MARA is the ancient Ukrainian winter goddess associated with winter’s death, rebirth (and dreams). In ancient Slavic rites, the death of Mara at the end of Winter gives rise to the rebirth of Spring. Despite this relatively benign process of nature, Mara is primarily a frightening figure, the agent of death.
In some stories, Mara is depicted as “a destroying fate-goddess who rides the night winds and drinks the blood of men. She is the ‘mare’ in the word ‘nightmare’, described as a monstrous hag squatting upon the breast, mute, motionless, and malignant, an incarnation of the evil spirit whose intolerable weight crushes the breath out of the body” (1).
Mara is known as Marzanna in Poland; More in Lithuania; Marena in Russian; and Morana in several other Slavic countries.
Macnish, Robert. The Philosophy of Sleep. Glasgow: W. R. McPhun, 1830.
”Kali is a girl’s girl – a fire eater, who has chosen to walk barefoot along the path of freedom. She’s the festival girl you admire, a fire dancer, twirling her blazing baton, beneath the stars. Now you see her, now you don’t, flames swooshing, music pulsing, back to dark. Arms spinning, gyrating hips, fleetingly illuminated by a corolla of flames, ‘revolutions’ of defiance and ecstasy, as the Milky Way passes overhead. Then back to black! Kali’s Eternal Dance, represented by a skirt of many arms, is energy in motion.
Just as the Earth spins on Her axis, Kali’s Eternal Dance is in constant motion. Movement shifts blocked emotion. Close your eyes and sway to the healing rhythm of the universe. Seek your ecstatic frequency in the primordial Shakti, the divine female energy, where the inconceivably violent forces of creation reside. Kali is never still. She is destroyer and creator; apocalypse and genesis; decay and birth; blood bath and incubator. Her medicine is deeply rooted in the cosmic cycles of death, birth, rebirth. Every woman holds patriarchal trauma somewhere in her body, so Kali urges us to let go, have fun, move our bodies, shake our hips and feel sensation. Undulate, jiggle, twerk, do restorative yoga. Find ‘flow’ to raise vibration and thaw emotion. Emotion in motion!” -Claire Dorey, from her essay, ”Revolutions of Defiant Ecstasy: Stealing Kali and Goddess Wisdom From the Primordial Wave of Feminism” in the upcoming anthology, Re-Membering with Goddess: Healing the Patriarchal Perpetuation of Trauma
If you have an ancient ancestor from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Britain, or any Celtic (Gaelic or Brythonic) stronghold, chances are that they paid homage to Brigid.
Brigid — also known as Brigantia, Brid, Bride, Briginda, Brigdu, and Brigit — is of the Tuatha Dé Dannan (people of the goddess Dannan/Danu), and is daughter of the Morrigan and the Dagda (the good god).
Brigid : 🕯wakes the winter earth,💧thaws and hallows the frozen streams and holy wells, 🤍heals and blesses all, 🐑 acts as midwife to those in labor,🥛 aides lactation, 🙏🏼 protects infants and children, ✨presides over poets, artists, smith-craft, seafarers, domestic affairs, 🔥and offers us her sacred flame.
🔥The flame of creativity that brings forth poetry, music, and all art
🔥The flame in the head that enlightens, inspires and motivates
🔥The flame of the forge, that shapes and transforms
🔥The flame of healing in the hearth, hands and heart
🔥The flame of the strengthening sun and the waking earth
🔸How might you find the flame within?
🔸How might you tend and nourish your own flame?
🔸What is Brigid’s message to you?
🔸How might you walk with Brigid and share your flame?
“Brigit of the mantles, Brigit of the peat-heap, Brigit of the twining hair, Brigit of the augury.
Brigit of the fire glow Brigit of the ewe’s milk Brigit of the holy well Brigit of the candlelight Brigit of the white feet, Brigit of the calmness, Brigit of the white palms, Brigit of the kine.
Brigit, woman-comrade, Brigit of the peat-heap, Brigit, woman-helper, Brigit, woman mild.
Brigit, own tress of Mary, Brigit, Nurse of Christ, Each day and each night That I say the Descent of Brigit,
I shall not be slain, I shall not be wounded I shall not be put in cell, I shall not be gashed, I shall not be torn asunder, I shall not be despoiled I shall not be down-trodden I shall not be made naked, I shall not be rent Nor will Christ Leave me forgotten
Nor sun shall burn me, Nor fire shall burn me, Nor beam shall burn me, Nor moon shall burn me.
Nor river shall drown me, Nor brine shall drown me, Nor flood shall drown me, Nor water shall drown me.
Nightmare shall not lie on me, Black sleep shall not lie on me Spell sleep shall not lie on me, “Luaths-luis” shall not lie on me.
I am under the keeping Of my Goddess My companion, beloved Brigit.”
From Helen O’Sullivan: “This warm, passionate and fiery ancient Irish Goddess is so much needed to break free from the Winter months and to start new and fresh. I love the spirit of this Goddess. I love her compassion and her passion. She is beyond 3 dimensional which is probably why I painted her more than once. She just kept returning in a different form in my mind and I needed to find a way to express that energy in a way that meant something to me. This painting is one of 3 that I have done for her. Prints in various sizes are available on my website – http://www.helenosullivan.com/artist/ “
Mother, goddess, show me the secrets of my heart. Show me where I have wandered off my path. Show me how to find my path again. Fly before me, illuminating my path. Fly before me showing me the broad road into my best future. Show me the way! Prepare the way for my searching feet! O mother of light, you who dwell in the south on nine wooded hills, O show me the way!
~ Siberian Shaman Prayer (from The Goddess Companion by Patricia Monaghan)
Berchta, goddess of the slender birch, Lady, young and old, free from all blame, She whom jealous men renamed, “Perchta,” and demonized, diminished and defamed into a hungry belly-slitting hag — Upon this twelfth night you will rise again.
Your younger sister, Holle, Dwells mid-land and shakes her feather bed to bring the snow. She shares with you those aspects known to each — spinning wheels, and wells, and winter’s flow.
Your watch is in the southern Alpine clime, and there you guide the children gone too soon, with gleaming threads thrown from your spindle bright; with warp and woof cast from your shining loom.
Mother’s grieving hearts you comfort well. With visions and with whispers you assure, that their loved babes are shielded from harm; held safe within your tender power and care.
Women, you protect and oversee in household tasks, in spinning and in lore, reproving those who sometimes lax may be, rewarding diligence and industry.
Shapeshifter, with one foot of a bird, you walk, attended by both goose and swan. Through the pale birch wood oftentimes you glide, wearing a cape of softest feathered down.
And further on down through the years of time, the children’s stories you will keep and tell with rhyming wisdom to delight their hearts — the Mother Goose, of whom we know so well.
And in the wild procession of the gods across midwinter’s darkest midnight sky, you ride, a psychopomp, to all lost souls who with you, in the wild hunt fly by.
On this twelfth night of our Yuletide on this night of illumed epiphany, we think of you, as one, remembering Bright Berchta — and your true identity.
That is because she’s ignited a sacred fire inside her that holds the fire of the sun. It’s burning to ashes all that is untrue in her life.
No one else but she herself can now shine the light to who she’s becoming. She’s always looked for mentors and idols to emulate. Not any more.
She’s evolving into a woman who is unique. No one in her world really fits the template for who she is becoming. Her path is singular, specially laid out for her. She’s realising that at this time she has to fall back on herself to mould, forge and craft her new self.
She did have heroines and heroes in her life, but the more she’s maturing, the more she’s acknowledging her own awesomeness. This is new for her, re-creating herself from her own example. Her work with ending the cycle of victimhood and coming into a deep honouring of herself, is birthing this new being. This time round, her imagination is powerfully by her side, showing her who she truly is.
She’s living in times of transition, and she’s excitedly stepping into this unfamiliar journey that is beyond standards, beyond regular & normal. Even beyond ideal. If she needs a teacher or mentor now, she’s choosing the one who will teach her how to tend her own sacred fire.
The key to owning all of herself, is to be her own source.
She’s remembering the art of reincarnating in the same body.
The more she stands in her own singularity, the better she fits into her world.
“[the] word for dakini in Tibetan is khandro, which means ‘she who moves through space,’ sometimes called a ‘sky dancer’ or a ‘sky goer’; this refers to the energy that integrates itself with emptiness — not emptiness in the sense of an empty pocket or empty cup, but the emptiness of self or emptiness of ego. It’s the feminine energy that penetrates into emptiness, moving through it, a messenger of it. The dakinis thus became messengers of wisdom, embodiments of wisdom, and energies that practitioners could invoke and with whom they could create a positive relationship.”
~ Lama Tsultrim Allione, from her book Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine
”In the U.K., another significant Medusa sculpture has been unveiled at the same time. The British sculptor Susie MacMurray’s “Medusa,” showing at the Pangolin Gallery in London, features a handmade copper chainmail dress fitted all the way down, before devolving into a serpentine fringed bottom. The piece took eight months to make, and she was assisted by a group of art students. “I wanted her to be Amazonian in presence,” MacMurray told The Daily Beast of her Medusa. “I didn’t want her to be the idealized Barbie playing to the problematic gaze. She’s so strong, the male gaze gets reflected back… I wanted her to be voluptuous. It’s quite important to me that she wasn’t a size zero. She’s a size 16. I think she’s quite noble.” Though the Argentine-Italian Garbati completed his artwork in 2008, it went viral 10 years later after #MeToo galvanized women from all industries to call for greater attention to issues of workplace misconduct and sexual violence.” https://www.thedailybeast.com/medusa-is-back-standing-tall-and-complicated-in-the-metoo-era?via=twitter_page