She is a goddess of wild places, especially the Celtic moorlands, the woods, and the heathlands. Seeking her out required going to these wild places and looking for her in every aspect of the wild lands. Elen is in the mist in the air and in the heartbeat of a tree.
About thirty seconds after I said I wanted to write an article about the Magdalene Mysteries, I changed my mind. First of all, will I burn for this? And more importantly, where do I even begin? An article? It seems so small for the giant mind-blowing rabbit hole that I have been exploring for years. So, this may be just the beginning of a series of articles, or I will give you just enough to whet your appetite so that you can begin your journey… Which is a perfect place to start: The Magdalene Mysteries are an initiation, a true mind, body, and soul exploration, which begins with a labyrinth. I can lead you to the entrance, but it is up to you to walk the left-hand path. For those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear, be prepared for an expansion of what you know and potentially a demolition of what you thought you knew.
In order to begin to unlock the mysteries of Mary Magdalene, we must first make an agreement that you will be curious and allow this curiosity to open your mind to wild and unlikely possibilities. If you’re here, it is likely that you already have some unorthodox beliefs, for instance, reincarnation, maybe? Reincarnation is a theory that our souls return time and time again in different bodies, potentially to learn specific lessons or to teach those who cross your path. Some believe we choose the life we will incarnate into, others believe it is karmic, and we are essentially reborn in a life we earned. Reincarnation is a fascinating subject, but we will have to dive into that one later. For the sake of this article, let’s assume you do believe that reincarnation is possible and that you are here on this planet at this time on purpose. This is important because Mary Magdalene’s story begins long before she walked the earth.
The Sacred Union
Long ago, maybe before the beginning of time, there was divine energy, and this energy was a combination of masculine and feminine, and when united, their union created life. This divine coupling has returned to this planet over and over and over as a direct reflection of the original “father and mother,” who was later renamed as one entity, a masculine deity. They were stripped of their sacred union, and the mother was forgotten. But not everyone forgot her, she was remembered in secret, under the moon, deep inside caves, in tending to an herb garden, and especially in childbirth. Our ancestresses whispered Her name and raised their daughters in the old ways for as long as they possibly could, only for Her to be forgotten generation by generation.
Those who have studied the lore of Mary Magdalene have no doubt that Jesus and Mary were not only lovers but that they led a ministry together. One that preached sacred union, Tantrika, and Magick. Those who follow the left-hand path believe that Mary and Jesus were destined, that the star which appeared at his birth, the star which the Magi followed, was a sign from the heavens that the next great love story was beginning. But why? Why would anyone believe this? We have been taught that Jesus was “perfect,” suggesting he never had sex, which is damaging in several ways. Sex and divine union are beautiful, but religion makes them ugly and sinful. We have been led to believe that Mary Magdalene was a reformed prostitute. We have been indoctrinated to believe that Jesus’s mother, Mary, was a virgin when she became pregnant. Even for those who believe in Magick, this concept is a bit far-fetched. In fact, the more we study the sacred mysteries, the more we may become convinced that immaculate conception is ridiculous or that we must redefine the term “immaculate.” So why is this taught? To push you further from finding the truths, to keep you subservient to the patriarchy, and to shame your natural sexual nature.
Immaculate conception, calling Mary Magdalene a prostitute, and claiming that Jesus never had sex implies that sex itself is dirty or sinful. The Messiah could not have come from a man and woman experiencing pleasure together because that would prove that Jesus was a man, not God on earth. Even the term “immaculate conception” implies that sex is dirty. This is some of the oldest misogyny recorded. Casting Mary Magdalene as a prostitute automatically diminishes any potential respect a “good Christian” would have towards her, even though she is the only person who actually fits the bill to be Jesus’s apostle. This smear campaign has done catastrophic damage to the feminine.
The Origin of Marys and Virgins
Consider this: Why were there so many women named Mary in The Bible? I was told that it was a popular name, but I was not told that the priestesses of Isis used the title “Mary.” If these priestesses, these Marys, if you will, practiced the traditions of Isis, they most likely participated in sacred sexuality. In the traditions widely practiced at the time, priestesses performed sacred rituals on sacred holidays, which were held at specific times and dates based on astrology, and it is quite possible that Marys conceived these ceremonies. If alchemists or studiers of Hermetic principles were waiting for a specific moment in time for the next great love to be birthed, a conception at the time of a specific sacred ceremony would potentially guarantee the birth of a reincarnated soul. It is likely that Joseph agreed to take on this pregnant priestess, raise the child and teach him the ways of the goddess…
It is also worth noting that the word virgin did not define a person who had not had sex but rather a free, independent, autonomous, unmarried woman. This is important because it suggests that Jesus’s mother actually was a virgin if we consider this from the original meaning. Even so, I will refer to Jesus’s mother as “Mother Mary” so as not to confuse you and also because the word virgin has been so deeply misconstrued. We can also deconstruct the idea that “temple virgins,” women who served in temples, were not abstinent but most likely sexually active, which was considered spiritual.
According to The Bible, which I don’t consider to be an extremely reputable source, but is widely acknowledged as fact, Jesus, his mother, and adopted father went to Egypt when he was very young because Herod the Great, King of Judea ordered the death of all of the male children under the age of two. (Most scholars do not believe that Herod actually did this, just as there’s no evidence that the Hebrews were ever slaves in Egypt. These inconsistencies further prove that The Bible and its stories were most likely lore and loosely based on actual events.) There is evidence that Jesus did travel in the first 30 years of his life. Not only to Egypt but also to Britain, Tibet, and India. If Mother Mary was, in fact, a priestess, and she believed her son was destined to be the messiah based on the time of his conception and the astrology when he was born, as well as his bloodline, then she would have chosen to bring her son to teachers far and wide, to initiate him in the hermetic principles, as well as other alchemical studies, and spiritual practices.
Mary Magdalene, a priestess whose bloodline has been speculated to be of the tribe of Benjamin or the line of the Queen of Sheba, maybe both, also had a promising assumed future. Magdalene was raised as a princess, and a priestess, a Mary. It is believed that Magdalene was betrothed to Jesus based on both of their bloodlines, but the Jews changed the betrothal to John the Baptist, Jesus’s cousin, who also carries the prophesied bloodline because Jesus was too radical in his teachings. Based on the gospel of Mary Magdalene, it is believed that his teachings included equality between the masculine and the feminine, a belief that was systematically dismantled by the religious leaders of this time.
Mary Magdalene and The Prophecy of The Messiah
Meanwhile, John was believed to hate women and chose to live in the wilderness with men only. While John did not want to marry Magdalene, he was aware that based on prophecy, marrying her would make him the assumed messiah. He didn’t necessarily want to be the messiah, but he did not agree with Jesus’s teachings of equality between the masculine and feminine, so he did choose to take her as his bride. It was after his death that Jesus took Magdalene as his wife in order to both fulfill the prophecy and raise his cousin’s son, as it was customary to take on your close relatives family after their death. Those of us who study the left-hand path believe that Jesus and Magdalene truly did love each other, and it was no ordinary love; this love transcended time and space. A love that returned time and time, from the beginning. The embodiment of the masculine and feminine union. It is also believed that Magdalene had three children, which to this day is represented by the Fleur-de-lis.
Jesus and Magdalene lead a ministry together as equals, husband and wife, prophet and prophetess, and priest and priestess. This has been stripped from history because it shows Jesus in a light that is human and that his ministry taught equality and sacred union. But still, even those who pieced together the bible that we know today could not remove his wife from its pages. Rather they portray her with a scarlet letter A, as a reformed prostitute. But still, it is she who witnessed Jesus after his resurrection. It is she who was the only candidate to be considered Jesus’s apostle.
In order to be considered an apostle of Jesus:
- One must have spent the three years of his ministry with him
- Have been an eyewitness to Jesus’s baptism
- Witnessed Jesus’s miracles, healings, and teachings
- Witnessed Jesus sacrifice himself on the cross
- Witness Jesus after his resurrection
The only person who fits this description is Magdalene. Other than John, all the other supposed apostles were not there when Jesus was crucified, but he is noted along with several other women (Mary’s mostly). And it was Mary Magdalene to who Jesus appeared to first.
The Holy Grail
After the crucifixion, it was extremely dangerous to be in any way connected to Jesus. Those who followed the left-hand path believed that it would be wise to send the pregnant Magdalene and her children, Jesus’s daughter and adopted son, away. Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus’s uncle, is said to have taken Magdalene and the children to safety. You have probably heard parts of this story. Joseph was said to have gone to England, specifically Glastonbury, with several others, and he brought the holy grail. It is believed that the holy grail is not a cup but Jesus and Magdalene’s bloodline. There was a strong Jewish presence in this area, and in English lore, it has been said that Joseph and Mother Mary had brought Jesus to Glastonbury when Jesus was young. In fact, one of, if not the first “Christian” church in England is said to have been founded by Joseph, although it was destroyed in 1184. It’s possible that Joseph, Magdalene, and her children continued their ministry upon reaching Glastonbury, although it is said that Magdalene made her home in France, specifically a cave where many believe Magdalene lived out the rest of her days. To this day, Sainte Baume is a popular pilgrimage destination. And to this day, lore in England and France puts Magdalene in both places after the crucifixion.
The deeper you dive into these mysteries, the more you find connections that may be right in front of you but are just as easy to miss. There is a deconstruction of what we have been taught, from the Claddagh to labyrinths in cathedrals and famous art pieces. There is so much to explore and never enough room on a page. I’ll leave you with this: While Christianity has distorted the love story of Jesus and Magdalene, many throughout history have stayed true to the origins and have even followed and protected the line of Jesus and Mary. At this point, millions of us probably carry this holy blood in our veins.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
These books are a great place to start if you want to learn more and do your own research.
Spiritual Tools to Help You Connect With Mary Magdalene
The Greek goddess Demeter, the motherly goddess of harvest and agriculture, had a daughter with her brother Zeus
According to legend, Lilith was the first woman and Adam’s first wife. Unlike Eve, she was supposedly created from the earth, who was created from Adam’s rib. The story goes that God felt that Adam could not have complete dominion over women if his only companion were taken from him, so he created Eve from Adam’s rib to serve as his partner and equal in the Garden of Eden.
Are you on a Hellenic path? Do you work with either of these deities? We would like to hear about your experience in the comments.
In many faiths, Lucifer is an evil being who brought about the fall of humankind and has no redeeming qualities. In paganism, however, Lucifer can take on different roles depending on the religion or tradition you’re practicing. In some cases, he’s not even considered the bad guy; he’s seen as another deity in the pantheon that has gotten a bad rap over time, or simply isn’t regarded as evil at all but rather serves a positive role in your spirituality.
An introduction to “Satan” aka Lucifer
According to historians, the name Lucifer predates Christianity. The word comes from the Latin for light bringer and means truth. It was applied to the morning star, Venus, as a reference to its brightness in the sky. This is what probably started all these associations with Satan. In Christian folklore, Lucifer was an angel who fell from heaven after rebelling against God. He became known as Satan and was condemned to hell where he would rule over demons for eternity. There are many pagans that have different stories about Lucifer or Satan. For example, some believe that Lucifer was cast out because he wanted more power than god allowed him. Others say that there were two gods; one good and one evil. They both created humans so they could see which one they liked better. My personal view is that capital G “God” has a big ego (as is obvious from naming himself the one true god) and when Lucifer wanted to “bring light” (truth) out, God cast him down to earth to taint his credibility. Whatever you believe, there is long documented history and mythology associated with the name Lucifer, both good and bad.
Etymology of Lucifer
The name Lucifer comes from a Latin word meaning light-bearer. The root for all these terms is based on a specific interpretation of Isaiah 14:12, which states, How art thou fallen from heaven, O day star, son of the morning! As mentioned above, it’s thought that Venus was seen as a bringer of light in ancient times and so was associated with early forms of worship. As such, it’s possible that Lucifer may have been an earlier form of Venus that was later demonized and transformed into Satan.
History and Myths of Lucifer
Lucifer, AKA Satan and other aliases, has been a popular figure in history for many centuries. According to some scholars and myths, it was one of God’s greatest Angels who represented light and goodness before his fall from grace. Later in Christian mythology it came to represent rebellion and evil. In truth, he was an Angel created by God whose sole purpose was to protect humanity. He became disillusioned with what he perceived as unfair treatment by humans and rebelled against God. Another myth comes from Jewish lore where Lilith, also known as Adam’s first wife, left him because she refused to be subservient to him. One thing that Christians do not understand about Lucifer is that when he fell from heaven he did not become an evil entity. Some believe Lucifer chose to leave heaven, to be with Lilith. Some will say Lucifer tempted Cain into killing Able while others say that Cain killed Abel out of jealousy over their father’s favoritism. Still others say that Eve ate fruit from a tree while they were both in Eden and offered some to her husband; but he declined, knowing full well its consequences. The figure of the demon Lucifer is also found within Islam, though he is not thought of as synonymous with the figure of Satan. In Islam Lucifer is associated with the sin of wrath and was thought to have been formerly called Azazil or Uzayzil prior to his downfall.
In any faith, or mythology, stories evolve with time, and it can be hard to find “truth” or consistency. I find it best to reflect inward on what resonates!
Usage in Pop Culture and Politics
As pop culture gains popularity, so does public knowledge about all things Pagan. This has spurred many positive changes, like full inclusion in society for Pagans, but it’s also led to some misconceptions. Lucifer is a very important deity within Paganism and modern worshipers have been doing their best to clear up misconceptions about him and his role in popular media.
How People View Lucifer Today
Religious and non-religious folks alike tend to view Lucifer as Satan—the embodiment of evil, a diabolical and cruel character who does everything he can to ruin mankind. Lucifer’s evil status is derived from his fall in Christian theology, when he defied God by refusing to bow down to Adam, who was created after him. In some branches of Satanism, believers pay homage to both Jesus Christ and Lucifer at their ceremonies.
Megan Killion, aka Vehemence, is an entrepreneurial baby witch, who’s spent the last 15 years kicking ass and taking names in the B2B tech world. Megan has felt the calling of magick since she was a small child and found comfort and healing in energy work. The deeper she explored the more she felt she had “finally found a spiritual home”. Navigating the complex world of witchcraft wasn’t easy and eventually, she felt driven to create a safe place for spiritual nomads. She is committed to making Coven Cloud a place where spiritualists of all backgrounds can feel safe, included, and supported.
The origins of Lilith, the demonic mother of all evil spirits, can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia – the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in modern-day Iraq. This time period predates the biblical figures we are more familiar with such as Adam and Eve, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad by thousands of years. These ancient Mesopotamians believed in an unseen force behind all of creation that was both masculine and feminine at once, Lilith.
Lilith in Ancient Hebrew
According to ancient Hebrew mythology, Lilith was a young woman who became Adam’s first wife after he helped her to slay her would-be rapist. However, when she decided she wanted to have children, Adam refused, explaining that God had told him not to have any. Enraged by his defiance and incensed by his willingness to bow down to authority, Lilith ran away in despair. She then became Satan’s consort and gave birth to countless demons—including Samael and numerous Lilin; both are associated with vampires today. As punishment for her actions, God sent three angels—Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof—to chase down Lilith; they succeeded in capturing her but only managed to render her sterile before freeing her once again.
Lilith in Ancient Mesopotamia
One could argue that even as early as Babylonian demonology (circa 6th century B.C.), traces of Lilith can be found in Mesopotamian depictions of Inanna’s demonic alter ego, known as Lilith or Lilitu. Inanna was an important goddess with a multitude of responsibilities and duties within the ancient Sumerian culture. As patron of both sexual activity and fertility, she controlled women’s sexuality—but her husband Dumuzi was meant to take control after marriage. The demons Lilith, Ardat-Lili, and Irdu-kug were all considered by scholars to be evil counterparts to these roles of Inanna; it is from these texts that we get our modern image of Lilith as being a dangerous succubus. Interestingly enough, however, much like how depictions of zombies over time are quite different from their original concepts (primarily because zombies didn’t exist), there is not necessarily a direct connection between what we call demons today and those mentioned in ancient Mesopotamia. For example, although Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan sneaker brand may be called a demon shoe in casual conversation today, as some people believe that he has supernatural powers when wearing them on his feet, demonology refers instead to Biblical demons (disembodied spirits). This alone illustrates just how intertwined religion and philosophy have been throughout history. Religion isn’t necessarily science but does have scientific roots. Demonology hasn’t necessarily changed much either: very few practices have become more commonplace than speaking ill of another behind their back—and somehow somebody always finds out about it! Of course, we think you know better than to use your negative remarks towards others negatively. Right?
Lilith in Talmudic Literature
The Talmud, a central text in Jewish studies, includes not one but two stories about Lilith—the first female human, made from dust like Adam; and a demonic succubus who was responsible for death in childbirth (among other things). It’s perhaps no surprise that Babylonian demonology—and Mesopotamian culture at large—would be steeped in misogyny. But it is interesting that so many ancient civilizations had their own form of Lilith myths. Maybe it makes sense, though—after all, sometimes even moms can make your life a living hell. What better way to explain misfortune than by blaming it on an evil woman?
Lilith as a SuccubusSuccubi are often said to have sexual intercourse with sleeping men, thus producing demon children. Succubi are a standard feature of medieval European demonology. It was once believed that women could become succubi by performing evil acts in life; modern myths state that they are born as succubi, or can be turned into them by demons or devils. The incubi and succubi were thought to be servants of Satan, and may appear during a demonic ritual or in a place where an act of heresy has been committed.
Lilith as an Incubus
Lilith’s earliest depictions come from Mesopotamia, where she was believed to be a demon who would steal babies from their cribs. Ancient Near Eastern cultures thought that if a woman were to become pregnant, but did not want to raise a child, then she would employ a daimon—which is what scholars believe incubi and succubi are—to father her child.
The Origins of the Name Lilith
Where does a demoness get her name? Though little is actually known about Lilith, she’s considered to be one of two things. First, there’s a Judaic origin tale from before 1000 BCE in which a female entity named Lilitu fell from heaven and slept with men while they were sleeping, causing them to have unwanted pregnancies. She also was said to have caused other evils in society such as disease and death.
Whether youre new to the craft or have been around for a while, it can be difficult sometimes to communicate with our chosen deities. There are a few different ways in which to communicate with deities, and in this blog, well list a couple of them, and then at the end, walk you through a step-by-step process.
But first, lets just have a little discussion about why communicating with your deities is important. Connecting with your chosen deity or deities is one of those feelings thats incredibly difficult to describe. Its almost blissful. It makes you feel empowered and loved wholly and unconditionally. And, of course, having a bond with your deity or patron God or Goddess helps to strengthen your craft. When you call upon them to join you in your rituals and spellwork, your craft is that much more powerful.
That bond with your patron deity is so much more than just what you can get out of them for your craft though. Ive had a personal connection with Isis, my Patron Goddess, for decades now. And to me, shes so much more than just a connection to my beliefs through which I can channel my magick. Shes the one I talk to when Im excited about something new thats going on in my life. Shes the shoulder I cry on when Im having a rough time. Shes my confidant and my friend.
Because our connection is so strong, when we practice together, that bond is tangible in my craft. Thats why its important to make a connection with your deity.
To Communicate With Your Deity You Must First Speak
Though the word prayer is most often associated with the Abrahamic religions, its also something we Pagans can use to speak with our deities. In fact, one of the oldest civilizations that archeologists have uncovered proof of prayer to their deities is the Ancient Mesopotamians.
They would visit temples and offer sacrifices to their deities, and would leave behind small statues who were crafted in positions of worship, with their hands clasped together in front of them. These statues were thought to pray continually to the deities on behalf of the individual who left them at the temple.
So dont let the word put you off the deed. Prayer is an excellent way to communicate with your deities. And you can pray to them in any way that you are most comfortable with. Whether thats out loud while walking through your house, or quietly in your head while sitting in meditation, it doesnt matter.
If Prayer Is Speaking To Your Deities, Meditation Is Listening
Yes, it sounds cheesy, but its true. When you pray to your deities, youre speaking to them. If you want them to speak back to you, you need to listen hard during quiet meditation.
To make yourself receptive to hearing your deities during meditation, first, invoke them through prayer. And then take an attitude of receptivity. Be open to allowing them to communicate with you.
It will likely take some practice before youll be able to discern the signs that your deity is speaking to you, but with time, you will be able to see the signs and hear their voices.
And always keep in mind that these signs can come in many forms. It could take the form of thoughts in your head that are not your own, or a voice that sounds like its coming from another room. It could be a vision, a dream, a visualization, or something incomprehensible you experience with your physical eyes on rare occasions. It could be an omen or a foreshadowing something in Nature that isn’t just normal animal or plant behavior.
In whatever way your deities choose to communicate with you, the important thing is to be receptive to that communication.
Five Simple Steps To Communicating With Your Deities
Step One: Choose your deity.
If you dont already have one, you can decide who it is you want to work with here. Maybe you feel a connection to a particular deity. Maybe the name of a God or Goddess gets stuck in your mind and you dont know why.
If you dont know yet which deity you feel called to, thats okay. You can simply use generic terms like Lord or Lady to address them for the time being. I promise, they wont be offended.
Step Two: Find a calm, quiet place.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for 20 to 30 minutes. You’ll need a quiet place because the messages can be difficult to hear at times.
Try to find or decorate an area that has some things that correspond to your deity, if you possibly can. This can be anything from statuary of themselves or animals theyre lined to, to fruits, plants, or even colors theyre associated with.
You’re ready to start hearing your God or Goddesss messages once you’ve decided on which deity you want to connect with. They’ve likely already begun to communicate with you at this stage.
Step Three: Get comfortable and cast your circle.
The next step is to find a comfortable position. A comfy chair or fluffy pillow on the floor on which to sit will work just fine. Sit however you are most comfortable and able to stay in that position for 20 to 30 minutes.
Next, cast your circle around you. This will be your protection, but will also serve as a sacred space and beacon through which your deity will come.
Step Four: Call out to your deity and connect with them.
Close your eyes and concentrate on the backs of your eyelids or the darkness. Now, call out to your God or Goddess. You’ve connected with them when you see or hear something seemingly random. When you think you’ve discovered them, be sure to remember to acknowledge and respect their presence. Thank them for coming to you. Remember, nothing happens by chance.
- In your head, call out to them, and then start talking to them out loud.
- Tell your deity that you wish to connect with them.
- Let them know of your intentions.
- Tell them about your desires and goals for the craft, and how you’d like to grow within it and with them.
- Speak from your heart. Tell them what your heart wants.
Practice every day until you can clearly hear your deity speaking to you or until you see or hear related visions or even simple shapes in your mind’s eye.
Your God or Goddess may even appear to be calling to you from a distant room in your home, as mentioned earlier, at first. Practice until you can clearly see or hear them. If their voice sounds like its coming from inside your own head, thats okay too!
Step Five: Ask them to show themselves.
As soon as you can clearly hear or understand your deity, the time has come to ask them to show themselves to you. Don’t worry if it seems this step is taking the longest to achieve. That’s very normal, so don’t give up! They will appear to you when the time is right.
When you ultimately connect with your deity, there will be no doubt in your mind whether or not you have. So, until they connect with you, keep trying. Once you’ve done so, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
You’ll need to nurture and foster this relationship with your deity now that you’ve developed a connection with them. Always be respectful of them and their work. Don’t make demands or throw fits when you don’t get your way. If you have questions you want to ask them, feel free to do so!
Every few months, it’s good practice to leave them an offering. A small amount of food and drink does the job. It doesn’t have to be an expensive offering either. Just make sure it’s something you think your deity would like. Fruit they’re associated with, for example, or some sort of seasonal drink.
This connection you’ve now made with your deity is an incredibly special gift. So please, treat it as such.
What To Do If Your Deity Doesnt Respond
Honestly, this happens more often than youd think, so please dont get upset or feel let down. One of the main reasons this happens is because you may just be trying to communicate with the wrong deity
Oftentimes, when were a baby witch or have just recently turned to the craft, our first exposure to a deity is through the stories we hear from other practitioners. So naturally, when we start practicing and attempting to communicate with deities, well automatically gravitate towards those whose names we know and have heard before through the shared experiences of others. But those deities might just not be right for you. Either theyre not open to working with you, or its just simply that that particular deity isnt the one for you. And thats okay! All is not lost, I promise.
In due time, if youre meant to work with a deity, that deity will find a way to show itself to you. You just need to keep your mind and heart open for their signs.
And more than that, not every practitioner has to or even wants to work with deities, which is absolutely okay as well. You need to find the craft that works best for you. Maybe thats working with a particular deity, or more than one, or none at all. Maybe youre meant to work with elementals, or guides, or Watchtowers, or one of the myriads of other spirits that abound in this world. Youll find your path. I promise.
Written by Joanna Jaguar
Creiddylad (pronounced cree-THIL-ahd) is the Welsh goddess of love and flowers. She is mainly celebrated on May Day (Beltane) as the eternal May Queen, fought over by the Oak King and Holly King.
As the May Queen, Creiddylad is revered as a fertility goddess. Each spring, her love spreads throughout the land as she emerges from the cold, dark winter. Flowers of all colors are in bloom, while trees, plants, and grass grow greener by the day. She bestows upon the world her abundance, and for it, we honor her with our Beltane fires and May Pole dances.
She symbolizes love for others, for creatures, and for ourselves. She teaches us that self-love is the most important love of all. Creiddylad also symbolizes abundance, stability, trust, and the ability to accept gifts. The goddess helps us to move out of the land of fear and darkness and brings us into a world of light, beauty, and the power of love.
A Goddess In King Arthurs Court
Creiddylad is also a part of Arthurian Legend, having lived with her father, Lludd Silver Hand, in King Arthurs Court. She was considered the most beautiful maiden in all the land and had many suitors fighting for her favor. In the ancient Welsh tale of Culhwch and Olwen, Creiddylad is described as the most majestic maiden there ever was in the Three Islands of Britain and her Adjacent Three Islands.
Two of those suitors were Gwythyr and Gwyn. Gwythyr was a knight of King Arthurs Court, while Gwyn is believed to have been the ruler of Annwn, the underworld. Many different tales of what happened between Gwythyr, Gwyn, and Creiddylad exist. One such tale says that she was kidnapped by Gwythyr, and was then kidnapped from Gwythyr by Gwyn.
However, the most prominent tale, told in Culhwch and Olwen is that Creiddylad, in love with Gwythyr, went away with him willingly. Before they could marry, however, Gwyn kidnaps her and brings her to Annwn. This might give you some Persephone and Hades vibes, and youd be right. The vibes dont end there either.
Though it is never explicitly stated, the tale of Culhwch and Olwen leads readers to believe that eventually, whether by consent or by force, Gwyn captures Creiddylads maidenhood, and she eventually becomes Queen of Annwn.
Gwythyr gathers forces and rides to the underworld to rescue Creiddylad, where he and his men are captured and some are tortured and killed. Eventually, King Arthur shows up in the underworld and forces Gwyn to release Gwythyr and his men. He also takes Creiddylad home with him and commands that she will reside there with her father (Hermes leading Persephone from the underworld and returning her to Demeter). Arthur also decrees that each year on May Day, Gwyn and Gwythyr will duel for Creiddylads hand, but that neither shall win her love until Judgement Day. And until that day, she will remain in the home of her father, Lludd Silver Hand.
The Battle of the Oak King and Holly King for the May Queen
Gwythyr and Gwyn are typical archetypes of the Oak King and Holly King myth.
Gwythyr, being the chivalrous knight of King Arthurs Court, is personified in the Oak King, the symbol of summer, warmth, growth, fertility, and strength.
Gwyn, the ruler of Annwn, is the Holly King, the symbol of the cold, dark winters, where the only greenery that survives are those that represent the Holly King himself, the evergreens.
Creiddylad, the beautiful maiden, the goddess of love and flowers, is personified in the May Queen.
Each year, on May Day, the liminal day between winter and summer, the two kings battle it out for the love of their May Queen, who emerges from the darkness of the cold, long, winter, to shed her warmth upon the land, and wake up the flora and fauna that had slept through the cold months.
The interweaving of the ribbons during Maypole dances represents this intertwining of the masculine forces of the kings with the feminine force of the May Queen, the Goddess Creiddylad.
Though Coventina is widely regarded as a goddess of great importance to the ancient Celts and the Romano-British culture, there is very little known about her or her origins.
What we do know is that Coventina was a goddess of wells and springs and that quite a few inscriptions were discovered to and of her in Northumberland near Hadrian?s Wall. On the Northumberland moors, there is a temple or shrine dedicated to Coventina, where a well had been built over the spring, now called Coventina?s Well.
A short story about Coventina can be found in Stories From the Northern Frontier by Newcastle University?s Museum of Antiquities, and it goes like this:
?A long time ago in the wild and peaty moors of Northumberland, there lived Coventina, a beautiful goddess of a spring where the native people and animals visited her and drank the cool, refreshing water. One day Roman engineers arrived and ordered soldiers to build a wall stretching from the horizon where the sun rose to that where the sun set. The soldiers needed freshwater, and they constructed a square wall around Coventina?s spring to make a well. They piped the water to their fort and the soldiers and their families visited offering gifts in return for the goddess? help.
Years later the new Christian religion spread throughout the Roman world. Emperor Constantine commanded that the temples and shrines to Roman gods be demolished. People carefully took down Coventina?s altars and incense burners and placed them gently in the well. In time the Roman army marched away and was never seen again. For centuries, Coventina and her treasures remained unnoticed and unloved.?
There is some truth to this story, as when the well and surrounding areas were excavated in 1876, more than 13,000 coins, as well as incense burners, jewelry, and carved stones, were discovered.
Some believe it wasn?t soldiers who constructed the well, but rather Coventina?s worshippers. It is believed that they covered the spring with stones and building blocks in an attempt to conceal it, after Emperor Theodosius I ordered the destruction of all temples and shrines dedicated to the old gods and goddesses in AD 391.
The Wishing Well
Have you ever tossed coins into a fountain or well, closed your eyes and made a wish? We all have. But have you ever stopped to think about where that tradition originated?
There is a reason that when excavated, 13,000 coins were found in Coventina?s Well. That?s because it?s believed that her well was the origin of the Wishing Well lore.
For the Celts, water was always believed to have magic properties. It was life-giving and healing. And all bodies of water, be it an ocean or a small spring, were inhabited by deities. Coventina was believed to be a goddess of sympathetic magick – like attracts like. So her devotees, in the hopes that she would grant them some form of sympathetic magick, would toss coins into her well and say a prayer to her, asking for help.
And thus, the tradition of the Wishing Well was born.
Depictions of Coventina
Being a water goddess (sometimes called the Queen of River Goddesses), Coventina represented abundance, prophecy, inspiration, and sometimes (depending on who you speak to) healing.
Though there were no artifacts excavated at Coventina?s Well to suggest that she was worshipped as a goddess of healing, the fact that she was a water goddess is why she?s often also depicted as a healer. As mentioned earlier, especially to the ancient Celts, water equaled healing.
In statues and bas relief excavated both at her site in the Northumberland moors, as well as other places around Europe, like Gaul, France, Coventina is depicted as a water nymph. Often laying on a water lily or reclining in water. In one particular Roman-style bas relief found at Carrawburgh, where her well is located, she is portrayed as a triune. A triple goddess taking the form of three water nymphs pouring water from amphorae.
Though she is not as well known as other ancient deities these days, in her time, Coventina was held in high regard by her devotees and was given high ranking titles such as Sancta, which means holy, and Augusta, which means revered.
To learn more about Coventina as well as other ancient gods and goddesses, visit us at Coven Cloud. Welcome home.