Womb of Light: The Alchemy of the Goddess

Womb of Light is an exploration of the Sacred Feminine and the application of Her transformative energies. These writings will have the intent and focus of inspiring and quickening within the individual a thirst for deeper connection and opening to the magick and gnosis of the Goddess in all of Her forms. She is the Mother, the Uraeus, the Muse, the Warrior, and the Healer, to name a few. SHE is the cycle of life and death and all that is held between; and my goal is to share the wisdom of her Womb of Light that all may claim their Divine birthright.

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The Cosmic Horae

Order, Justice and Peace Shall Rule

 I've chosen this month of elections, Thanksgiving and change of the seasons to share this article that was written in 2012 and part of an anthology. Order and justice are being tested continually and the peace that we desire is elusive as we move through the eternal cycles of change and time's demands. The Horae are reminders that we are part of a larger cycle of Cosmic order....

In Greek Mythology the classification of Goddesses known as the Horae composed two basic components of cyclic action. This name given of “Horae” was used to describe several goddesses whose primary function was order, balance and justice from the aspect of nature to the larger demands of Cosmic events.  The earliest writing about the Horae is attribute to Homer’s Iliad as custodians of the gates of Olympus.  These were the daughters of Mighty Zeus and the Titaness, Themis, Goddess of Divine Order. Early worship in Athens separated the six dominant Horae into two triads that in combination attended to the order of society from cosmic affairs to the human needs.

The first of these being the Triad of the three seasons: Thallo (Spring), Auxo (Summer) and Carpo (Autumn).  These Goddesses were considered the guardians of the growing season and agricultural blessings were bestowed by their continuous and fruitful cycles. Their worship was predominantly within the rural communities, serving the needs of the farmers and those living more simply and closer to the lands. Their annual festival was held in Horaea.

The Second Triad was responsible for the right order and balance of the Cosmos; thus affecting also the balance of daily mundane life and order within society. These were considered the Cosmic Horae and in addition to recognition in Athens were worshipped in the main cities of Argos and Olympia where politics and wealth played their games of power. Even their parentage spoke of power being the daughters of Zeus and Themis, the Titaness of Divine Order.

In the Hellenistic and Roman periods the Horae became the four seasons and were considered to be the daughters of the sun god, Helios, and the moon goddess, Selene, each represented by the conventional seasonal attributes of Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall. Subsequently, when the day was divided into 12 equal parts, each of them took the name of Hora (meaning “hour”) and each was responsible for a section of time and the energies that would prevail.

The Horae carried aspects of their parents, which when applied together formed a cohesive balance and whole. The cycles of the seasons continue through the balance of order, justice and peace and the fates web the stories of birth and death for those of humanity who will live in accord with those cycles in keeping with the laws. The focus for this essay is the Cosmic Horae of the Second Triad; Dike, Eunomia and Eirene and their Mother Themis.

The Titaness, Themis

The Goddess, Themis was an ancient deity of the First generation of the creation myths. She is one of the twelve Titans and daughter of Uranus and Gaia. She was responsible for maintaining and overseeing Divine order and much like the Egyptian Goddess, Ma’at, she was considered the personification of order within the Cosmos. Cosmic order was the required state for justice and balance to prevail and from the natural chaos of creative endeavor, Hers was the power to restore and provide the necessary structure to keep chaos at bay.

Themis is often depicted as blindfolded and carrying the scales of Justice and we all are familiar with the saying that “justice is blind”.  In this way her actions and determinations had no bias of who, what or when. It was simply a fact that order would prevail, at all costs. Her final ruling could be severe and her judgment was precise and specific in its application. Maintaining Divine order and justice also required that she sit in judgment of the newly deceased and make final decision of whether they would enjoy the afterlife of the Elysian Fields or be cast into the deep abyss of Tartarus and eternal torment. Therefore, it behooved the individual to follow the precepts of law and order in their earthly life and this was upheld by the control of her daughters, the Cosmic Horae seeing that justice was preserved in daily affairs.

Another of Themis’ roles was that of a visionary. She was the overseer of the Oracle of Delphi before it was dedicated to Apollo and held in his domain. And, much in the same manner that we adhere to the principle that “with great power (or insight) comes great responsibility” there is a necessary application of balance, order, ethical and justifiable communication required when sharing the insights of visionary and oracular sight. Misspoken words can produce chaos, fear and restrained action if not productive to an outcome that should be driven by free will rather than destiny’s pre-determined hand.

In some myths, Themis is said to have (wed) the mighty God Zeus and their union produced the Eunomia, Dike and Eirene who became known as the Second or Cosmic Horae. The Fates (Moiraies) were also said to be progeny of the powerful Zeus and exacting Themis and again the themes of order are played out. Clotho spun the thread of life on her spindle; Lachesis measured the amount allotted to each individual and Atropos chose the manner and time of death. Each, becoming an extension of the Cosmic order of life and death. Each carrying out the broader reach of their mother, Themis.

The Executors of Divine Order

Dike(Order) - Eunomia(Justice) - Eirene(Peace)

 Dike: Hora of Order

Themis’ daughters are the seeds of extension for maintaining what has been decreed within the heavens. These are the controls that remand the individual to the laws of karmic order when encountered at death by their mother Themis. Their attributes are the affirmation of cosmic and earthly law being reflections of the same dynamics of order and balance that are upheld in both heavenly and earthly matters.

Dike, in her role as keeper of justice and order made judgment of the moral order of humanity. Dike is often associated with the astrological sign of the Virgin, Virgo. The analytical and careful attention to detail being the primary energy called upon to maintain moral order and justice for all mankind. Hers was the responsibility to ensure that man acted in accord with right action and bestow swift punishment for any infringement, especially in the case of one who was acting as judge and counsel.

The Greek poet, Hesiod speaks of Dike in this way in his epic poem, Works and Days:

..."Listen to right and do not foster violence; for violence is bad for a poor man. Even the prosperous cannot easily bear its burden, but is weighed down under it when he has fallen into delusion. The better path is to go by on the other side towards justice; for Dike (Justice) beats Hybris (Outrage) when she comes at length to the end of the race. But only when he has suffered does the fool learn this. For Horkos (Horcus, Oath) keeps pace with wrong judgements. There is a noise when Dike (Justice) is being dragged in the way where those who devour bribes and give sentence with crooked judgements, take her. And she, wrapped in mist, follows to the city and haunts of the people, weeping, and bringing mischief to men, even to such as have driven her forth in that they did not deal straightly with her. But they who give straight judgements to strangers and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just, their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Eirene (Irene, Peace), the nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but light-heartedly they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit."

 Eunomia: Hora of Justice

Eunomia exerted her power as provider of governance of justice through good law. Legislation, judicial determination and their processes and the ultimate outcome of enforcing those determinations made were her specialty. Eunomia’s name is used to describe the “principle of good order”. Her image was often painted on vases and in the company of Aphrodite as a reminder of the need for lawful action in matters of the heart, marriage and loving relationship.

Eunomia was the mother of the three Graces; Aglaea (Grace and Beauty), Euphrosyn (Good Cheer, Mirth and Merriment), and Thalia (Festivities and Banquets).  Again, we see the disbursement of the mother’s gifts flowing through the Graces, each needing the space of governance to ensure neither excess nor poverty in their expression.  

Demosthenes, the prominent Greek statesman speaks of Eunomia in his rhetoric, Against Aristogeiton :

..."You must magnify Eunomia (the Goddess of Order) who loves what is right and preserves every city and every land; and before you cast your votes, each juryman must reflect that he is being watched by hallowed and inexorable Dike (Justice), who, as Orpheus, that prophet of our most sacred mysteries, tells us, sits beside the throne of Zeus and oversees all the works of men. Each must keep watch and ward lest he shame that goddess, from whom everyone that is chosen by lot derives his name of juror, because he has this day received a sacred trust from the laws, from the constitution, from the fatherland,--the duty of guarding all that is fair and right and beneficial in our city."

 Eirene: Hora of Peace

Eirene was the personification of peace. Hers was the final blessing of the action of rightful justice exacted in a lawful way with resolution that would ultimately restore and disperse the Divine Justice of her mother, Themis. So great was her influence that the citizens of Athens set up an altar and erected a votive statue to her in the Agora of Athens. The statue shows her as a young beautiful woman holding the infant Ploutos (the God of wealth) in her arm. In artwork she is also depicted carrying a cornucopia, the symbol of the abundance that may be gathered when peace rules every action.

The poet, Hesiod describes Eirene in this way:

..."But they who give straight judgements [i.e. those who invoke the goddess Dike (Justice)] to strangers and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just, their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Eirene (Irene, Peace), the nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but light-heartedly they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit."

 Order, Justice and Peace Shall Rule

There is much we can learn from the Horae and much we can apply to the way in which we live today. The principles of lawful order and justice for all of humanity remain the same. The desire for a peaceful coexistence and the balance and Karmic blessings that are the products is still a dream for many. Remembering the work of the Horae and the natural cycles that surround and are in support of a balanced and orderly life are the beginning steps towards establishing Themis, or Divine order. Taking time to honor and show devotion to the order that is established within your life already and then seeing it grow and extend exponentially into every facet of your life’s work, much like the energy imparted in the daughters of Themis and Zeus, will feed the archetypal energy of these Deities and draw the power of their pursuits back into balancing chaos and discord.

And, the ultimate blessing will be that of knowing the peace of living a life that has come full cycle in embracing the cycles of the seasons, the will of the fates and scales at life’s end of Themis.

 

References:

1. Hesiod, Works and Days 212 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :

2. Demosthenes, Against Aristogeiton 25. 11 (Greek rhetoric C4th B.C.) : 

3. Hesiod, Works & Days - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C. 

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Robin Fennelly is a 3rd Degree Initiate of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel and High Priestess of Coven of the Mystic Path within that Tradition. She has been a seeker of all things spiritual since her early teens. Growing up in a spiritually supportive family provided the opportunity to explore and experience a variety of esoteric traditions encompassing Eastern Philosophy, Metaphysics and the Western Magickal System.  This spiritually rich and diverse background has provided the foundations of her teaching and writing for more than 20 years with integrated overlay of Astrology, Hermetic Qabalah, Energetic Anatomy, Tarot and personal alchemy.   Her personal work is strongly focused on the development and implementation of energetic protocol and exploration of the catalytic energies of the Sacred Feminine.  She works extensively with the alchemical nature of the Goddess as deity and archetype using that transformative nature as the current that flows through and informs all of her magickal workings. Robin's unique style of teaching and writing incorporates poetry, pathworking and prose as tools for deepening the reader's level of understanding and application.  She has authored several books on magickal practice and theory, is a writer for the Portal Magazine, UK, contributor to Capital Witch: The Pagan Newswire Collective and has had several featured articles on the Witch's Voice.

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