goddess spotlight: Ningal

Ningal, also Nikkal, (translated as ‘great lady’ or queen), is the Sumerian goddess of dream interpretation and divination. She was later associated with language and linguistics.

Her story says that she was a maiden and the moon god, Nanna, was besotted with her. After spending several passionate nights together in the marshes, he departed, promising to return. When he finally did, he found Ningal matured and assertive, making requests of him before she would agree to marry him.

He completed the tasks she asked and they were married, after which she gave birth to a son, Utu, the sun god, and two daughters: Inanna/Ishtar and Ereshkigal, both famed and devoutly worshipped goddesses of their own rights.

Ningal also was worshipped as a goddess of love and fertility, as well as divine feminine mysteries.

Associations:

  • Colors: Yellow, Purple, White
  • Planets: the Moon
  • Elements: Earth, Water
  • Maternal love, destruction, divination, dreams, fidelity, happiness, love, loyalty, intuition, femininity, vision, psychic dreams, prophetic dreams, agriculture- especially water plants such as reeds, cattails, lily pads
  • Seasons: spring and summer, especially between Beltane and Litha; Samhain;

goddess spotlight: yemaya

Yemaya (also spelled Yemoya, Yemoja, Yemonja, Yemaja, Iemanja) is a widely worshipped goddess in the Afro-Carribean pantheon, associated with water and women.

History

Yemaya began as a goddess in the Yoruba tradition and was brought to the Caribbean and N America, later S America, with African slaves.

She is considered an orisha, which comes from the southeastern region of Nigeria, where these deities were considered guides sent by the creator or source to help humans live to their fullest potential on Earth. Some interpretations consider orishas to be a manifestation of an aspect of that supreme deity or source.

She was eventually synchratized in the US with figures such as the Virgin Mary, in order to appear to align with Christianity or Catholicism, because slaves were beaten and even killed for openly practicing their native African religions.

She is the goddess of water, beginning in Yorubaland as a goddess of rivers and streams, and eventually, the ocean. She is considered the mother of all bodies of water.

She is also the patron goddess of women, femininity, especially pregnant women, and children. She is seen as a very loving and maternal goddess. She also protects fishermen. She is also petitioned for healing, fertility, and love.

Yemaya is often depicted as a mermaid and seashells, particularly cowrie shells, are a symbol of her influence and love. When you hold a seashell up to your ear, it is her voice you hear whistling through it!

She is also the mother of Oya, the goddess of the winds.

Yemaya also provides comfort and strength during times of struggle, pain, and obstacles in life, encouraging us not to lose hope.

Associations

  • water and emotions
  • water signs, especially Cancer
  • Colors: blue, light blue, white
  • seashells
  • seaweed
  • quartz
  • white flowers
  • the Moon
  • Fish, peacocks, ducks
  • Number: 7

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.

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

plant a goddess garden

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while because I love planting things and I love the concept of planting things specifically for a particular deity, goddess, or just all of them. Creating a welcoming environment for your favorite goddess(es) through the use of nature seems exceptionally appreciative and grateful, IMO.

And, most deities have specific plants they are connected to in some way, or specific colors they resonate with best, so its pretty simple to put together some basic garden plans based on one or more goddesses (and yes, technically you could do this for a god or a deity that is not gender specific).

Indoor or Outdoor?

Before even selecting plants, determine where this garden is going to exist. If you do not have the ability to plant something outdoors, but you do have some space inside, even if you think its small, it still counts, and, while I can’t speak for a particular goddess, most seem to be receptive and appreciative of humans planting things in their honor, especially if you show that some thought has gone into its design and selection.

The biggest thing with indoor vs outdoor is the lighting. If you have the ability to set up sunlamps on your plants all day, then I wouldn’t worry about the question of full sun vs partial sun vs partial shade vs full shade (and yes, technically partial sun and partial shade are not the same thing).

Usually, if you’re indoors, a south-facing window will get what’s considered full sun in most locales, but other things might affect that, like outdoor trees blocking the rays to your window, or tall buildings obscuring sunlight from that spot, so you’ll need to determine this by watching that spot or even taking pics of it throughout the course of a day to see how much light actually filters in through your chosen location.

Make note of how many hours of sunlight your chosen spot gets. Here are some basic guides for hours of sunlight:

  • Full sun is 6+ hours of light, but might be more like 8-10 if you’re growing veggies
  • Partial sun is 4-6 hours of light
  • Partial shade is at least 2, but usually not more than 4 hours of direct light
  • Full shade is 2 or less hours of direct light per day

Your chosen space, depending on how big it is, might even have zones where parts of it are full shade and others are part sun. I have a spot in my backyard where I’m planning my goddess garden and I took pics of it every 30-60 min during a day to determine which parts fall into which category, so I could more effectively choose plants.

Make note of that.

Which Plants Should You Choose?

Here’s the fun part! Regardless of whether indoor or outdoor, you want to first look for plants associated with your chosen goddess(es) and make a list. It can be as long or short as you want. Don’t forget to include a wide variety, not just flowering plants. Think herbs, shrubs/small trees, medicinal roots, and so forth.

Once you have your list of associated plants, dig into what color spectrum your chosen goddess(es) resonates most with. Which of the plants on your goddess-specific list also fulfill color correspondences? Make a note of those as 1st choice plants.

Are there other plants that were not on your original list that do match the color correspondence of your goddess(es)? Consider including those, as long as you can’t find any reason why that goddess(es) would not like that plant.

Cross off any plants that just aren’t going to work with the given light situation. Trust me, if you don’t have full sun, don’t try to grow a full sun plant in partial shade. You’ll get frustrated and it won’t thrive.

Also, do some simple googling to find out if a plant you’ve selected can be grown indoors/outdoors. Some plants even if they get full sun inside are really meant to be outdoor plants and may be very care intensive or difficult to grow indoors, and vice versa. If you’re a skilled horticulturist and have access to a greenhouse and stuff like that, go for it, though!

Now, you should have a narrowed down list of plants that match the lighting conditions and the location, as well as the goddess(es) plant and color associations.

In my backyard garden, I made a list of these plants that I wanted to grow in a garden I plan to dedicate to multiple goddesses, but its primarily designed for Freya and Hekate, as those were the two I was most heavily working with at the time:

  • black columbine
  • garlic (flowering)
  • bluebells
  • orange columbine
  • mint
  • lemon balm
  • scarlet pimpernel
  • rue

Plan It!

Scribble on a piece of paper the rough shape of the space you’ve got and anything else in the space structurally that’s part of it. This is sort of like your floor plan (or ground plan).

On your floor plan, make note of the spots that have different lighting conditions, if they do.

Indicate how big in feet or inches the space is, and roughly scribble in bubbles or shapes of where the desired plants will go.

This can be as simple as a couple of pots on your windowsill to a complex landscaped plot on your land. Don’t overthink it, put it down how it speaks to you. You can always change it if needed.

Below is what my scribbled out plan looks like:

seriously, your scribbles do NOT need to look like a really professional design, as long as you can read it!

Now, if you’re working this goddess garden into a space you plan to spend time, you can also consider things like seating and access. I plan to eventually put some nice cushioned outdoor chairs into mine where I can sit and read, enjoying fresh air.

One other thing to have on your mind at this point is pets. If indoors or outdoors, be cognizant of whether your chosen plants are toxic to dogs or cats. Just because they are doesn’t mean you can’t have them, but if you have a pet that will definitely sample your plants, then its best to leave it out. Neither of my dogs have any interest in eating or tasting my indoor plants, so I don’t worry about it there.

Also, if outdoors, will your plants be left undisturbed enough to grow. I have two dogs, one of which is fairly destructive just because he’s big and loves to run around, trampling whatever happens to get in his way, so some pretty fencing around my goddess garden is going to be a requirement for me.

You may also have pests like rabbits or other rodents that will dig up any bulbs or roots you plant, so consider some animal-safe deterrents for pests.

Plant It!

Okay, so this post isn’t going to go into detail about starting from seeds vs already sprouted or grown plants. You can decide what works best for you and your space, as well as your experience and comfort level with plants and gardening.

But the key is, follow through on your design and then follow through on the upkeep. Plants need to be cared for just like any other living being, and, if you’re like me, you may find they really do have personalities and characters that you’ll start to become familiar with (I promise talking to your plants isn’t as weird as it sounds).

I look at a goddess garden like this: if you are dedicating a space to a deity or spirit, care for it as if they actually live there all the time, and keep it neat, beautiful, inviting, and above all else, loved. If you can realistically only do this for a couple of plants right now, that’s completely fine!


One more thing. If you’re going the indoor route, I cannot recommend enough the app Planta (looks like its only available on iOS right now). This was a game changer for me to remember when to water my indoor plants. A year ago, I had like dozens of plant deaths under my belt for the simple reason that I would just forget or it wasn’t a priority.

I now have dozens of happy thriving plant citizens in my home, and I give almost all the credit to this app (some credit needs to go to one of my ancestors who was a legit world-renowned botanist who I have been working with and welcoming into my home).

Planta is geared for already established plants, so if you’re growing from seed, you’ll need to wait til they start to germinate a bit, but after that, enter each plant you have, pics of it, and the app will give you tons of detail, watering schedule, etc.

It also even adjusts watering frequency by time of year and the available light conditions where your plant is, as those will affect if your plant needs more or less water.

I use the free version which is really all you need for watering schedule, but if you’re someone who wants all the extra info like reminders of when to fertilize and when to repot, etc, there is a version you can pay for monthly.

They do also have settings for outdoor and indoor/outdoor, which I think are also part of the premium paid version.

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.

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

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?

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