Sunday, July 26, 2009

Off A While

Just a note to say that I will be off on a trip for the next couple of weeks and incommunicado, so there will be no Goddess of the Week posts until I get back, sometime in the first week of August.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Goddess of the Week

Amaterasu is the Japanese Sun-Goddess; She represents order and civilization. She is said to have invented weaving and rice cultivation, and is still honored today as the foremother of the Imperial line. She came up here just around the time of Samhain here in the northern hemisphere.

I keep thinking of the theme of opposites, of both the dark and the light. Maybe it's just that the weather here in New England has not felt much like summer, being uncommonly cool and rainy, but I have had this craving for Yule and for the dark. And Amaterasu, here, as I've shown Her, is meant to be a rising Sun, one just coming out into the world again after the winter solstice.

Now of course it is not the middle of winter here, rain or no; but it is the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere.

I don't know if it's just me, but lately I think these cards have been picking up on a theme of a certain kind of balance, on a world-wide scale, balance of a whole, entire kind; at any one moment in time taking the earth as a whole there is both night and day, dark and light, winter and summer. Not balance as in one after the other, or each in their own time, a point of view one necessarily has as a creature who can only be in one place at one time; but a global, bigger than ourselves, and/both, big picture, paradoxical, almost, kind of balance. This is about both brilliant light and the deepest dark at once. And for some reason it seems important at this time that we are able to hold both the dark and the light in our minds simultaneously.

Now, in this picture I have drawn Amaterasu as the rising sun, the sun of increase and growing brightness, the sun coaxed from Her hidey-hole in a cave and coming out to discover Her own beauty. So I would usually interpret this card as increase, growing, growth, the pull upward towards the light; but I think this time given all that talk about balance we must be aware also that there is a pull in the opposite direction as well. Rather how the tide is not only a swelling in the ocean on the side of the Earth which faces the Moon, but a swelling on the opposite side as well (and I'm going to guess mathematically an ellipse, like an orbit). This week it may feel like we are being pulled in two directions at once; but consider that it may be a deepening, a broadening of horizons and experience.

(I can see Her. She is all in white, very brilliant, black black hair flowing like water, face chalked in white like in a Heian painting; there is a light behind Her and She is nearly too bright to look at.)

So I ask, as always, What do You have to say?

I am glory and brilliance; I am the sudden flash of your own beauty and brilliance seen in the mirror. Do not be ashamed to look, nor afraid. I am intelligence; I am very bright, after all, of light and of mind.

I challenge you to recognize your own brilliance.

My gaze is piercing, my insight keen, my ability to find the truth very great. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, is it not?

I watch from the sky. I have more pull than the moon on water. As I rise, as I grow in strength so do the plants rise and grow. It is a longer cycle to be sure; do not make the mistake of thinking it applicable only to Gods, or men, the male; after all I am a Goddess, a female. And I am an ancestor, a great ancestor; my line continues even today, and is known and honored as mine.

I bring justice and balance, and, and this is important, rest. Rest in the heat of day. Even I had to cease from my relentless work and rest in the dark and the quiet for a time. If it is too bright, go someplace dark. This is balance, this is justice.

She is very strong, certainly, and very very very smart. Brilliant, in fact.

I am finding I am having a difficult time articulating this idea of balance as a whole; I think I need to go back and review the past entries in the Goddess of the Week feature to see, maybe, a larger pattern.

What do you think of all this?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Even More Critters

I've been knitting and sewing up a storm the last couple days, and so have another batch of critters to put up at the Etsy store. They include:

This guy, in a lovely soft raspberry mohair, that, though it's synthetic is, seriously, kitteny soft:

Another one of the striped cats, this time in an op-artish bright red and bright turquoise stripe:

And another of the little Satan-guys:

Also, these are toys twelve, thirteen, and fourteen of the One Hundred Toys Project. That's almost a sixth of the way there!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Critters Up at The Imporium

Just put these three guys up at The Imporium:

This one, a red and black knitty kitty

This purple fuzzy monster dude

And this guy, a funny-looking imp with a mohawk

I've already sold two of the ones of the batch I put up before, so if you want them you might want to hurry!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Imporium Grand Opening!

That's right, the Imporium, my new shop at Etsy, is now open! Check it out:

The Imporium at Etsy

Right now I've got four of the knitty-kitties up, three stripeys, one in shades of blue, one in green and chartreuse, one in chartreuse and purple, and a solid-colored one in a purple/magenta heather fuzzy yarn, with more to follow.

Remember, for all your familiar needs (har har), the Imporium is the place to be!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Goddess of the Week

The Black Virgin last showed up here in April for Easter week back in the spring.

As I said in the earlier post, the Black Madonna is an unusual mostly European type of the Virgin Mary depicted with dark or black skin; various reasons are given for this coloration, including mundane things like candle soot or changes in pigment over time. (Such effect, however, seems to be limited to paintings or statues of the Virgin Mary, not, to, oh I don't know, statues of Jesus or something.) More than a few of the Black Madonnas are from churches sited over former temples to the Goddess in one form or another, so She has been linked to the worship of older Goddesses such as Isis and Cybele of Anatolia.

In painting Her for the deck, I had in my head the famous Stone of Cybele, a black stone fallen from the heavens and regarded as sacred, as aeroliths often were in that part of the world; according to some traditions it was incorporated into a statue of the Goddess, though according to others it was left unadorned and unshaped. I was going with the former idea when I painted Her, hence the face black like Cybele's Stone while the rest of Her is the typical European version of the Madonna.

So, the Black Virgin represents a strange mix of old and new. Her roots are old, very old; and since She proved too powerful and too well-loved to be out-and-out destroyed, She was adapted into the new faith with a little change of clothing. But She is still there, and so has been worshiped continuously for a couple thousand years at the least.

What in your life now has such old roots? Look for them; finding the old habits, old threads, old connections is important this week. Also be aware of the process by which something has changed, or been adapted to fit--has it been done in an ethical manner? Is this adaptation or appropriation? What, also, in you has had to go underground for a while, because showing its true face was a risk or a danger? It may very well be time to release that disguise, and let that true part of you show.

Also I'm getting renewal, still, probably because the Black Virgin last showed up around Easter-time, and because of the cards I've picked the last two weeks; I don't know what's up, and I couldn't even tell you how that relates to my own circumstances. Perhaps it's a slow kind of renewal, one taking place in the depths and hard to see right now? I suspect it will become apparent soon enough.

What does She say?

I am here. I am always here. Whatever face I wear I am here. I am the Great Mother and so long as there is life on this Earth then I will be here, for there is no life without mothers.

I am here as Mother to tell you it is being born. The World-Egg has a hairline crack; it will soon split wide and a new life, a new way of being shall be. To you it may seem slow, you whose lives are so short; but in the life of the Earth it is very short indeed. And it has begun. There is no stopping it. A baby cannot be unborn.

For each of you, my children? Remember me, seek me out in your lives, in the mundane, the worldly, the earth, all those things. Find me wherever you are. For I am there hidden in plain sight, before all your eyes all this time with that secret smile in my eyes. I know Who I am. I have never forgotten it.

Remember, the trials of your time are birth-throes. Remember that. It is very important that you do. It will help you to understand, and it will keep fear away. And especially remember, I know what I am doing.

Well. What do you think?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Goddess of the Week

Nü Kua, the primaeval Chinese Goddess credited with creating the human race, is another repeat Goddess, last seen here on the 11th of January in the middle of the winter hibernation season, that time of preparation for the coming spring. She appears here, again, as close to an even half-year as is about possible. Interestingly enough, that means the southern hemisphere is in the same place, cycle-wise, as the north was when She was last here, which I find a marvelous bit of symmetry and balance.

And yes, She is in a lot of ways concerned with balance; but it's not so much a black-and-white-and-shades-of-grey sort but a rounder, fuller one.

In the legend Nü Kua was the one to repair the sky after a great battle had ripped it apart. She put to right what had been broken, so that the world could begin anew. To do so She used stones of five colors, symbolising the five elements, the Wu Xing, of the Chinese system: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The five elements of the Chinese are commonly thought of as a cycle, of movement or stages; and so this is a balance that is three-dimensional, in motion and always changing.

(And yes, given that it is five elements interacting a lot of the diagrams of the Wu Xing are pentacle-shaped; I'm not sure if that is traditional, though, or a more Western interpretation. Still, it certainly resonates with a Witch and a Pagan such as myself.)

So, then: something has been torn down or broken, something of a rather basic sort. This something can be repaired, but you can't just patch it; it will need to be remade from the basic stuff of it, its elements. Now is the time to judge just what elements are before you. What do you have? What do you lack? What must be added at the start of remaking things to ensure it will be a balanced venture from the start?

Keep in mind that Nü Kua was often depicted in serpent-form, that ancient symbol of renewal. What is this skin you are shedding, or have already shed? What will you not make use of in your rebuilding efforts?

Now last week for whatever reason the young Norse Goddess Idun was coming across to me in a decidedly wintry-crone manner; interpreting Her more properly as a Goddess of youth and springtime and renewal, however, would dovetail very nicely with Nü Kua's appearance this week. And I think that including Idun here as a previous step is important, as is acknowledging her oddly wintry appearance last week in the midst of my northern summer; they are both about balance. There is a theme of completeness, of a greater whole in all of this, I think. What do you see? Can you back up far enough to take it all in? Do you have that kind of perspective now?

And so I ask again, as always, for a message from the Goddess. And Nü Kua says:

My people are in turmoil. Their sky is falling, is broken; remember those who have died in China these last few days. Half a world away from you, remember what is happening. Summer and winter, north and south; but also west and east.

But yes, you are on the right track. Also, though, it is not just the four directions, the legs of the turtle, that stability that four represents; there is the fifth, too, the living one that sets it all in motion. It is a tricky thing, to learn balance within movement. But you have the knack, all of you, inborn to you each. And I would know; for I placed it there in within you all, didn't I?

Repair this world in balance and stability, strength and rightness. The world very much needs balance right now. If you do not know where to begin, start with your own self. Study it, learn it, live it; let it radiate and ripple from you--that will begin setting the rest of things to right.

What do you think?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Knitty Kitties

A sneak peek at about half the batch of new knitty kitties, to be put up for sale in my soon-to-be Etsy shoppe. (Yes, with two P's and an E. We're highfalutin', don'tcha know).

Also, toys number seven through eleven of the One Hundred Toys Project.