This month in the Embracing Shakti Temple our featured embodiment of the Divine Feminine is the Black Madonna – a representation of the Great Mother archetype. The Black Madonna has been one of the most mysterious and controversial religious icons for centuries. Dating to mostly the medieval period, she usually appears in the form of paintings or carvings. While some say she is just another Virgin Mary carved from black wood, others think it is soot on her skin from the smoke of a thousand candles. However, there is speculation that goes much deeper than that.
While there are hundreds of Black Madonnas in churches and museums throughout Europe and Latin America, some scholars say she is linked to religions that existed long before Christianity. Her shrines are often in locations that were once pagan holy grounds for Diana, Artemis, Cybele and Isis. Even further back, she may represent the archetypal Earth Mother, Gaia, the ancient, eternal power of the feminine force, creator of all life, who gives birth, nourishes and feeds us all, and to whom we shall return to when we die. However depicted, or where she came from, there is no doubt that she conveys a sense of depth and mystery.
If you would like to evoke the energy of the Black Madonna to connect to power of transformation, here are a few suggestions:
- To honour new birth that comes with Spring, plant a favourite flower in Black Madonna’s name. If you’d like to take this one step further, decorate the pot and create a shrine to her around it.
- Black Madonna reminds us that we cannot rule over nature and constantly recycles all things. What can you recycle to do your part to help our environment? Bottles, paper, electronics … go through your home to see what you can purge and reprocess.
- The Great Mother embraces all things creative! How do you see the Black Madonna? Why not paint, carve or create your own depiction of her?
This month in the Embracing Shakti Temple our featured embodiment of the Divine Feminine is Coventina, the Celtic Goddess of purification, wells and new beginnings. Although it seems much knowledge has been lost about this goddess, what we do know is that it is said she protected sacred water sources and enriched water with clarity, virtue and the capacity to answer our heart’s desires. There is a water temple dedicated to Coventina at Carrawburgh on the Northumbrian Moors near Hadrian’s Wall, dated at around CE 130. More than 13,000 coins were discovered in this well when it was excavated a century ago.
Because of her relationship to water, Coventina can swim into the layers of consciousness and help with inspiration, psychic abilities, dreams, and intentions. She helps us wash away what no longer serves us and helps provide a spiritual baptism to purify and cleanse and relieve us of worries and judgments. From this place, we are able to step into new beginnings.
If you would like to evoke the energy of Coventina to connect to her magic and power, here are a few suggestions:
- Ever made a wish by throwing a coin in a fountain? This may have come from worshiping Coventina. Most of us don’t have a fountain nearby to wish on, so if you don’t, create a water space on your altar, and before you make an offering of coin or jewelry, silently ask Coventina to grant your desire.
- Start your year off right with a purification bath! Fill your tub, add your favourite flowers and herbs and light some candles and incense. Invoke Coventina to purify your body to start 2020 off fresh. Repeat whenever you feel you need a new start!
- Lots of people begin the new year with detoxing diets … but something often overlooked is detoxing of the mind. Can you make it an entire month with positive thoughts and speech? If a month seems too daunting, start with a day (or even an hour!), then try a week and build your way up.
This month in the Embracing Shakti Temple our featured embodiment of the Divine Feminine is Sedna, the Inuit Goddess of the sea and shadow. She represents thankfulness, providence, nature and abundance. The mother of the sea, Sedna origin story is quite tragic and she became a very important figure in Inuit mythology as the provider of nourishment for both the body and soul.
Sedna also represents our capacity to discover what is in the unconscious. When we dive down into the depths of our inner ocean, we often find a hidden treasure, beneath the debris that we have accumulated inside. By exploring our own inner shadow land, we can discover and reintegrate precious aspects of ourselves. We can become Sedna’s of our own inner ocean.
If you would like to evoke the energy of Sedna to connect to her magic and power, here are a few suggestions:
- The next time you are experiencing deep, big, uncomfortable emotions, instead of dissociating from them or chastising yourself for having them, can you pause and take a few deep breaths? Then allow yourself to feel everything exactly as it is and notice what is below the surface of the emotion. Go into the depths of your experience and just witness what is there. Something powerful might be waiting to be discovered.
- Take a walk beside a body of water and think about everything you are thankful for, as this is one of Sedna’s themes. Bonus points if you can help pick up trash along this walk to show your gratitude for all the gifts that Sedna and wild, flowing water provides.
- Create an altar to Sedna using dark blue to represent the ocean, decorate it with sea shells and Lapis Lazuli, burn Jasmine incense (this scent corresponds to water) and even place a bowl of salt water upon it. As an offering of comfort, you may also want to bring a comb for Sedna’s hair. Meditate at your altar during the full moon, as the water element flows from this lunar division. Be open to her messages, as she may challenge you to embrace your inner self and aspects from within that you normally might ignore.
This month in the Embracing Shakti Temple our featured embodiment of the Divine Feminine is Freyja, the Norse Goddess of the passion and sex. Considered to be the “it girl” of the Aesir Gods, she knew how to party! Loki the trickster god accused her of sleeping with all of the gods and elves and while this was probably true (she was all about pleasure seeking) she has a lot of other powerful credentials.
Freyja is a woman who owns her own sexuality, and loves as SHE chooses, not as others would tell her she must.
Freyja is the patron goddess of Norse magic, chief of the Valkyries and carer of the heroic and noble dead. A lover of travel, she would sometimes take a ride in her chariot pulled by two cats. The pagan festival Beltane is held in her honour, along with “Winter Nights” October 14-15th for what is known as Freyja’s Feast, which marks the end of the harvest, and brings focus to the bounty by honouring her.
If you would like to evoke the energy of Freyja to connect to her magic and power, here are a few suggestions:
Cultivating a peaceful and loving relationship with yourself, helps your abundance flow. Every day for a week, take a post-it note and write one thing you love about yourself on it. Put it in random places throughout your house, like a mirror, fridge, etc., so you continue to see these messages of self love.
Erotic poetry and art in the form of an offering to Freyja has been said to assist many with finding acceptance within ourselves and others for whatever form of sexuality we identify with. Pull out your pens, paper, paints and create whatever comes to mind!
30 day masturbation challenge!! Before you cringe, realize that regularly masturbating can vastly improve your relationship to your body, increase your orgasmic potential, help you develop better confidence, decrease stress, support healthier societal attitudes about female pleasure … and it just feels so good! No shame allowed here! Can you do it for 30 days in a row?
Is Freyja a goddess that you feel a special association with? Do you have a practice that connects you to her mysteries? Please head over to my Facebook page and post away!
This month in the Embracing Shakti Temple our featured embodiment of the Divine Feminine is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess of Magic, Motherhood and Healing. Known as a healer, physician, enchantress, magician, patron of women in childbirth, mother and devoted wife, Isis is referred to as Goddess of 10,000 names, and her temples lined the Nile in Upper Egypt for more than 800 years.
She was the first daughter of Geb, god of the earth, and Nut, goddess of the sky. The core of the Isis myth is the story of her relationship with her divine consort and brother Osiris. They represented the sacred couple, the divine marriage.
Osiris was killed by their jealous brother Set and his body parts scattered all over the earth. Isis searched tirelessly to find all of the pieces of his body in theform of a vulture. She then uses her sexual energy to bring Osiris back to life and at the same time conceived their son, the hawk headed god Horus.
She had an eternal relationship with her beloved Osiris – her brother, husband, lover and co-ruler — and they shared the same soul, he as the King of the Underworld and she the Queen of Heaven. The story of Isis going to rescue her husband and creating the transformative journey of the soul became an important story of the mysteries and is thought to have influenced other religions.
Here are some suggestions to evoke the energy of Isis so that you too may connect to her magic and power:
- Isis was a winged goddess and motherly protector of women. Hang a feather in your window to remind you of her protective wings. Ask her to look out for you.
- Before going to sleep, call on Isis’s healing and creative forces to enter your dreams. The astral realm is truly the best time and place to accept any wisdom or lessons she has to offer you.
- When was the last time you talked to your mother? In person or on the phone … NOT through text message? Reach out to the one who gave you life and thank her for everything she has done for you. If your loved one is no longer alive or not a part of your life, reach out and thank a woman who has made a difference for you.
How does Isis’s story inspire you? Do you have another practice that connects you to her mysteries? Please head over to my Facebook page and post away!
PS. Does this theme resonate with you? Every month in the Embracing Shakti Temple we feature a different goddess from around the world and learn from her through ceremony, embodiment practices, drum journeys, and deeply connected conversation and support. Our Temple helps womxyn channel the Feminine as a transmission of embodied presence in our daily lives. Doors open again for only 4 days on September 23rd. To find out more and get on the waitlist, click HERE.