My jaw DROPPED when I saw the words to "Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda." In no uncertain terms, these songs directly invoke Hindu deities from a Hindu scripture and implore them for help.
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Portable Shrines: Mobile Shrines and Altars
I spent a significant portion of my recent life living in a van, nomadic and driving as far and as often as fuel prices and weather permitted throughout the American Northeast. It was an interesting (and cold, wintery) time, and one born of circumstance, calamity, and character-testing chance. Amongst other things, it challenged my devotional practices, ritual observances and prayer cycles, which for years leading up to that were satisfied in a full-time dedicated Temple. In these months, I learned mobile and slimmed-down tactics, adapted from previously developed short-term tricks for traveling and engaging devotionally in the wilds. Not all religious practices are easily made to move about in small-form. Yesterday, on a social media site, a co-religionist of mine posted an open question to the community, asking about suggestions for and experiences with altar boxes of a portable, easily stowed variety. Below is my (hopefully somewhat helpful) reply, which I share here in case it is of use to others....
The New Moon pulls me from sleep. I come into consciousness to the sound of rain outside my bedroom window. We are in a drought here in California and although it is two-thirty in the morning, I find my thirsty self wandering downstairs and out the back door to stand naked in the Dark Moon night, grateful for soft rain falling on my body. I feel it touch me as it makes its way to The Earth. It is not a hard rain, the softness of it are tiny kisses on my upturned face. I kiss it back and delight in the moisture. Everything around me does the same, tiny wet kisses for the thirsty dirt and parched roses.
For our Earthy Thursday feed today, we have five stories (and one lovely photo) about Gaia, our lovely planet and Earth goddess. A double rainbow; a deadly garden; rooftop gardening; butterfly conservation; climate change evolution; and small farm families.
Had to share this great double rainbow photo from a sacred place of polytheist interest....
My initial entry to the goddess path began with a deep intellectual bent; I soaked up myths and studied archetypes like crazy, waiting until the day when I was ready to talk to goddesses on a more tangible, personal level. Because I’ve always been a bit of a myth junkie, and because I’m a scholar at heart, I jumped at the chance to read the late Patricia Monaghan’s revised and re-released Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, published by New World Library. The book didn’t disappoint my thirst for information.
This large tome differs from Monaghan’s out of print title The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines in both its structure and its scope. Echoing Merlin Stone’s Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood, the Encyclopedia is arranged by continental region, with sections on Africa, Eastern Mediterranean, Asia and Oceania, Europe, and the Americas. Each section begins with a brief overview of cultural and historical information about the region in question, and as can be imagined, the regional sections are subdivided for clarity (and to offer more specific information about, say the Egyptian tradition within the African context).
In addition to the cultural context, Monaghan provides an extensive bibliography, plus a detailed description of how and why she chose to include the sources she did. Despite acknowledging the cultural limitations, Monaghan opted to draw her information only from works available in English, but the bibliography includes information about translations for the serious goddess scholar to track down on her own.
Chock full of information about both goddesses and heroines (historical female figures, or those with supernatural powers that don’t quite elevate them to goddess status), this is an excellent resource for anyone with an interest in goddess lore and the divine feminine. Scholars and casual browsers will both find something to appeal to them, since, as Monaghan notes in her introduction, the faces of goddesses around the globe are incredibly diverse; they “can appear as young nymphs, self-reliant workers, aged sages. They can be athletes or huntresses, dancers or acrobats, herbalists or midwives. We find goddesses as teachers, inventors, bartenders, potters, surfers, magicians, warriors, and queens. Virtually any social role women have played or are capable of playing appears in a goddess myth.” The vastness of goddesses, and, in truth, women, is represented in this volume, and it’s a resource I’m sure I’ll return to again and again.
Image retrieved from New World Library, http://www.newworldlibrary.com/BooksProducts/ProductDetails/tabid/64/SKU/82171/Default.aspx#
Recently, a 14 year old boy shot himself in the head in the boys’ restroom at his central Florida middle school. His family had moved here all the way from New York to escape bullies. Turns out you can’t end bullying by moving hundreds of miles. You can’t end bullying by talking to school administrators or teachers.
You can’t end bullying by fighting and punishing bullies because fighting and punishing IS bullying. Imagine firefighters trying to put out fires with flamethrowers instead of water hoses or buckets of earth....
(an excerpt from my book, Visions of Vanaheim)
As mentioned in my post Who are the Vanir?, the Vanir are more than the Big Name Deities, such as Frey, Freya, Njord, and Nerthus. Vanaheim is an entire realm, full of people, the overwhelming majority of whom were never named by lore. This doesn’t mean they’re unimportant, as we will revisit in a moment. I also understand the Vanir to be elves (corroborated by others), and in private conversations I prefer referring to them as elves (or Eshnahai, which is their own name for their people, “Vanir” is an outlander’s term), though they are not the same entities as the Ljossalfar and Dokkalfar (who are related, but ultimately their own people)....