, “My body in its thriving grows, but there is one part that does not grow together.” Izanagi replied, “My body in its thriving also grows, but there is one part that grows in excess. Therefore, would it not seem proper that I should introduce the part of my body in excess into the part of your body that does not grow together, and so procreate territories?” Izanami said, “It would be well”.


Izanagi and Izanami proceeded to perform a marriage ritual in which they walked around a pillar, he moving to the left and she to the right. When they met on the other side, Izanami spoke first, saying: “Ah! What a fair and lovely youth!” To which Izanagi replied: “Ah! What a fair and lovely maiden!” 

Despite the gracious exchange of words, however, Izanagi was concerned about a perceived lapse in the appropriate etiquette. In the Nihongi version of the narrative, he said, “I am a man, and by right should have spoken first. How is it that on the contrary thou, a woman, shouldst have been the first to speak?”. Nevertheless, they then consummated their relationship. Soon after, Izanami gave birth to a loathsome leech child, which the disgusted parents sent off in a basket into the ocean.


Izanagi was convinced that their first child was not a success because of Izanami’s breach of proper decorum. The divine couple conferred with the Heavenly Kami above, who performed divination and confirmed that this failure was indeed because Izanami had spoken first. The creator kami then had to return to the central pillar on the island of Onogoro and repeat the marriage ceremony. This time Izanagi began, saying, “Ah! What a fair and lovely maiden!” To which Izanami appropriately replied, “Ah! What a fair and lovely youth!” After this new exchange Izanagi and Izanami united once again and gave birth to a total of fourteen islands and thirty-five kami.


During the birthing of Kagu-Tsuchi-no-Kami, the fire god, Izanami was so badly burned that she took sick and eventually stopped moving. This was the first instance of death in the history of the universe.

Read more:        uwec.edu
Image Source:   picforme 

Women’s History Magazine



In Hungarian mythology the goddess Boldog Asszony is the goddess associated with birth, fertility and harvests. She has been incorporated into Hungarian Catholicism, there are 7 goddesses known to be called by a generic title Boldog Asszony. One of these is called Nagy Boldogaszony, who is also the mother of the rest of them. They are associated with the following;
  • the giver and protector of life and the family. 
  • healing and herbes
  • bountifull harvest, fruitgrafting and harvest time
  • fertility of man, animal and plants
  • selection of brides and mates for man.
There are several hollidays associated with her which also strongly link her with agriculture, such as; “gyümölcsolto”; fruit grafting on May 25th, sarlos; sicle March 25th. Her other titles are linked with families but are now unused and Szülö; birthing, which is at December 26th and is only for families. 
As the religious head of the country “Magyarország Nagyasszonya”,  the great queen of Hungary was celebrated on October 17th, while Small/Young Boldogasszony day was September 8th. A few holydays are of Christian origin probably like “candle sanctifying” or ” Mount Karmel” Boldogasszony days. It should be assumed that Christianity probably change the general message and form of her traditional worship from the old one.

Her day in the week was Tuesday, it was also associated with taboos against washing (clothes) and dirtying water. Even during the time of St Steven in the 11th century St Gellért who converted Hungarians to western Christianity wrote that Bodog asszony was already being associated by the church with Mary the mother of Christ, and was also called the queen of Hungary, and the world. I believe that this association of Boldog Asszony, was not done at first in central Europe but was already practiced in eastern Christianity before the resetlement to Hungary. This based on the mentioning of “Budux” by the Syrian Christian documents.

In looking for a similar goddess in the past researchers have progressed through several Near Eastern fertility goddesses like Astarte, then the Sumerian Inana, but ultimately went even further to find the old Sumerian goddess BA-Ú as the ideal equivalent of BO-DOG ASSZONY in both name and in function. 
She also seems to have links with the early preliterate MAA cults of early Anatolia, which was the source of the agricultural revolution which spread into both Europe and Central Asia, resulting in the various clay figurines of ancient fertility goddesses found in both Central Europe and Anatolia.
Source: cwnet.com

Women’s History Magazine



Cuba is a Roman Goddess of Children Who watches over children in their beds, blessing them as they sleep. Her name derives from the Latin verb cuba, which has the primary sense of “lying down”, and is usually taken to mean “to rest or sleep” or “to be in bed”; it is related to the word cubiculum, “bedroom” or “bed”.

As Her sister Goddess Cunina is specifically concerned with infants in cradles, it would seem that Cuba is in charge of protecting young children who have graduated to using a bed and who are no longer infants.

She is associated with other protective Goddesses of childhood such as Educa, who blesses children’s food, and Potina, who blesses their drink; and She is said to be the sister to both Cunina and Rumina, the Goddess of Breastfeeding. The fact that there are several minor Goddesses dedicated to specific issues of childhood is not a sign of the triviality or absurdity of ancient pagan thinking (as St. Augustine would have it) but rather an indication of what a precarious time childhood in the ancient world could be, before the days of vaccinations and antibiotics when more than one in four children did not live through their first year.

Another meaning of cuba is “to be [lying down because one is] sick” or even “to be [lying down because one is] dead”, and it is likely that Cuba was also prayed to to help sick children get well (which does usually involve a lot of rest) and to avoid death. Perhaps then Cuba is not just a guardian angel-type Who protects children as they sleep, but a healer Goddess Who helps sick children get better through the powers of bed-rest and sleep. Cuba is sometimes linked with Juno, either as an aspect of that Goddess or as one of Her associates; Juno, as the Roman Mother-Goddess, was especially concerned with childbirth and healthy children.

Source: Obscure Goddess Online Directory

Women’s History Magazine



{January 11, 2010}   Satet – Goddess of the Nile

 Satet (also known as Setet, Sathit, Satit, Sati, Setis or Satis) was an archer-goddess of the Nile cataracts. Her name comes from the term “sat” (to shoot, to eject, to pour out, to throw). It is often translated as “She Who Shoots (Arrows)” in relation to her aspect as a goddess of the hunt, or “She who Pours” with reference to her role in the innundation and her guardianship over the Nile cataracts. Her name was originally written with the hieroglyph for a shoulder knot but this was later replaced by the sign representing a cow´s skin pierced by an arrow.

As a warrior goddess, she protected the pharaoh and the southern borders of ancient Egypt and in her role as a goddess of fertility she caused the innundation and purified the deceased with water from the underworld (the mythical source of the Nile). Satet is described in the Pyramid Texts performing this service for the king.  Her most important role was as the goddess of the inundation (yearly flooding of the Nile). 

According to myth, on the “Night of the Teardrop” Isis would shed a single tear, which was caught by Satet and poured into the Nile, causing the inundation. As a result, she (like Isis) was linked to Sothis, the personification of the star Sept (Sirius A, the “Dog Star”) which rose in the sky just before the arrival of the inundation every year. 

Like Anuket (and many other goddesses) she was originally thought to have been Ra´s daughter and was sometimes considered to be the spouse of Montu (the Theban war god). By the New Kingdom she was believed to be the wife of Khnum and the mother or sister of Anuket . These three gods formed the Abu (Elephantine) triad. As Khnum became linked to Osiris, and Anuket linked to Nephthys, Satet became firmly connected to Isis. She was also linked with Hathor, as goddess of human fertility and love. 

She was worshiped through the Aswan area (particularly on Setet Island) and throught Upper Egypt. However, items found in Saqqara suggest she was popular in Lower Egypt even in ancient times. She remained popular throught Egyptian history and her temple in Abu (Elephantine) was one of the principal shrines in Egypt.

She is depicted as a woman wearing the Hedjet (White Crown) of Upper Egypt decorated with either ostrich plumes (the Atef crown), or gazelle or antelope horns. Due to her link with Sothis and the inundation, she was sometimes depicted wearing a star on her head and carrying water jars. Occasionally, she carries a bow and arrows, but usually this is replaced by a sceptre and an ankh (symbolising life).

Source: ancientegyptonline.co.uk

Women’s History Magazine



Buto was a cobra-goddess whose original home and cult center was in the Delta of the Nile at Per-Uatchit. In time she became a prominent protectress of all of Lower Egypt. As such she was routinely connected to the goddess of Upper Egypt, Nekhebet. Together, they appeared in many pieces of art as symbols of the Two Lands, a united Egypt.

Buto did not just protect Egypt, she also was an aggressive defender of the king. She was portrayed as the uraeusRe, and later the pharaohs’. Her hood is spread in a threatening position and she is ready to spit poison on all of the pharaoh’s enemies or burn them with her fiery glare. 

It is thought perhaps that her powers could be used against the pharaoh as well. Her bite may have been the deadly device used by Anubis at the appointed time of the pharaoh’s death. cobra first worn on the brow of Buto was a personification of the sun’s burning heat and she was called the “Lady of Heaven” and the queen of all of the gods. 

She was closely associated with Horus the Elder, who was the protector god of Lower Egypt. Also she was associated with Harpokrates (Horus the Younger); she protected him from Seth in the marshes of the Delta while Isis was searching for the body of Osiris.  

Buto was depicted in art as a woman wearing the uraeus or the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. She was shown carrying a papyrus stem around which was coiled a cobra. Sometimes she was shown as just a cobra coiled in a basket and wearing the crown of Lower Egypt.
Source

Women’s History Magazine



A third version of Sun Goddess’s origin occurs in the Kojiki (712 C.E.), the oldest extant source of Japanes mythology. This rendition of the story places it in a much more somber context, involving the ideas of death, putrefaction, and the need for purification. The narrative takes its point of departure in the various creative acts by which Izanagi and Izanami were producing the islands of Japan and the entire natural universe.

All seemed to be going well, when suddenly Izanami gave birth to Kagu-Tsuchi (“Fire Child”), who singed her womb on coming out. Grievously wounded, Izanami sickened and died. Deeply distraught, Izanagi descended to Yomi in hopes of bringing back his beloved wife. He succeeded in finding her and talking to her, but then — in a nightmarish reversal of fortune — he discovered that her flesh was rotting and being eaten by maggots.

Horrified, Izanagi fled, and he barely escaped with his life. On emerging into the upper world, he felt blemished and impure. Because of this, Izanagi decided to bathe himself. As he was bathing, he first washed his left eye and gave birth to the great goddess, Amaterasu Omikami. Then he washed his right eye and produced Tsukiyomi no Mikoto. Finally, Izanagi washed his nose, and from this Susano-O no Mikoto came forth (Kojiki 46; Nihongi 28).
Relations between Amaterasu and her youngest brother were rocky from the beginning. Susano-O seems to have been the proverbial mischief maker, playing wicked pranks and constantly upsetting his elder sister. Moreover, he appeared unable to accept the tragic death of his mother. His constant weeping and wailing caused the forests to wither on the mountains and the rivers and streams to dry up (Kojiki 51).

Finally, his father Izanagi ordered him to leave the terrestrial realm and go down to Yomi. Before his departure, however, Susano-o decided to visit his sister one last time. As he approached, he made a great deal of noise, shaking the mountains and rivers. On meeting Amaterasu, he told her that he meant no harm, he just wanted to say good-bye before going to the realm where their mother Izanami was. Amaterasu was still suspicious, but Susano-O proposed that as a seal of their friendship they should produce offspring, which they did.

Their divine act of generation took the form of mutually munching each other’s most sacred talisman — he consuming her necklace and she his sword. From this act, various gods and goddesses were created, among them Ame no Oshi-ho-Mimi no Mikoto (Truly-I-Conquer-Swiftness-Heaven-of-Great-August-Person), who later became the ancestor of the Japanese imperial line (ibid. 54).
The goodwill resulting from this exchange of creative energies was to prove short-lived, however. When Susano-o returned to see Amaterasu, he was in a wild and reckless mood. He separated the division of the rice fields laid out by Amaterasu and filled them with ditches. He then strewed excrement in her palace. After this, Susano-O found Amaterasu sitting in a long hall watching other deities weaving heavenly garments.

The Storm God proceeded to break a hole in her roof and throw a dead horse into the hall. The goddesses who were weaving the heavenly garments were so shocked that many were injured and some even died. Amaterasu was so appalled by the incident that she hid herself in a deep cavern in the center of the earth, the so-called Rock Cave, and refused to come out. As a result, the world became plunged in darkness….
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Women’s History Magazine



{September 18, 2009}   Aphrodite, Goddess of Love

Without doubt, Aphrodite earned her reputation for frivolity and promiscuity as a result of her very liberated sexuality. However, this reputation was not so much a condemnation of her behavior as it was a fear of her uncontrollable nature.

Aphrodite was one of the most unique of the Greek deities in the freedom of her sexual life. Aphrodite’s charms came from her magic cestus, an embroidered girdle that, in both gods and men, aroused passion for the wearer. So great were Aphrodite’s seductive abilities that every god, including the great Zeus, desired her as his wife.

However, Aphrodite was too proud for any of her suitors and rejected them all. As a punishment, Zeus made her the wife of Hephaestus, the homely and lame smith-god. This union did nothing to curb Aphrodite’s actions, and she discouraged Hephaestus from sharing her bed in additon to being unfaithful to him.

Perhaps the most celebrated of Aphrodite’s affairs was her relationship with Ares, the god of war. Although such a union may at first seem incongruous, it is actually a match of two divinities of the same nature. Aphrodite, the beautiful maiden who attracts the attention of the most powerful of the gods only to decline him, refuses to be controlled by her marriage to Hephaestus–she will not be denied freedom in the area of her dominion. Likewise Ares, an alternately rageful and cowardly god, can never be predicted in his actions. Aphrodite’s rebellious nature is reinforced by the creation of many children by her liason with Ares. In addition, Phobos and Deimos, Anteros, and Harmonia were even passed off as the offspring of Hephaestus.

Unfortunately, the two were discovered by Helios, the sun, on an occasion when they slept too late. Helios told Hephaestus, who conspired to trap them.

“And when Hephaestus heard the grievous tale, he went his way to his smithy, pondering evil in the deep of his heart, and set on the anvil block the great anvil and forged bonds which might not be broken or loosed, that the lovers might bide fast where they were…So the two went to the couch, and lay them down to sleep, and about them clung the cunning bonds of the wise Hephaestus” (Homer’s Odyssey).

Hephaestus’ trap did nothing to deter Aphrodite from her extramarital activities, and the goddess had many children by both gods and mortals. Many of these children were associated with different aspects of love and sexuality. By Zeus she became the mother of Eros, the creator of sensual love. Eros often appeared as a winged infant equipped with a bow and a quiver full of love darts which never missed their mark and took effect on both god and man. His half-brother Anteros, son of Ares, punished those who failed to return the love of others. By Hermes she was the mother of Hermaphroditus, who was welded with a nymph into a body with both sexes. By Dionysus she had two sons, Hymen and Priapus. While Hymen was worshipped as the god of marriage, the monstrously ugly Priapus represented human lust.

The most prominent of Aphrodite’s mortal children was Aeneas, her son by the shepherd Anchises. Aeneas became the founder of the nation of Italy, and the mythical ancestor of the Roman people.

Aphrodite’s offspring show just how total her control over love and other passions truly was. Through her children, she had power over all areas of human emotion. As all people, despite their character or position in life, possessed some capacity for feeling, Aphrodite’s influence was perhaps more widespread than that of any other god.

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et cetera