#4 Goddess Connections ~ Cerridwen, Copia, Cybele, Demeter, Eostre

Cerridwen
Her Story:
Cerridwen is the Welsh goddess who is most noted for her cauldron of transformation.  She brews potions for divine inspiration and wisdom; and from the depths of this cauldron, all womankind will benefit.  She also has the ability to disperse justice with a cold eye to mercy.  Cerridwen is the ultimate Queen of shape-shifting, transforming herself to meet the need, to confront a challenge, to survive a confrontation, able to render herself unrecognizable to an enemy.

One of the triple goddesses, Cerridwen is the Crone aspect, sharing the pedestal with her counterparts: Blodeuwedd (the Maiden) and Arianrhod (the Mother).  She is a goddess of the moon, ruling prophecy, as well as the powers of death and rebirth.
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A woman’s life is in a constant state of transformation.  From the moment we leave the womb we begin our journey through this mortal experience as someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s wife, someone’s mother.  But in the course of this journey, when does the time come to shed all these titles and to discover the inner woman, who we really are, without the burden of other people’s expectations?  And how are women able to transition within these roles without losing their sense of identity completely?

This is where the energy of Cerridwen comes into play.  We can learn
from this goddess the secrets of complete transition; temporary transition; and transitions that are necessary for our survival; transitions that give us an advantage over an adversary, advantages over our own self-doubt, as well as the tools and expertise to take on new roles with confidence and success.

Embracing the Goddess:
Invoke Cerridwen when you are challenged by life’s varied roles, when
you need special skills and talents to maneuver through an experience.  Invoke this goddess when the desire within you for transformation is so powerful it cannot be ignored.

Cerridwen’s Correspondences:
Herbs: gardenia, lily, lotus, moonwort, poppy
Animal: white sow
Color: blue, silver
Planet: Moon
Day: Monday
Element: Water
Feminine Face: Crone.
Symbol: the cauldron

Copia
Her Story:
Copia is a Roman goddess of abundance, wealth, and the harvest.  She’s often depicted carrying a Horn of Plenty, known as a “cornucopia”, filled with the bounty of the earth:  grains and fruit.  This goddess is celebrated with offerings of wine and food.  The “Goddess of Plenty”, she embraces abundance with enthusiasm.
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In theory, everyone living in this nice shiny modern world should be rolling in plenty– plenty of food and clothes, and baubles and bling, plenty of opportunities for good health care, a nice home, a good education; but that is not the case.  Our world is still steeped in the “haves” and the “have-nots”.  There are still serious issues that women of the world are facing, and it’s time for women of the world to unite and even things out a bit.

Below are a variety of charities to think about.  If you want to make a difference closer to home, consider starting a local charity in your neck of the woods…Women (and the Goddess) can make a difference:

1. Violence
V-Day:
93% of funding goes to programs
Active in 81 countries, V-Day works to end violence against women and girls. Its hallmark? The Vagina Monologues, put on by volunteers to raise funds for local antiviolence groups. In countries where shows aren’t possible, V-Day gives grants for programs– such as the V-Day Safe House in Kenya, which helps girls escape female genital mutilation. V-Day has raised over $30 million in eight years.
vday.org

2. Children
Save the Children:
90% of funding goes to programs
Ten million children under 5 die each year, including 4 million newborns. A critical goal of Save the Children?– saving the lives of these infants in 18 of the world’s poorest countries by providing infant vaccinations and health care for pregnant women. Sponsor a child for $28 a month, or earmark your dollars for initiatives, like educating girls or providing microloans for women. Celeb moms Debra Messing, Courteney Cox, and Maria Bello showed their support through an eBay auction to benefit this nonprofit organization.
savethechildren.org

3.  Women’s Fund
Women’s Funding Network:
85% of funding goes to programs
Looking to help women but not sure where to give? Consider WFN, a coalition of private and community foundations around the world. In the past 20 years, its 115 funds have given more than $200 million to a wide variety of women’s and girls’ organizations. How does it work? As with a mutual fund, you designate your money for the fund of your choice, then that fund distributes grants to smaller nonprofits. The best perk? WFN monitors each fund, so you don’t have to.
fundforward.org

4.  Workplace
National Partnership for Women and Families:
86% of funding goes to programs
Sexually harassed at work? Afraid you’ll lose your job because you’re pregnant? There are now laws to protect you, thanks in part to the National Partnership. This group has fought for every major policy advancement that has helped women and families in the past three decades. The group fights for national legislation but can help individuals find resources needed for their own battles.
nationalpartnership.org

Embracing the Goddess:
It was drummed into my head throughout Catholic parochial school the concept of poverty as a positive and spiritually uplifting state.  Quite frankly, I don’t find anything about poverty uplifting.  It represents a constant struggle for survival, a constant struggle to take care of your children, to keep a home, to live a life with dignity and joy.  Quite frankly, poverty sucks, and I don’t find one thing about it desirable or admirable in any way.

Neither would Copia.

Invoke this goddess and call upon her for the energy of abundance and fertility, wealth and hedonistic delight.  Honor the goddess spirit in you that claims your right to all the good things in life.

Copia’s Correspondences:
Herbs: oleander, patchouli, wheat, oats
Animal: hamster, packrat, squirrel
Color: green, brown
Planet: earth
Day: all seven
Element: Earth
Feminine Face: Mother
Symbol: cornucopia (Horn of Plenty)

Cybele
Her Story:
Cybele is a Roman goddess, “Mother to the Gods”, and the patron goddess of transsexuals and transgendered individuals, particularly males.  Her ancient followers were ritually castrated transsexuals.  She is the goddess of nature and fertility, presiding over caves and mountaintops.  Cybele protects city dwellers from invaders and war.

When her husband, Attis, was castrated and died of his wounds, it was Cybele who resurrected him.  She was celebrated with wild festivals of music and dancing, unabashed pagan enthusiasm, and orgies.
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The goddess Cybele brings to me one word:  tolerance.

If tolerance is to manifest in the world, it must be accompanied by education, understanding, empathy, and love.  A human being’s sexuality and spirituality are two things that cannot be cubby-holed.  Our western culture, modern as we like to think we are, is severely restrained and judgemental in both of these departments, particularly in certain areas of the United States, and absolutely in certain mid-Eastern countries.

It’s okay to be gay, it’s okay to be transgendered, transexual, or any other sexual orientation.  It’s okay to be Pagan, it’s okay to follow natural earth-based religions, or indigineous forms of spirituality, or to follow nothing at all.  It’s okay not to be Chrisitian (or Jewish, or Muslim).  It’s okay not to be straight.

It’s all okay…really, it is.

People are terrified and paniced by something that they don’t understand, or something that they mis-understand.  They are cirflumexed by anything that is different, or anything that they have been conditioned to view as wrong or evil.  It’s time to shine a light on the world and accept every individual as a unique and glorious being.

Embracing the Goddess:
As Cybele protected ancient cities from the onslaught of invasion and destruction from enemies, so she can be invoked today to protect our metropolitan areas from the threat of terrorists.  Invoke this goddess and take advantage of her power to shield us from terrorist attacks.

For those people living in the world as transsexuals or transgendered individuals, this is the goddess to call upon for protection and for the celebration of your unique individuality and the ability to live your life true to yourself, in peace and harmony with the rest of the world.

Cybele’s Correspondences:
Herbs: hemp, pansy, skullcap, lady’s slipper
Animal: chameleon
Color: black, rainbow
Planet: Saturn
Day: Saturday
Element: Earth
Feminine Face: Mother
Symbol: mountains, rainbows, the peace sign

Demeter
Her Story:
Demeter is the Greek goddess of the harvest, considered “Mother of the Harvest”.  This agricultural goddess, credited for bringing the knowledge of plowing and sowing to the world, heralds a return to the growing season as her myth implies:  She ventures into the underworld to rescue her daughter, Persephone, bringing springtime growth and fertility back to the land.

Demeter is especially sensitive to those who are experiencing suffering and grief, and she will assuage these afflictions when called upon to do so.  She is one of the triple goddesses, sharing the triad with Persephone (the Maiden) and Hecate (the Crone).
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As I’m writing this, it’s springtime, and ironically I’m getting ready to plant my annuals– herbs, and vegetables, and those stalwart staples like petunias and pansies and marigolds.  If you’re planning a garden, or if you’d like to add some magic to your garden in the form of herbs and greenery, here’s a list of three plants that I’m going to be purchasing in the coming week:

Lavender
Gender: masculine (or projective)
Planet: Mercury
Element: Air
Magickal Energies: love, sleep, romance, purification, destressing, communication, enhancment of creative energy

I most often use lavender in mojo bags and poppets aimed at romance; for mojo bags kept beneath pillows to enhance sleep; for candle spells to remove negative and stressful energies from an individual, from a set of circumstances, or from a particular space. Burn a yellow candle dressed in Witch’s Oil and rolled in crushed lavender before beginning a project connected with communication, such as a writing project or assignment, or a personal letter. Keep a bowl of lavender by the computer for this same magickal enhancement, because this is an area that is engulfed in the energy and act of communicating with others. Finally, at the end of the day, drop a sprig or two in your bathwater to destress, to find peace and comfort, to shed the energies of all those people with whom you’ve come in contact with all day long.

Rosemary
Gender: masculine (or projective)
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Magickal Energies: protection, cleansing, purification, exorcism, healing, beauty/youth

I use rosemary for cleansing a space of unwanted negative energy. You can add it to the water you’re going to use to scrub the floor; burn it, using the smoke to magickally smudge an area; hang dried bunches of the plant in the four corners of a room, over the threshold of doorways, or above the windows. I’ve made a tincture of rosemary to use as an astringent for my face:  I took a nice size bottle, filled it with spring water, added a pretty sprig of rosemary and let it sit and seep overnight, in the moonlight. The next day you can remove the sprig of rosemary, though I chose to leave mine in the bottle, and refrigerate. To apply it, just pour a little on a cotton-ball and use it to wipe down your face after you’ve washed your face as usual to remove makeup. Not only is the rosemary good for your complexion, you are tapping into the magickal energy of this herb to preserve the appearance of youth and beauty.

Embracing the Goddess:
In the throes of suffering, when your world is at its bleakest, remember that there is a divine presence who can help you weather this difficult period in your life.  Call upon this goddess to sustain you, to support you, to carry you when you’re too worn out by life to walk the path.

Demeter is the patron goddess of my garden, bringing her energy of fertility and agricultural growth and abundance to my sacred outdoor spaces.  Leave an offering of grain or fruit for the wild things, knowing that this goddess will be drawn to this offering and your space as well.

Demeter’s Correspondences:
Herbs:  grains/oats, barley, wheat
Animal:  burrowing animals that awaken with spring
Color:  green
Planet:  Earth (Gaia)
Day:  all seven
Element:  Earth
Feminine Face: Mother
Symbol:  cornucopia filled with fruits and grain

Eostre
Her Story:
Eostre, sometimes called Ostara, is a Saxon/Germanic goddess of Spring.  “Eostre” is an ancient word meaning “spring”.  This goddess celebrates the spring equinox, the beginning of this season, and a return of fertility to the world.  The Christians high-jacked Eostre’s festival to celebrate the resurrection of their Christ, along with her symbols of rejuvenation and fertility:  the hare and the egg.

It’s interesting to note that the date of the Christian holiday of Easter moves every year.  It always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.  There is no escaping our pagan roots.
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Just as Christ and Buddha and Mohammed, and all the other gurus of enlightment and spirituality, grasp the hand of their initiates and lead them onto the path of their philosophy, so too does the goddess Eostre.  She will lead you to the threshold of rejuvination, allowing perhaps one backward glance to see where you’ve come from so you will appreciate where you’re going to.  She will forge new cobbled roads of life, with plenty of sights to see and interesting places to stop.  She will cast a fertile shadow on your ambitions, allowing you to acheive more than you dreamed possible.

Eostre is galvanizing positive energy.  She is birth (spring) after you’ve experienced death (winter).  She is the epitome of what all human beings need to sustain themselves.

Eostre is hope.

Embracing the Goddess:
Just as spring returns to the earth out of the depths of winter, along with light and fertility, so too can we rise from the depths of despair and the dark places to enter the world of light and promise.  Call upon Eostre when you need assistance leaving darkness and adversity behind; she’ll gladly take you by the hand and lead you into the light.

Eostre’s Correspondences:
Herbs:  springtime flowers, flowers with yellow,
pink, and blue blossoms
Animal:  hare
Color:  yellow, pink, blue
Planet:  Earth
Day:  all seven
Element:  Earth
Feminine Face:  Maiden
Symbol:  decorated eggs

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