The following is a selection of the daily Goddess-centered exercises and rituals from Patricia Telesco’s “365 Goddess: a Daily Guide to the Magic and Inspiration of the Goddess”. My festival calendar is already quite crowded, so I won’t be practicing all of these, but I picked the ones that fit most with the theme of this blog, so if any of my readers are interested they could try some out for themselves. The Gods are worthy of our worship and veneration and we should always be striving to better our relationship with Them. If one of these days ends up to be pleasing to Them or helps the worshiper to connect better, than its purpose has been served.
The ones I’m most looking forward to myself are adapting something from the Feast of Vesta, now that I have a woodburning stove and a (proper) place to do my worship of Hestia. I’m also looking at trying something for Saint Distaff’s Day and the Hikuli Dance, which honors the Native Mexican Spider Woman. Both of those days I’m going to use to worship Arakhne, as I know Her, assuming that these days were inspired by Her manifestations to other cultures. Spider is definitely one of the most important totem animal spirits that has been in my life for years, at varying degrees of influence at different times, along with Owl and Snake (yeah, it’s not obvious that I belong to Athena, is it? LOL)
Anyway, in all seriousness, I can’t say if these new festivals will become permanent additions to my schedule or just something I’ll try out this year, but in any case it should be a fun and enlightening experience.
Themes: Instinct; Protection; Flexibility
Symbols: A Bear; a Willow Branch; the Constellation Ursa Major
About: Appearing sometimes as a she-bear guarding her cubs, the Greek goddess Callisto reinspires the natural instincts with which we have lost touch and illustrate the intensity of maternal love. Her other name is Helic, which “to turn” or “willow branch”; she thus has the power to help with personal transformations. In mythology, Callisto became Ursa Major while pregnant with Zeus’s child. Artemis changed her into a bear, along with her son, who became Ursa Minor.
To Do Today: In Korea, the festival of Chilseong-je begins at midnight with an offering of white rice and water to the seven stars (Ursa Major). This gift ensures Callisto’s assistance when needed throughout the coming months. If you can’t stay up till midnight, just leave the rice and water in a special spot before you go to bed.
From her celestial home, Callisto stands ready to protect us in the new year and provide us with adaptability as a coping mechanism. To encourage this, carry a silver or white stone bear, or a pace of dried willow wood. Bless this token, saying:
Callisto, release in me the power of flexibility
Whe’ver I carry this little token, keep me ever safe from harm.
If these tokens aren’t handy, you can substitute any white or silver item or a hand-drawn picture of Ursa Major (the Big Dipper).
Festival of Kore (Greece)
Themes: Luck; Cycles; Youthful Energy
Symbols: Coins; Corn; the Number Seven; Flower Buds; Pomegranate
About Kore: An aspect of Persephone before her marriage to Hades, this youthful goddess motivates good fortune, zeal, and a closer affinity to earth’s cycles during the coming months.
Kore, whose name means “maiden”, is the youngest aspect of the triune goddess. She was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, as beautiful as spring’s blossoms and as fragrant as its breezes. It was this beauty that inspired Hades to tempt her with a pomegranate, a symbol of eternal marriage. Because she ate the fruit, Persephone spends winter with Hades as his wife and returns to the earth in spring.
To Do Today: Traditionally, on this day the Greeks carried an image of Kore around the temple seven times for victory, protection, and good fortune. Since your home is your sacred space, consider walking clockwise around it seven times with any goddess symbol you have (a round stone, vase, or bowl will suffice). As you go, visualize every nook and cranny being filled with the yellow-white light of dawn, neatly chasing away any lingering winter blues.
This is also Twelfth Night. Customarily, all holiday decorations should be down by now. This day marks winter’s passage and perpetrates Kore’s gusto and luck in your home year-round. Also consider carrying a little unpopped popcorn in your pocket to keep Kore’s zeal and vigor close by for when yo need it.
Saint Distaff’s Day (Europe)
Themes: Work; Weaving Destiny
Symbols: Web; Spinning Wheel; Needle
About Arakhne: Arakhne, the Greek spider goddess, inspires positive change in your destiny for a new year. Legend tells us that Arakhne challenged Athena to a weaving contest and won. In anger, Athena destroyed the girl’s tapestry. Arakhne, grief-stricken, took her destiny in hand and turned herself into a spider, but she continues to use her weaving talents to spin and pattern the lives of mortals.
To Do Today: According to lore, Saint Distaff, the patroness of weaving, was a fictional persona made up to mark the resumption of normal activity after the holidays. Instead of this imaginary figure, we turn to Arakhne to help us take the strands of our fate in hand and begin weaving a year filled with goddess energy.
To direct your spiritual focus towards the goddess, wear something woven today, or display it proudly. If you have no such items, braid together three strands of thread or yarn, saying:
Arakhne, bless this magic braid, so on you my mind is staid.
Carry this as a charm to keep your thoughts and actions goddess-centered.
Finally, mend any work clothes in need of repairs to improve your job standing. As you make the final knot in a button or hem, bind the magic by saying
This thread I wind, the magic bind.
Visualize your professional goals as you work.
Midwives’ Day (Greek Macedonia)
Themes: Birth; Children; Creativity; Flowers
Symbols: A Torch; White Flowers
About Eleithyia: As the Aegean goddess of birth, Eleithyia acts as the midwife to your new year, filling it with creative power. Eleithyia’s name translates as “Fluid of Generation”, giving her strong fertile aspects, and she also has a hand in personal fate.
According to myth, Eleithyia was the midwife of the gods and even birthed Eos, the creative force behind all things. When Eleithyia’s hands were closed, birth was delayed. When Eleithyia opened her body, a child arrived effortlessly.
To Do Today: The ancients honored their midwives today as the goddess’s assistants by giving them gifts. In modern times, time might equate to sending a thank-you note to your physician or pediatrician.
If you want to bring Eleithyia’s fertility to any area of your life this year, try this spell: Gather a handful of white flower petals. Work in an area that somehow represents your goal. If you want a fertile garden, for example, cast this spell in your garden; for fertile ideas, perform it in your study. Visualize your goal as you release all but one petal, turning clockwise to the winds, saying:
The wish of my heart, Eleithyia see,
and bring back to me fertility.
Carry the last petal to help the magic manifest.
League of Nations Day (United States)
Themes: Peace; Cooperation; Reconciliation
Symbols: A Peace Sign; Gates and Entryways
About Eirene: Look to this Greek goddess of peace to get the year off harmoniously with your neighbor and everybody you meet. (E)irene is Zeus’s daughter and one of three Horae who together preside over matters of peace, order, and justice.
To Do Today: In 1920, the League of Nations was founded on this date to encourage harmony between nations. To commemorate this and honor (E)irene, extend the hand of truce to someone with whom you’ve been bickering. Let the energy of this day pour through you to begin healing that situation.
Peace is something that really begins in our own backyards. To generate harmony between at home and in your heart, make this simple (E)irene charm. On a piece of white paper draw a peace sign. Fold this three times, saying:
Order — never cease, justice — release, let there be peace
Put this somewhere safe in your home so Irene’s gentle warmth can fill your words and actions all year. Better still, make two charms and carry one with you to keep the peace in all your interactions!
Wear a white piece of clothing today as a reminder to approach life with peaceful intentions, words and actions.
Themes: Children; Fertility; Foresight; Birth
Symbols: Music; Babies
About Carmenta: Carmenta, the Roman goddess of prophecy and birth, joins in our new year festivities by teaching us the value of preparedness and productivity. The only offerings acceptable to Carmenta are vegetable matter — as a birth goddess, taking life is abhorrent to her.
Her magical, prophetic nature can be seen in Carmenta’s name, specifically in the root word carmen, meaning a spell or charm in the form of a song.
To Do Today: Put on some uplifting music while you get dressed this morning. Let it motivate the resourceful aspect of Carmenta within you for the entire day.
In ancient Rome, today was the second to last day of a five-day-long festival honoring Carmenta. Pregnant women offered her rice for a safe delivery, while those wishing to have children ate raspberries to internalize her fertility. Try either of these to prompt the successful completion of a project or to improve your physical, emotional, or spiritual fertility.
Feast of Vesta (Rome)
Themes: Home; Love; Fertility; Peace
Symbols: Fire; Donkey; Veils
About Vesta: In Roman mythology, Vesta is a part of every fire. As such, Vesta commands the sacred fires of the hearth, the heart of spiritual and emotional stability in your home. Today was one of her sacred days, Christianized as the Feast of the Ass, which is a sacred animal to her. Traditional offerings for Vesta include homemade bread and salt cakes.
In works of art, Vesta was never shown directly but always depicted her in veils, possibly to honor her importance in Roman society. The vestal priestess was one of the few people considered suited to negotiating peace during war threats.
To Do Today: The first month of the year is a good time to think about the spiritual warmth in your living space. Ask Vesta to kindle those fires anew. Do this by lighting any fire source you have handy — a match, a candle, the oven, a pilot light (temple of athena note: I have a woodburning stove now, so this is easy!) — or alternately, just turn on a light as a symbolic fire. Be sure to keep this lit all day. When a fire goes out on Vesta’s day, it’s considered a bad omen, indicative of love being lost.
To encourage peace on any battleground you’re facing this year, light a white candle (the color of truce) and put it in a window to invite Vesta’s presence (being sure it’s safe to do so, of course). Then take a piece of bread outside, breaking into small bits so the birds can carry your wish of harmony across the earth.
Roman Planting Festival (Rome)
Themes: Fertility; Earth; Harvest; Growth
Symbols: Grains; Poppies; Bread
About Ceres: Ceres, the Roman Goddess of corn, returns our attention t the land today to begin preparing for spring’s attention to the land today to begin preparing for spring’s crop plantings. At the same time, Ceres reminds us to plant some figurative seeds of character now so they will mature throughout the year. Ceres’s name translates as “to create”. Ceres is truly the creator and mistress of our morning fast table, having lent her name to modern breakfast cereals, which shows her affliction with essential food crops.
To Do Today: For growing energy and earth awareness, eat any grain-based food today. Ideal choices include corn bread, corn flakes, puffed wheat, buttered corn, or corn chowder.
If you’re a gardener, or even if you just enjoy a few houseplants, today is the perfect time to tend the soil. The Romans took time out from their other duties and spent an entire week around this date blessing the land. They invoked Ceres as the essential vegetable spirit for aid after the seeds were laid into the ground.
While we may not be able to spend a week doing likewise, a few minutes of caring for the earth is well worth the time. Put any seeds you plan to plant on an altar or in another special spot. Visualize a yellow-golden light filling and fertilizing them. Leave them here to absorb Ceres’s energy until your traditional planting season begins.
Hikuli Dance (Mexico)
Themes: Abundance; Protection; Cycles; Magic
Symbols: Spiders; Woven Items
About Spider Woman: Spider Woman appears in the myths of the southwestern Native Americans as a resourceful helper who spins magical charms and each person’s fate. No matter what problems or obstacles you face, Spider Woman creates the right network of energy to put you on the road toward accomplishment.
To Do Today: In metaphysical traditions, all life is seen as a network within which each individual is one strand. Spider Woman reveals the power and purpose of each strand psychically and keeps you aware of those important connections in your life. To augment this, get a Native American dream catcher, which looks like a web, and hang it over your bed so Spider Woman can reveal her lessons while you sleep. Or, carry a woven item with you today. It will strengthen your relationship with this ancient helpmate and extend positive energy for success in all you do.
In Mexico, the Native Americans performs the Hikuli dance today, searching out peyote for their religious rites. As part of this ceremony, worshipers dance to reach altered states of awareness, honor the ancestors, and help crops to grow. So, if your schedule allows, put on some music and boogie! Visualize a web as you move, and empower your future path with the sacred energies of Spider Woman’s dance.
Festival of Pax (Rome)
Symbols: White Items; Corn; Cornucopia; Olive Branch
About Pax: Pax is the Roman goddess of peace; she urges us to keep harmony among one another as a sacred commodity throughout the year. On coins, Pax appears youthful and often bears an olive branch to extend the hand of truce or a cornucopia, indicating that there is an abundance of peace for those who truly seek it.
To Do Today: Remember Pax by wearing or carrying something white today and offering to make amends with someone with whom you’ve had an argument.
Alternatively, make a funnel from a piece of white paper (like a cornucopia). Leave this somewhere predominant. Each time you have an angry or discordant thought, toss a coin into the funnel. At the end of the day donate these coins (plus a few dollars) to a charity that promotes peace.
Roman custom dictated that the images of all leaders were to be placed at Pax’s feet on this day, as if to invoke her amicable energy in their interactions. This isn’t a bad idea for modern leader, either! Take any pictures you have of world leaders (check newspapers and magazines). If you can’t find pictures, write their names on white paper instead. Put these in a pile before a white candle. As you light the candle, say,
Pax, let peace fill their hearts.
Let all hatred depart.
Peace be between me and thee, and all those I meet.
Themes: Divination; Protection; Purification
Symbols: Candles; Corn; Pomegranate
About Proserpina: In ancient Roman mythology, Ceres (an earth and vegetation goddess) sought out her daughter, Proserpina, in the underworld where Hades held her captive. During this time nothing grew on the earth. As she searched, Ceres illuminated the darkness of Hades’ realm with candles (see also January 6 and January 27). Symbolically, this indicates a time of soul-searching, of finding any dark corners in our spiritual lives and filling them with purity and light. In works of art, Proserpina is depicted as a young, lovely corn goddess. In Greek stories she’s known as Persephone.
To Do Today: In magical traditions, people light candles in the Yule log today, giving strength to the sun and chasing away some of the figurative dark clouds that winter left behind. If candles aren’t prudent, turn on every light in the house for a few minutes for a similar effect. Do not burn the Yule log, however; keeping it intact protects your home from mischief.
Another traditional activity for Candlemas is weather divination, which we commonly recognize on this day as Groundhog Day. So, get up and look out the window! Poor weather portends a beautiful spring and mild, enjoyable summer. Snow today foretells twelve more snowfalls before April 22 (Saint George’s Eve).”