goddess spotlight: bastet

Bastet has recently become one of my favorite goddesses. She’s more than just another love goddess. If you’re not familiar with the deities of the Egyptian pantheon, I highly recommend reading up on them. They are some of the most fascinating and beneficial deities to work with on a wide variety of areas of life.

But, back to Bastet.

History

Bastet (also Bast) is the Egyptian goddess of love, sexuality, fertility, music, dancing, and war, but also lotions and perfumes. She is typically depicted in Egyptian art and writing as either a cat or a beautiful woman’s body with the head of a cat.

There are sources that point to her being worshipped in Egypt as far back as 3200 B.C.

Some historical sources point to her being the daughter of Isis and Ra, but most just depict her as the daughter of Ra alone. The hieroglyph that represents her is also the same that represents the ointment jar, which is why she is associated with lotions, oils, and perfumes.

She was said to be the wife of Ptah, the god of architecture and craftsmen. She was closely associated with the goddess Hathor, who was also associated with love, music, fertility, dancing, and intoxication.

There is also some indication that she was originally a lioness goddess, and at some point, she and her sister Sekhmet became two separate goddesses with different attributes.

In addition to her associations above, she is also a goddess of cats, highly revered animals in Egypt.

Bastet is a solar deity, and, therefore has attributes of all the planetary bodies, which she can manifest under certain conditions.

Bastet could also be a vengeful goddess, taking vengeance on the enemies of the Pharaoh when called upon.

She is commonly shown holding a sistrum, a musical instrument commonly used in ancient times.

Bastet was most commonly worshipped during huge celebratory festivals in her honor. These occurred several times per year, and women attending the festivals were said to ride large ships up the Nile river, partying, dancing, drinking, and exposing their genitals to others on the river banks as they sailed past.

She was petitioned to protect households from evil spirits and thieves, as well as a protectress of pregnant women. People also had their pet cats mummified after they died, in honor of Bastet.

Bastet was said to have slain Apep, an underworld serpent god of chaos, who was also the enemy of her father, Ra.

At some point, as the Greek pantheon and Egyptian pantheon began to take on associations of their counterparts, Bastet also was likened to the goddess Artemis, and therefore became associated with the moon, in addition to also being a solar deity.

Associations

  • Cats
  • Patron of: dancers, musicians, possibly other performance artists, mothers, and healers
  • Fertility, Love, Femininity, Beauty, Pregnancy, Sexuality, Intoxication, Dancing, Music, Protection, War, Vengeance
  • Sensual pleasure
  • Perfume
  • Lotions, oils
  • Colors: Green, Red, Gold, Turquoise
  • Planets: all, depending on the day of the week; especially rising sun
  • Incense: Myrrh, Frankincense, Jasmine, Cinnamon, Sandalwood, Vervain, Lavender
  • Herbs: catnip, cattail, yew, cypress
  • Crystals or metals: gold, pyrite, lapis lazuli, red jasper, red agate

There’s really a huge body of content and information out there if you want to get more about Bastet, so if this has piqued your interest, I highly encourage you to search out more information, and even maybe check out some of the Khemetic resources on Bastet.

how to create a magick morning ritual for self love

When I initially planned this post, it was simply from the perspective of creating rituals of any level of simplicity or complexity to begin one’s day with an attitude of self love and empowerment.

And, that will be what this is about.

However, after a comment from @clairalchemy on Twitter encouraging me to expand on a comment I made about creating sacred devotional time with my spirit, this sort of morphed into something much larger, which deserves to be more fully developed and structured, perhaps even some kind of template to help others implement this approach and mindset into their lives in an expanded system.

So, be on the lookout for that from me in the coming months, but for now, let’s talk about rituals and self love.

Rituals in Magickal Practice

The term ‘ritual’ may engender visions of arcane and complex undertakings, dark robes, ceremonial sacrifices, and chants in languages you don’t understand.

Or, it might make you think of practicing something many times over in order to perfect it or learn it better.

Or, maybe its a gathering with fellow magick practitioners or pagans wherein you celebrate an important lunar or solar date.

None of these are necessarily wrong, but I want you to step back away from preconceived definitions and ask yourself what rituals you have already created in your day. That is, what things do you do most days, or almost always the same way, or in symbolic honor of something or someone?

Most peoples’ days are not that extremely different and variable, as humans are creatures of habit in many ways. Even the most spontaneous of us still get dressed the same way each day, shower and brush our teeth in a certain order, or eat the same 10-15 foods fairly consistently.

So, its likely you have some rituals already established. Some of them serve you to get to work on time looking professional, others ensure that you complete work effectively, and still others may assist you in caring for family members such as prepping dinner each night or tucking kids into bed.

Rituals in magickal practice are not extremely different in that they follow a certain structure, even if you do not follow a more defined path such as Garderian Wicca or Voudon, its likely that there are certain steps or actions you take before, during, and after all of your rituals, regardless of the purpose or workings contained therein.

For some people, rituals and spells are completely separate undertakings. For others, they intertwine as needed. Wherever you fall in that spectrum, ritual is something that has repeatable elements and builds behaviors that yield change in our lives or our world in some way, either through physical/psychological/spiritual action, or symbolic actions.

Examples of how ritual may impact us include:

  • establishing a deeper connection to external spirits, divinity, source, or ancestors/guides
  • building a community and fellowship with peers when done in social groups
  • sending forth energy in the form of requests, spells, prayers, or workings to affect ourselves and our environment
  • creating subconscious or spiritual connections to actions, elements, ideas, and more in order to grow or change our spiritual or even physical self
  • learning to be more present and focused

There are plenty more ways that ritual practice may affect you, but most importantly, it is time dedicated to a person(s), spirit(s), deity/ies, concept, project, or other pursuit that is a priority to you.

The bottom line I want you to take away is that ritual time is time focused on a person, task, idea, or element, not on distractions that have nothing to do with it. It is devotion of time, action, and thought and being present in the moment.

So, if you consider yourself a priority (and I hope that you do), are you incorporating rituals for yourself?

Self Love and Acceptance Actions Ritualized

For some of us, its not simply enough to think we’re great, the power of a regularly implemented ritual can create magickal ripples of energy flowing from within you to affect your environment, the people around you, and, yes, even the rest of the world.

There are many ways you can practice self love. They don’t all incorporate bubble baths and pedicures. Sometimes the things you may need to do to love yourself are organizing your monthly bills or grocery shopping for fruits and veggies so you can snack on those instead of empty calories like chips.

And yet, still other examples of self love include taking care of your physical body with movement. Do you have an exercise ritual? What about getting outside daily to breathe fresh air? There are plenty of ways you can ritualize this.

Maybe ritualized self love for you is affirmations in the mirror before you get ready for the day. Instead of focusing on what you perceive are your flaws, perhaps you can create statements of self love to repeat out loud before you do your make up and hair?

Embrace the things about yourself you find beautiful, alluring, sensual, special, or otherwise remarkable or unique. Remind yourself about those first thing every day.

Ritualized self love may be a meditation (guided or not) in which you breathe deeply in a quiet space or outdoors, imagining yourself embracing and accepting what you have and what you want, pursuing your goals, and acquiring your desired outcome. Consider it a visualization pep talk.

Or, maybe its writing down your thoughts before getting ready for the day. Write down your fears, worries, regrets, irritations, and any other feelings typically perceived as ‘negative.’ It’s important to acknowledge these exist, and not just ignore them and pretend like they’re not there.

Then, write down all the positive attributes you feel like you have. All of them, no matter how small you think they are. They’re all important. Look at your list. Isn’t it awesome? Aren’t you awesome? Now you’ve taken away the power of your fears and worries, and you’ve established your self worth and empowered yourself to start the day with a mindset focused on bringing out those strengths.

You may also ritualize letting go of past hurts or experiences that hold you back. This could be in the form of journaling, reading tarot or oracle cards, creating art to tell your story, or meditating, as just a few suggestions.

Creating Your Own Magickal Morning Ritual for Self Love

I can’t and won’t tell you what ritual to create, as I’m not you, and I don’t know what will work with your life. Only you can decide how much or little of this you need, and in what form it will occur.

But, at this point, after reading through the above suggestions or ideas, did anything jump out at you as appealing?

If nothing was appealing, its possible that your self love ritual needs to include more specific things, besides just ‘movement,’ ‘nourishment,’ ‘spiritual work,’ and so on.

Think about how you feel at the end of a day. What are the things you think to yourself ‘I wish I had time for that‘ or ‘I wish I could change this about myself’?

That is the first thing to start with. Whatever you want to do more of, or want to approach differently, should be a ringing bell that perhaps it would benefit from some ritualized self love.

An example of this would be ‘I wish I had more time to read for enjoyment.’

So, then part of your morning ritual might involve waking up 10-15 min earlier and grabbing a book from your nightstand and reading for a bit before doing anything else. Start the day with that little bit of time that’s devoted to just you, and I promise your day will flow much smoother and you’ll begin to see your self worth show up in ways you had not expected.

Or, ‘I wish I could change my body.’ I don’t want to get into the realm of bodyshaming, but coming from a background in nutrition and fitness, having worked with hundreds of women of all ages, this is so ubiquitous these days and believe me, every single one of us can name off numerous things we want to change about our bodies if we could. No matter how body positive we are publicly, we’re still human inside.

This propensity to be unhappy with our bodies has to be acknowledged, instead of continuing to sweep it under the rug and pretend like we’re not all at least a little bit insecure about our bodies, no matter what they look like.

And saying that we should all want to keep them just as they are, no change needed also minimizes the very real emotions and feelings that come along with inhabiting bodies. It makes women feel bad about their bodies, and then makes them feel bad about feeling bad about their bodies, which further works against us.

And, I also refuse to jump on the ‘y0u should love your body no matter what’ train. Y0u should love your body, but if you don’t, that is not a sin, and there is nothing wrong with you. Sometimes loving your body does mean making it healthier, depending on what your definition of healthier is.

Ultimately, you are the one that has to live in your body. Change it or don’t change it based on what you like or want or feel, not anyone else’s opinion of what it should look like, nor whether you should care what it looks like.

Decide if/how you can make changes and what you are willing to give up to make that happen. Some changes are unrealistic and the urge to make the change is based on misogynistic ideals we’ve embraced for women’s bodies and lives, and some are simply impossible based on individual factors.

This type of statement, however, can be transformed into self love in one of two ways:

  1. Is this something you can actually change? And, if so, can the change be attained without risk for your personal health or safety? If the answer to both of those is yes, then consider creating a self love movement/exercise, skincare, diet, medical, or other bodywork ritual geared toward your goals. Always work with a healthcare provider when appropriate.
  2. If this is not something that can realistically be changed (wanting to be taller than you are, wanting a body shape you genetically or anatomically cannot attain, etc), then you might focus on removing the urge to want to change your body and hone in on the aspects of your body that you find spectacular. I worked with a client years ago that was ~ 5’2″ and was obsessed with the idea of having ‘long lean muscles’ like I did at the time. But, I’m 5’9″ and genetically that’s how people in my family are built. After discussing this in great depth before working together and during sessions, she came to the realization that she had the perfect build to develop gorgeous curvy muscles, which she ended up loving even more. Sometimes, we realize that what we originally wanted is not really what is best for us or isn’t going to yield what we think it will. The grass is almost never greener.

Beyond those things, perhaps your self love is changing your mindset or creating a path to growth through the arts, self exploration, or other pursuits that flex your spiritual and psychological muscles in various ways.

You might want to add to your ritual chants or mantras that help you internalize concepts you want to be better at.

For instance, lets say you feel like you are short-tempered with your partner and you want to approach discussions or situations with friction more calmly. You could create a sigil, a chant, or any other written or verbal element to symbolize yourself remaining calm and diffusing your temper when put in those situations.

You could also sit with your favorite houseplant or in your garden, touching nature and breathing deeply to fill yourself with gratitude and the beauty of what the earth has to offer us every day. Visualize drawing energy from those sources if you need it, or returning excess energy if you feel you have started the day a little too tightly wound.


All of these things are merely suggestions for you. Ultimately, decide what elements, if any, you want or need in a morning ritual.

Because this is a morning ritual, it should be based around the things that you feel will put you in the best mindset going into the rest of your day.

Whether that be being more assertive, drawing firmer boundaries, showing compassion, improving your health, helping those less fortunate, learning a new skill, or listening to others instead of doing all the talking, decide what you want this ritual to provide you with, and craft its elements accordingly.

As long as you are devoting that time, no matter how long or short, to yourself and practicing an act that you consider to have the intention of self love, it can help to grow and heal you spiritually and emotionally as you are consistent.

Personal empowerment is everything, and being who you want to be is at the root of this ritual self love practice.

goddess spotlight: Creiddylad

Creiddylad, (Creddylad), is also sometimes associated with Cordelia, but this may be an erroneous association carried over from a 12th century fictional tale written by the cleric Geoffrey of Monmouth, in which he wrote of Queen Cordelia of the Britons, a woman not known to have ever actually existed, and with a very different story than that of Creiddylad.

Creiddylad, on the other hand, is the Welsh goddess of the spring, and strongly associated with the Greek Persephone.

In the Celtic myths, she is the daughter of Lludd Silver Hand, and a lady at the court of King Arthur. She was set to marry her true love, a knight named Gwythr, but was kidnapped by the dark knight Gwyn, whose aspects associated strongly to Hades and the Underworld.

She is fought over every year on May Day (the festival also known as Beltane in many pagan traditions) by the two knights who desired her hand. It is said that they will fight for her each year until Judgment Day, at which point the victor will finally marry her.

Creiddylad is associated with the land of faeries, beauty, love, and fertility.

Other Associations with Creiddylad

  • May
  • Liminal
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Flowers
  • Love
  • Fertility
  • Peace
  • Balance
  • Cycles
  • Seasons
  • Maidens
  • Ivy
  • Self-love

goddess spotlight: Ista Devata

Ista Devata was relatively unknown to me before writing this, and I’m glad I ran across her because she definitely resonates with me and a lot of what’s going on in my life right now, and perhaps you will feel the same!

Origins

There is very little actual information about Ista Devata accessible online. Like, almost none. Ista Devata (also may be spelled Ishta Devata) is the Hindu goddess of individuality (so far, I love her already) in India.

According to Priestess Brandi Auset’s The Goddess Guide (seriously, get you a copy of this book), she is also the patron goddess of ‘the self found through enlightenment.’ (please note the term ishta devata can also mean – loosely- ‘the deity one devotes themselves to’; not to be confused with the actual deity Ista or Ishta Devata)

What I think is particularly relevant here is the massive and powerful spiritual awakening and enlightenment that seems to be spreading across the globe as humanity is beginning to re-initiate the search for higher meaning and impactfulness in our lives and our world.

This goddess can teach us the power of transformation and transmutation in order to understand personal energy. Transformation is a fairly straightforward concept, but transmutation is slightly different, in that it is the use of energy from a person, situation, object, etc that we perceive as negative or unhelpful and turning it into a positive force, such as acceptance, affirmations, love, or other typically positive experiences.

An example of a transmutation would be when you are arguing with someone and you feel their negative or angry vibes coming at you, stop, smile, maybe even laugh, and say ‘You know what, let’s stop. We’re not getting anywhere with this. Can we come back and discuss it later? Or maybe just agree to disagree?’

The laughter changes whatever tension was there into a positive emotion and counteracts the negativity of the argument, transmuting it into joy or at least a neutral feeling in the space.

Transformations are things we tend to associate more with abstract ideas and concepts, such as ourselves, in the spiritual or identity sense. Transformations occur when we shed old habits, drop old layers or shells we’ve created, make small or large changes to our lives, begin new phases of our lives, or even just change our mindset and the way we think about an idea, person, or experience.

This may be the perfect time to consider contacting, working with, or tapping into the energies of Ista Devata, as you are undergoing your own personal growth and transformations.

Associations

Ista Devata is associated with:

  • Red
  • the element of Fire
  • Imbolc
  • the maiden

Goddess spotlight: Tashmetum

Hey, its another monday, and what better way to spend part of it than learning about a really cool goddess?

Tashmetum (also Tashmit and Tashmetu) is the Babylonian love goddess, and she specifically is associated with the love of marriage. so, within a marriage and finding a marriage partner.

She also functions as a sort of mediator or ‘spiritual counselor,’ if you will, between husbands and wives (I would take this to mean all couples, regardless of orientation; the historical information that this is taken from obviously pre-dates social progress and LGBTQ recognition and equality).

She was often referred to as ‘the lady who listens,’ which is a close translation of her name. She is the consort or wife, depending on the source you consult, of the god Nabu.

Their temple was located in the city of Borsippa, which is located in modern-day Babylon, Iraq. Borsippa was a completely separate city from Babylon, however. There are some associations with the famous Tower of Babel as the Ziggurat of Borsippa.

Correspondences:

Zodiac: Associated with Capricorn

Associations: Love, marriage, sensuality, femininity, seduction, wives

As both Tashmetum and her husband, Nabu, were the patrons of scribes and written word, she would be a good goddess to invoke for support or inspiration if you are a writer or author.

the ethics of witching

let’s go there for a minute.

when people think about ethics related to witchery, we tend to think of the use of what some refer to as ‘dark’ witchcraft, such as curses, hexes, binding, or other types of magickal practice that affect or control another human being and/or their free will.

other ethical considerations of witchery, though, include, but are not limited to:

  • using animal parts in practice
  • using human parts in practice
  • appropriation of another culture’s practices without respect for the culture of origin
  • sexual misconduct of ‘mentors’ or other positions of power, taking advantage of others’ trust
  • children or minors involved in various ways in the craft that may be inappropriate

so needless to say, there are a number of ways we can approach ethics, and each of us has to make our decisions about where we stand on most of these, but i think its safe to say that there are some lines that, ideally, all of us should be drawing, but are not consistently happening.

sexual or other forms of abuse need to stop.

okay, so there are a TON of gray areas in this, and i would like to think that we’re all consenting adults in whatever we choose to do. but, the reality is that, as those of us who have been in situations elsewhere in life involving sexual harassment and sexual assault know, consent flies out the window the second the abuser or harasser is in a position of power relative to the victim. always. full stop. there is never an exception or ‘but what if…’ to this one.

if you or anyone you know is using your relative power or status to coerce another person into ANYTHING they would not normally do otherwise, including but not limited to nudity, sexual acts, participation in events or rituals, castings, or else, you are an abuser. and anyone who witnesses and doesn’t do anything about it, is your enabler at best, and an accomplice, at worst.

i like being naked, its great and fun, and so is sex. and if magick and sex go together for you, that’s awesome, too. there should never be an unwilling participant. ever. every time i have asked my husband to participate in any sex magick i have always asked him. and when he initially replied ‘well, i’ve never done that but, sure, i’ll give it a shot,’ my reply was, ‘only if you feel comfortable.’

any kind of act within magickal practice should always occur under consent throughout from all participants, and the conditions under which it occurs need to be structured so that all participants feel comfortable voicing their discomfort, should it arise.

i won’t say that men are the problem, but i will say as a woman, women understand this much better than men do, in my experience.

women are typically much better at making sure everyone is comfortable throughout an experience and checking in with participants during than men, who assume that unless you speak up, you’re consenting, which we all 100% know is not always the case.

and this is probably because, statistically, 75% of women have been in situations where they absolutely didn’t feel comfortable, but also didn’t feel as if they could speak up and voice a concern.

taking or appropriating another culture’s religious, spiritual, or magickal practices without giving appropriate attribution and respect

is absolutely never okay, especially if you are profiting from it. there are many many cultures in which forms of witchcraft are practiced and they each come with their own inherited and cultural considerations for those practices. if you want to learn about them and learn from them, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

but if you want to profit off of them with products or services without giving proper due, that’s never okay. ask yourself if you would want someone taking your cultural history and practices and passing them off as something else without respecting you, your family, your ancestors, and your heritage?

and then we get to the really gray areas that i think we can all argue about all day long, but at the end of the day, we have to make some tough decisions about where this weighs on our conscience:

initiating children into practices when they are minors.

as a legal rule, minors cannot give consent for virtually anything. they’re minors and the government views them as property of their parents or legal guardians.

i have some personal reservations about viewing any human being as property of another, but as a parent, i also fully understand that minors do stupid shit and sometimes have stupid ideas (including my formerly minor self in that, as well).

so, sometimes parents need to make these decisions for them. religion and spirituality, however, feels icky if its a decision we make for someone else, though, at least to me.

if my son expressed interest in my beliefs, i would have no problem explaining to him and referring him to further reading so he could make informed decisions for himself, but i would never just say ‘hey, i think you should look into this.’ and then bring him along for full moon spells and rituals.

where i think this is okay is if a child expressed on their own an interest and there are some activities they can do that are age appropriate, then, yeah, absolutely. but it should never be a decision that’s made for them, however, that’s just my personal opinion formed from a personal autonomy point of view. this stems heavily from my embrace of The Satanic Temple tenets, the third of which states:

“one’s body is inviolable, and subject to one’s own will alone.”

the use of animal or human parts.

so this tends to be a topic that causes a chasm in some parts of the magickal and pagan community.

in an ideal situation, all human and animal parts should be ethically acquired, meaning you didn’t have to kill a person in order to get their teeth and there’s no live animal sacrifice happening, but we all know there are seriously divergent views on this that stem from cultural experience and practice.

hell, my own viking and northern european pagan ancestors sacrificed the fuck out of some animals and humans throughout history and before christianity took over their ancestral practices, so its not even like i can claim i’m clean on this one, and probably nobody else can, either.

i’m also personally an omnivore and eat meat from animals daily, and would never be so hypocritical to say that i won’t use animal parts in my practice, but i will do what i do when i acquire animal products to eat, which is to look into the supplier, their ethical history and practices and make the best judgment call i can with the information i have. if it doesn’t seem right, i don’t participate or buy.

human parts are a little more vague, because lots of people ‘donate their bodies to science’ or expire from ‘natural causes’ and apart from official morgue records, which we can only hope are true and verified, we really can’t know if they were ethically harvested unless you were there at the time, which begs the question: wtf were you really doing there?? lol

magick that controls the will of another person.

this includes hexes, curses, bindings, and so on. these are often referred to as ‘dark magick’ but in reality, magick itself is neutral, the intent of the user is what may be termed ‘dark’ or ‘light.’

its my opinion that all of these have a place. i also don’t at all believe in the ‘rule of 3.’ if you cast a curse or hex on someone and you regret it for even a second, then its absolutely going to backfire and come back on, you. that’s my experience. so just make sure its absolutely 100% what you really want.

i’m not going to hypocritically sit here and say i would never curse someone, either. i personally don’t know anyone right now that i would want to go through the energy expensive process of placing a curse on, but i can’t say that i never will know someone like that, present federal administration excluded. i can tell you i 1000% would curse someone that hurts my kid. no question. i hope they feel the pain of a 1000 deaths before feeling the pain of their actual death.

but i have friends who couldn’t even grasp the concept of that, even if it was their own kids.

my vast life experience has taught me that most people are their own curse. really. they’re miserable fucks that hate themselves and are hollow inside and you don’t actually need to take the time or energy to curse them, because their lives already suck, even if you think they don’t.

if you’re the kind of person that likes to curse others just because you’re the actual miserable fuck, well, then why are you even reading a post about ethics? or maybe you counter curse someone who curses you? does that balance the karmic scales? (btw, i don’t have the answer to that question just yet…)

this might also include love spells, and, honey, if he doesn’t love you without a spell, do you really want him? maybe that’s the universe screaming in your face that he’s just one giant walking red flag…

but what about spells that ‘encourage’ another person to do something that’s of benefit to them, like casting a spell to get your spouse to look for a better job because they’re miserable where they are but they feel stuck on their own, or a spell to get your neighbor to clean up their trashy-looking yard…

i can’t tell you how to approach those because i’m not you and i don’t know those people. but these things still fall under the category of you controlling someone else’s free will, so weigh the karmic outcome on these things carefully.

so that sort of sums up where there are some potential problems that are obvious, but then keep in mind, as with any supply chain and growth of consumer interest in a particular subject or industry, there will absolutely be impacts on human welfare, such as mining those beautiful crystals you like to buy, or growing and harvesting the herbs you buy in bulk, and so forth.

there is absolutely no way that any of us can live and operate in our modern world without impacting another life- human, animal, or plant. so, beyond that, i think barring the actual illegal acts that fall under sexual assault or harassment and the actual illegal harvesting of animal/human parts, we need to decide where we stand. there’s probably no completely right or wrong answer.

the COVID19 pandemic has made unpaid labor even more burdensome for women

this week, a colleague of mine in my day job made the remark that she conducted a consult on a complex clinical test with a healthcare provider, a woman, who was “lovely, sheltering in place, homeschooling a child, dealing with a preschooler meltdown, and nursing an infant, while her husband is also WFH. Yet she stayed on for the full hour. Serious mommy-multi tasking!”

to which i replied, “I think the COVID19 pandemic has further highlighted the inherent ‘quiet strength’ of women, and our ability to manage organized chaos on a daily basis 😉 now, if we can only figure out how to get financially compensated for all that lol”

it is absolutely no new thing to women, all over the world, that we do more work than men. more tasks, more daily chores, more child-related things, more home-related things, and even in our jobs, if measured on par with our male counterparts, studies have found that we still do more ‘stuff’ in the way of work and work-related tasks.

and much of this (in fact, the majority of this) is uncompensated work. we are neither paid for it, nor are we often even recognized or thanked for it.

i think perhaps the most striking thing i’ve noticed, in talking with my friends and colleagues who co-habitate with a male partner or spouse during this pandemic and our various stay-at-home and quarantine situations is that most of us are finding ourselves doing even more work during this time that our partners are also at home at least as much as we are.

what this is saying is that, while the men in our lives are home the same amount of time as us, they are still overall doing much less of the total workload domestically, with children, and around the home. and during a time when they are even more present in the home, no less, which is striking because of some of the age-old arguments to why women do more work around the house, such as:

“men spend more overall time at the office working, so that’s why women work more around the house.” sorry, buddy, the last several months have shown that not to be the case now that you’ve been home the same amount of time as us. you’re just not helping us, that’s all.

“women spend more time with their children than men do, so they are better caregivers.” again, no. fathers are shown to be just as effective parents as mothers when they spend time with their kids. yet, overwhelmingly, women are the ones shouldering the majority of the work related to children who have been staying home and even home-schooling during the pandemic.

i thought about this a bit relating to my own situation, and, while i am lucky that i have a partner that spontaneously decides to do dishes because he hates clutter in the sink, and he’s all over taking out the trash, i also shoulder 98% of the burden of raising a teenage son (who is not my partner’s child), because he lives with me full time and i am much more involved in his life than his father is.

and to be fair, his father isn’t a bad father, he’s just busy and less involved in parenting decisions, and, quite frankly, i’ve done what 100% of mothers across the world have done for centuries, which is ‘if you want something done right, just do it yourself.’

its often perceived as easier to just take on more work than it is to get someone else, who isn’t used to doing it, to do it, and do it well. (this is a horrible behavioral trait, i realize, but when there’s something really important, like, say, the life and potential future of a child on the line, i don’t fuck around).

if you want to read more on the data behind why virtually everything in the world is engineered (literally, it is engineered this way, because men are overwhelmingly the engineers doing the engineering) to benefit men, and, in some cases, even, work against women, check out the book Invisible Women, by Caroline Criado Perez.

she examines some super hefty data sets that look at everything from why streets get cleared before sidewalks when it snows (more men drive and more women walk and use public transport, so men who run public works departments have streets cleared first), to the unequal division of unpaid labor and unpaid chores/tasks related to living that women do vs men, to why women received poorer healthcare attention from healthcare providers compared to men.

its such a revelatory book, and, while some of the facts were things i was unaware of, none of them surprised me. businesses set thermostats to temperatures that most women find uncomfortably cold because men are the ones who make the decisions about indoor temperatures, btw. (i experience this at home, with wearing layers of clothes all summer long inside because my husband can’t bear to have the thermostat above 71 inside).

i think that, while this pandemic certainly had some super negative impacts on most of us, it also provided a major social upheaval in quite a few ways, and one of those, i predict, will be women’s voices being significantly louder, as they are raised together to address injustices we’ve continued to experience.

and this will be played out in not just voting patterns, but the number of women who start their own businesses after this, and those who switch career paths instead of going back to employers who do not appreciate us, and demanding better from our partners.

i for one look forward to the shake up, as uncomfortable as major change is, the end result is usually for more desirable than where we started.

goddess spotlight: anath

one of the things that i have been thoroughly enjoying about my (re)embrace of magick into my life after a very long break of self-denial, is the vast body of knowledge now available online about goddesses from all over the world.

brief soapbox: even with the recent re-popularization of witchcraft with the most recent spiritualism revival, i still see a huge lack of diversity and inclusiveness in many parts of the magickal community.

to be clear, if you’re of European descent and you identify culturally, ethnically, or spiritually with mostly European deities, there’s nothing wrong with that. but if everything you post about all goddesses is Euro-centric and excludes those in the magical community that identify with a more diverse pantheon from the African continent, east asian pantheon, and even the goddesses of the Americas, then a large chunk of our community is left out.

and i know that despite my efforts to be inclusive and not always assume that the goddess is white or pale skinned to everyone, even i can get better.

so anyway, this post is about Anath, a goddess in the Canaanite pantheon. first, the ancient land of Canaan was made up of what is now modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. it existed through the early bronze age through the first century C.E. the canaanite religions were considered semitic.

Anath, also called Anat, Anit, Anatu, Anot, Anti, Anant, or Anat-her, is a primarily Syrian (but was worshipped throughout all of Canaan, which, as you remember from the preceding paragraph comprised modern day Syria, but also several other modern day countries) goddess of war and violence, but also fertility.

she is a warrior goddess and a goddess of the hunt, and depicted as highly sexual, but at the same time is referred as a virgin or maiden goddess. she is said to be the goddess who conceives without bearing.

she was said to bind together the severed heads of foes from battle and sling them over her back, and to cut off the penises of vanquished enemies and tie them to her belt. that’s pretty next level, if you ask me.

Anath was the sister, but also lover, of Baal (also spelled Ba’al), a god of storms and fertility, who eventually descended to rule or partly rule the underworld. some sources refer to her as his wife, some refer to her as his consort, and others simply imply that she was his lover, or one of his lovers.

geographical history

in Egypt, Anath was frequently paired with or worshipped as Ashtart, and is therefore thought to also be the forerunner to the goddess astarte, found in Canaanite religions, however, many scholars argue that some Canaanite texts or accounts refer to Astarte as Anath’s sister, and, therefore, they are not the same deity. they do, however, have the exact same attributes of war, violence, sexuality, and fertility.

the Eyptians also referred to Anath as the ‘queen of heaven’ and said to be the daughter of Re and ally of the god Set.

in Mesopotamia, she came to be known as Antu, the wife of Anu, and her name meant ‘goddess of heaven.’ she was also the mother if Ishtar, from the Gilgamesh epic.

there is even documented evidence that a group of Jewish refugees in Egypt worshipped a goddess named Anat-Yahu (Anat-Yahweh) in the 5th century BCE, which shows that, at least at that time, the worship of a god and goddess together was quite prevalent, even in the Abrahamic religions before the establishment of organized Christianity.

Anat is also mentioned in the Zohar, an important Kabbalah text, as Anathiel, one of the holiest of angelic powers.

there are also some connections between Anath and the Hindu goddess Kali, who had some similar attributes and associations.

Correspondences:

Animals: cow, steer, lion, dog, horse, panther (in Egyptian worship of her)

Color: red

Appears as: a ferocious and blood-thirsty warrioress, or a young maiden with flowers in her hands

Day: December 4th

Sacred Month: September

Associations: the fertility of people; fertility of the Earth; grains and crops; love and passion; war and violence; sexuality

Plants: heather, grain crops, cedar,

Other: wearing of henna on the skin is symbolic of worship to Anath by the Canaanite women during fertility festivals; sickles, with which grain was harvested; the shield and spear

friday: freya’s day

there are quite a few reasons to love friday, and i’m not here to trivialize any of them, but just want to give a shout out to a particularly awesome goddess, freya, for whom the day is named.

now, before some dude in the back raises his hand and goes ‘ackchuallllyyyy,’ let’s clarify something that’s occasionally disputed and debated about freya, frigg, and frija.

friday, the 5th day of the week in the original calendar, is named after frija, a goddess of the germanic mythology specific to the norse. she was a goddess of the vanir, and later, the aesir.

at some point, which historians disagree on, frija became either freya, who was also called frigg in some accounts, or frija became two distinct goddesses (freya and frigg) that actually had almost identical traits, character, history, behavior, and stories.

i’m really not here to debate this, and personally think it matters not. the goddess, the divine feminine energy which underpins the birth of all life in the universe, is both freya and frigg, aphrodite, mami wata, kali, hecate, and ishtar (and all the others – you get my point).

what form she takes to me shouldn’t matter to you, and vice versa. how we honor her, speak to her, and care for her earth is the bottom line here.

so onto friday and freya

if you’re not super familiar with freya, i would encourage you to read widely, as she’s a very interesting incarnation of the goddess. this won’t be an exhaustive account but here are the details:

  • day of the week: friday
  • planet: venus
  • associations: love, beauty (even to include self-worth), particularly sexuality and fertility; fine material p0sessions; fertility of the land; war; death; protector of abused women;
  • animals: cats, falcon, horses
  • symbols: honey, amber, gold, mead (a drink made from honey), fine chocolates, gold necklaces especially; fine wine; sweets

other associations of freya:

she is often thought of as the leader of the valkyries, but this is not quite correct, as the valkyries take the souls of the fallen to valhalla, while freya has first choice of the slain in battle, whom she carries home to sessrumnir, in folkvangr, and the rest are taken to valhalla in the afterlife.

she owns, or embodies, depending on who you ask, the magic of the gods and goddesses and has the power to take it from other gods and goddesses if she deems it necessary. referred to as seidr, the ancient norse magickal tradition of shamanism and magick, which came from the vanir gods.

my personal journey with freya

at some point in the last few months, my intuition has begun to flow back to me, filling me with purpose again, inspiring me with ideas, and giving me back a passion for life, creating, and connecting. i suppressed it and ignored it for many years, as i denied who i really was inside and out in order to be someone else for others (i was a horribly inauthentic person, IMO).

until recently, however, i really hadn’t connected my spirit and inspiration with a specific manifestation of the divine feminine, only that i could tell she was there, in me, around me, and encouraging me. she was helping me heal old wounds and forgive myself for past grievances.

as i continued to listen and have conversations, it came to me one day while meditating and seeking guidance that it was in the form of freya that she had been reaching out to me all along. i can’t explain how i knew, but i knew. if you’ve had this experience with the goddess, you just know. she tells you what you’re ready to learn when you’re ready to learn it.

i don’t know if it has to do with heritage, as my ancestors are heavily germanic and of norse heritage, and perhaps i more easily identify with that presentation, or it could be for other reasons. and i don’t think its important, really, why.

she moved me to tears. i cried, not out of sadness, but an overwhelming connection to something bigger than myself. to the love that appeared and surrounded me and told me i would be okay and it was time to heal and move on. i’m honestly weepy right now writing this, as it shook me to my core (in a good way).

she finally gave me the power to give myself that permission to forgive, to love me, and to see my full worth. i felt like a blubbering idiot sitting there pouring out all the pain, but at no point did i feel like she was angry, upset, or discouraging. she was forgiving and kind.

and so, through my work and efforts, i have found that her love of beauty, love, and fine things has been an inspiration for what i do and the things i create, in order to honor the contribution she has made to my life. she particularly has interest in the deep beauty of all things created (human or through nature).

every time i see a breathtaking sight of nature, a beautiful flower newly bloomed in the garden, taste the rich flavors of food from the land, and feel deeply loved by my partner, i’m reminded what i have been given and i silently thank her, as i am grateful for every single opportunity i have been handed.

let everyone know you’re an actual real life goddess

(if they haven’t already figured it out).

look, witch, you are a goddess. everything about you screams goddess. your spirit, your smile, your heart, your kindness, your wrath, your inner fire, and your ambition.

but are you hiding this goddess from others, or letting her go forth and claim her fucking space in the world?

now, more than ever, we need goddesses to take charge. we need them to be vocal and visible. we need them to be the role models the next generations need in this world.

so here are ways (just some, i’m sure you can think of thousands more) that you and i can both remind others around us that we are goddesses, not to be fucked with:

  • be in love with yourself. nothing is more goddess than knowing that you are just a stone cold fucking fox. nope, don’t even go ‘but what about my [insert flaw].’ fuck that. look at you. you’re smoking hot. and only your opinion here matters.
  • hold your head up. be so fucking proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. and what you will accomplish yet. and in a world created to hold you back, no less. you earned it.
  • take up space. goddesses are not mere wisps who cower back into a corner. they stake their claim. they belong here, wherever here is. they triumph over man-spreading and confidently own the space in which they exist.
  • wear whatever the fuck makes you happy. if it makes you feel sexy, wear it. if it makes you feel powerful, wear it. if it makes you feel masculine, wear it. if it makes you feel feminine, wear it. if you want to wear nothing, wear it. point is: you get to make that call.
  • establish strong boundaries. a goddess does only what she wants or feels comfortable with. don’t do anything you don’t want to. don’t go where you don’t want. don’t date someone you don’t like. don’t let others take advantage of you. draw that figurative or literal line in the fucking sand. the word ‘no’ is probably the most magickal word there is.
  • help other goddesses. goddesses, when they combine their power, are unstoppable, like exponentially. but even goddesses sometimes need someone to hold them, reassure them, let them vent, or help them out. goddesses will never win by stepping on each other, but we can conquer literally anything by pulling each other up together.
  • take care of yourself. whether you need to eat better, move more, give yourself a break, get more sleep, or take a damn vacation every once in a while, you have to refill your own cup, goddess. your body is your own literal temple. worship yourself by being accountable to that temple.
  • enjoy the shit out of life. you should not be quieter, smaller, thinner, stronger, less sexual, more sexual, smarter, dumber, or any other thing that is not who you are. you should be seen and heard, in all your glory. do all the things that make you happy and bring you pleasure. redefine what a goddess is.
  • but do be brave. the world has told you what it thinks you should be. but one day, will you look back and be glad that you were her? or will you be glad that you were you?

Theme: Overlay by Kaira

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