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.
The Greek goddess Demeter, the motherly goddess of harvest and agriculture, had a daughter with her brother Zeus
. Many aspects of ancient Greek art are still evident in modern media, including statues of gods, goddesses, and even some of the minor deities that we never hear about today. There’s a reason why there’s still so much interest in these images after thousands of years: there’s more to them than meets the eye.
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.
With so many different pantheons out there, it can be difficult to know the difference between them, or be able to sort out which one’s which off the top of your head. We’re going to take a look at six pantheons in this blog, giving an overview of each and comparing and contrasting them in sets of two.
The pantheons we’ll be delving into today will be Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Sumerian, Norse, and Celtic. But first, what exactly is a pantheon? It’s a collection of all the gods of a specific polytheistic religion, tradition, or mythology. Some pantheons have less than 10 deities, while some have thousands.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the two most well known ancient pantheons out there.
Greek Vs Roman
Ancient Greek mythology predates that of the Romans by around 1,000 years. Despite that time difference, the two religions have much in common. This will be the only comparison in which we’ll be able to make a table like this because for every Greek God out there, there is a Roman counterpart. And it wasn’t just the original 12 Olympians that found themselves copied in Roman Mythology. The majority of lesser gods and goddesses, as well as personifications, like the Fates, found Roman Counterparts as well.
|Greek Pantheon||Roman Pantheon|
The mythologies of the Greek and Roman pantheons as we know them today were both compiled in literary works. Circa the 8th century BC, Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey, detailing numerous Greek myths. Between 29 and 19 BC, Virgil composed the epic the Aeneid, which chronicled Aeneas’ travels to Italy from his home of Troy. Throughout the poem, Roman gods and goddesses are depicted, and, like the Iliad and the Odyssey, the myths and legends of Rome are told.
Gender and Appearance
So now that we’ve discussed the things that these two pantheons have in common, let’s take a look at their differences. First and foremost, despite the fact that we have the tendency to assign them genders, the Roman pantheon weren’t actually gender specific, whereas the Greek gods and goddess were, and were always assigned human-like traits.
The two mythologies also differed in the way they appeared to mortals. The Greek gods were beautiful in every way. They were, essentially, the perfect representation of human-like physical traits. This was not something that the Romans copied from the Greeks. In Roman mythology, the gods and goddesses did not have a physical form. Any depiction or representation of them in sculpture, painting, or pottery comes solely from the imagination of the sculptor, painter, or potter.
Though Greek mythology didn’t place much emphasis on the afterlife – as their importance was placed on life on earth, instead of the eventuality of an afterlife – we do know that the Underworld played a pivotal role in many of their myths. Unlike many other religions, however, the souls of the dead did not face judgement upon their death. Ruled by Hades and filled with rivers – Style, the most prominent of the Underworld rivers; the Acheron, the river of misery; the Phlegethon, the river of fire; the Cocytus, the river of wailing; and the Lethe, the river of forgetfulness – souls of the dead would arrive at the banks of the River Styx upon their death. Buried with a coin beneath their tongue with which to pay Charon, the Ferryman, they would be ferried across Styx and into Hades’ realm.
Roman mythology placed much more emphasis on mortals doing good deeds so that they would be rewarded in the afterlife. As usual, borrowing from Greek mythology, when a Roman soul left its body, the god Mercury would escort them to the River Styx, where they would wait to be carried into the Underworld by Charon. There, they would go in front of Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Aenaeus, who would judge them and thus determine the next step of their journey. If they were deemed to have been good people in life, they would move on to paradise – ordinary people went to Asphodel Meadows, while warriors went onto the Fields of Elysium. If, however, they were deemed to have been bad people in life and had a debt to be paid, they would go to Tartarus, where they would be tortured by the Furies until their debt was paid.
Egyptian Vs. Sumerian
The Egyptian and Sumerian civilizations are often compared because of the fact that they’re two of the most ancient civilizations for which we still have written records. They both built their civilizations near fertile rivers – the Egyptians on the banks of the Nile, and the Sumerians on the floodplains of the Euphrates and Tigris. They also both created forms of writing, with the Sumerians’ Cuneiform being the oldest form of written language ever documented.
But that’s about where the similarities end. So let’s take a look at the differences between the two ancient civilizations.
Sumerian: The Sumerians were one of the first civilizations to develop a writing system emerging from the proto-writing of their ancestors. Their writing system was called Cuneiform after the wedge-shaped writing utensil they used. It was written on clay tablets and fired in a kiln to preserve the text.
Egyptians: The Egyptians used Hieroglyphics to document information and record history. Aside from being etched into temple walls and other sacred objects, they recorded stories, history, medical information, and rituals – among other things – on sheets of papyrus, which they made from reeds farmed from the Nile floodplains.
Sumerian: It’s difficult to pin down the exact pantheon of the Sumerians, as the clay tablets that have survived give different accounts. Some say that the original pantheon consisted only of the four main gods, An, god of the heavens; Enki, god of water, creation, and knowledge; Enlil, god of storms and wind; and Ninhursag, goddess of earth and fertility (some say that Ki was the goddess of earth, brother and consort to An). While others state that they worshipped The Seven Gods Who Decree, which included the four named above, as well as Utu, god of the sun, justice, and truth; Inanna, goddess of the love, beauty, sex, and war; and Nanna, god of the moon. The Sumerians also worshipped the Anunnaki, descendants of An and Ki, who were worshipped as Fate Deities.
Egyptian: The Egyptian Pantheon consisted of some main gods and goddesses, but in total, over 2,000 deities were worshipped throughout the land. The main deities worshipped in ancient Egypt were Osiris, god of the underworld; Isis, the Great Mother, wife of Osiris, goddess of magic, healing, fertility, motherhood, death, and rebirth; Horus, son of Osiris and Isis, god of the sky, hunting, and war; Set (or Seth), god of chaos, violence, and storms; Ptah, god of craftsmen, builders, and architects; Ra; the sun god; Hathor, “the Lady of the West,” goddess of motherhood and fertility; Anubis, god of death, embalming, mummification, cemeteries, and the afterlife; Thoth, the god of wisdom and writing; Bastet (or Bast), the cat goddess; and Amon, (prior to merging with Ra to become Amun-Ra) the “Hidden One,” god of the air.
The Sumerians: As the Sumerians were vulnerable to attack, they tended to live quite a volatile existence, their burial practices reflected that. They didn’t go to the great, elaborate lengths that many of the Egyptians went through to prepare their dead for the afterlife. Bodies were often wrapped in reed mats or placed in coffins and were buried in cemeteries, complete with markers, or under the homes of relatives in dug-out tombs.
The Egyptians: Though we all know about ancient Egyptian mummification, it was a practice that was usually only reserved for the wealthier members of society, as it was expensive and time-consuming. For the most part, upon their death, regular citizens were buried in simple pits in the desert. But for the wealthiest members of society, it was believed that the mummification and funerary process would prepare them for the afterlife. They were placed in elaborate sarcophagi with their organs placed in canopic jars placed in the tombs with them. Also in the tombs were items of importance, gold and jewels, food, clothing, and even their beloved pets. All things they would need to live happily in the afterlife.
The Sumerians: The Sumerian Afterlife was a dark, gloomy underworld known as Kur. It was overseen by the goddess Ereshkigal, and people wished to avoid going there for as long as possible. Despite being constantly hungry and thirsty, souls in the afterlife had nothing to eat or drink but dust, unless a family member visited their grave and left offerings of food and drink. Eternal existence in Kur was nothing but gloom, and souls were neither rewarded for their deeds in life nor punished for them. If Heaven is white and Hell is black, Kur was nothing but dull greyness. The only beings to avoid such a dull eternal afterlife were babies who were stillborn, who, according to Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh, would “play at a table of gold and silver, laden with honey and ghee.”
The Egyptians: The Egyptian beliefs of the afterlife were very different from the Sumerians. In ancient Egypt, when a person died, they would go in front of Anubis and Thoth in the Hall of Two Truths, where their heart was weighed on a scale against one of Ma’at’s (the goddess of truth and justice) feathers. If the heart was lighter than or balanced with the feather, it meant the person had led a good and decent life, and they would be deemed worthy enough to spend their immortal afterlife with Osiris in the Field of Reeds. However, if the heart was heavier than the Ma’at’s feather, it would be devoured by the crocodile-headed goddess Ammit, “The Devourer of the Dead,” and their soul would spend eternity restless and wandering. This was considered dying a second time.
Norse Vs. Celtic
Our last comparison in this blog is the pantheons of the Norse and Celtic mythologies. There are not many similarities between these two mythologies, aside from the fact that they were created within a couple hundred years of one another, as far as we can tell. A lot of their mythologies also come to us through written works, like the Greeks and the Romans. For the Norse, there is the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda, and for the Celtics, there is Lebor Gabála Érenn, or the Book of Invasions. From these two works, we glean much of the information we know today about these ancient pantheons.
The Norse: The Norse pantheon consisted of two tribes of gods. The Æsir and the Vanir. The Vanir are considered Old Gods, and include:
- Njörðr, the god of merchants, the sea, and wealth.
- Freyr, god of abundance and fertility.
- Freya, sister to Freyr, goddess of love and fertility.
- Gullveig, the personification of gold.
- Nerthus, associated with fertility and goddess of water.
While the Æsir are the main pantheon of gods and goddesses of Norse mythology. Among the Æsir are:
- Odin, the Allfather and Chief of the Æsir. He was the god of poetry, war, wisdom, healing, and death, among many other things.
- Thor, the god of thunder, lightning, strength, sacred trees and groves, fertility, and was the protector of mankind.
- Baldr, the god of light, happiness, beauty, and love.
- Vidar, the god of vengeance.
- Vali, who was born solely for the purpose of avenging his brother Baldr.
- Bragi, the god of skaldic poetry.
- Heimdall, the guardian of the Bifrost, the bridge between Asgard and Midgard.
- Tyr, the god of war. He decides who it is that wins a battle.
- Ullr, son of Sif, Thor’s wife, god of archery.
- Forseti, the god of reconciliation and justice.
- Frigg, wife of Odin, Queen of Asgard, goddess of love and fate.
While the Celtic pantheon is a bit harder to tie down because there were so many gods and goddesses worshipped throughout the entirety of the mythology, we do know that the main pantheon consists of what is called the Tuatha Dé Danann. The most prominent members of the Tuatha Dé Danann include:
- The Dagda, who was the chief god of the pantheon.
- The Morrigan, the goddess of fate and war.
- Lugh, a master craftsman, warrior, king, and savior. Associated with law, truth, and oaths.
- Nuada Airgetlám, the first king of the Tuatha Dé Danann before they came to Ireland.
- Aengus, the god of love, youth, and poetic inspiration.
- Brigid, daughter of the Dagda, goddess of poetry, wisdom, healing, domesticated animals, blacksmithing, and healing.
- Manannán, king of the underworld and a god of the sea.
- Dian Cecht, god of healing.
- Goibniu, god of blacksmithing and metalworking.
The Norse: The Norse actually had five different realms to which the dead would go, depending on their nature during life. The most well-known of these realms is, of course, Valhalla, The Hall of Heroes, the realm where Vikings who died in battle would go, if deemed worthy by Odin. Folkvangr, The Field of the People, is where the other half of those slain in battle would go. It was ruled over by Freya. As for the other three realms, Hel, The Realm of Rán (also called the Coral Caves of Rán), and The Burial Mound (literally where a person was buried), there isn’t really any literature on who went where and why.
The Celts: The Ancient Celts tended to believe in reincarnation, and so would bury their dead with food, clothing, weapons, jewelry, and other goods they would need in their next life. The Celts didn’t have an “afterlife” or “underworld” as such, though they did have the Otherworld, which was a realm inhabited by fairy folk and other supernatural beings, who would often try and entice mortals to their realm. Some scholars claim that the Otherworld was the Celtic underworld, but there are not ancient texts to back that up.
Here is where you’re going to see some similarities between Norse Mythology and Celtic Mythology. As was often with ancient religions in those days, maybe of their holy days coincided.
|Date||Norse Holy Day||Celtic Holy Day|
|October 31st/November 1st – The end of Harvest Season||Vetrnaetr||Samhain|
|February 1st/2nd – The start of Planting Season||Disablot||Imbolc/Imbolgc|
|April 30th/May 1st – The start of Spring||Walpurgisnacht||Beltane|
|August 1st – The first harvest of the year||Freysblot||Lughnasadh|
Though there are so many different pantheons and mythologies out there, we thought we’d give you a little head start in your research (because who doesn’t love researching this kind of stuff, honestly), but comparing and contrasting six of the most well known mythologies out there.
Did we miss one you wanted to see? Let us know!
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.
Greek mythology has given us many of the most enduring figures in Western culture, from Zeus and his wife Hera to the tragic figure of Prometheus. But who were these Gods and Goddesses? How did they rise to power? This list of the most important deities in the Greek pantheon will help you understand their power, personality, and divine responsibilities.
When Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, it didnt come without controversy. The Romans saw Christians as hostile heathens who rejected the religion of their ancestors. But many of the customs practiced by early Christians were actually borrowed from the pagans they so despised, all as a means of converting the Pagans to Christianity. Here are the 10 most mind-blowing ways Christianity stole from Paganism!
1) The Number 12
The number 12 has an important place in both Pagan and Christian traditions. Pagans worshipped a number of gods, usually 12, but also 22, 32, or 36 depending on the region. Early Christians paid homage to Jesus 12 apostles and even today it is said that he will return to Earth with his 12 disciples. Likewise, early Pagans often built temples in groups of 12, with circular designs like Stonehenge (in England) or The Sanctuary at Corsepius (in Turkey). Today, Christians are encouraged to welcome Jesus into their lives through 12 steps programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. 12 is also considered a good omen because many people believe it has no imperfections.
2) Christmas Trees
Early Christians were called tree worshippers by Romans who noted their custom of decorating Christmas trees during holidays. The first documented use of Christmas trees was in Germany in 1521. The ancient Greeks and Scandinavians also decorated trees to celebrate the Winter Solstice, but it is uncertain if they were using evergreen or just hung ornaments on their trees. Early Pagans would bring evergreen branches into their homes and decorate them to bring light and life into the home during the dreary winter months. It has been suggested that Pagan cults worshipped sacred groves of evergreens, thus giving rise to modern-day Christmas tree traditions, but there is no hard evidence to support these theories.
If youve ever partaken in a Communion service, youre familiar with its origins: Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding by turning water into wine. (The first documented Communion ritual was practiced in Alexandria and involved bread and wine.) The fish symbol appeared on early Christian tombstones and other artifacts as a nod to Jesus, who stated that he will make you fishers of men. But the reality is that the symbol of the fish finds its roots in Paganism. The Christian symbol of the fish, called the Ichthys, even gets its name from a Pagan God, coincidentally named Ichthys, who was the son of the sea goddess, Atargatis, in Babylonian mythology. Pagans worshipped the symbol of the fish, often drawn by two intersecting crescent moons, as a symbol of fertility, believing it resembled a womans womb, thus representing the monthly cycle.
In ancient times, humans used fire as a tool for cooking, keeping warm, and light. In addition to these benefits, fire also had religious significance in many cultures. It was believed that divine forces were responsible for providing fire to humankind and so certain rituals were performed to appease these gods. Fire rituals were performed by Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Hebrews, Incas, Native Americans, and many other cultures around the world. One of these Pagan beliefs is represented in Christmas celebrations where families gather together around a Christmas tree, which has lights adorned on it. Lights that, in ancient times, were actual candles, not the string lights we see today.
5) Easter and Easter Eggs
Pagans and Christians alike observed that eggs were a magical and unique thing: they start out in a lifeless shell and turn into a living, breathing animal over time. It didnt take long for Pagans to adopt eggs as symbolic of new life, springtime, and transformation, while in Christianity, eggs, and Easter eggs, in particular, symbolize Jesus resurrection and emerging from his tomb after three days. Like with many Christian holy days, the holiday known today as Easter got its origins from the Pagan festival of Ostara, a celebration of the Vernal Equinox.
6) The Virgin Birth
Think Mary was the first virgin to give birth to a god, demi-god, or son of God? Think again! Virgin births have been around in mythologies for centuries before Jesus. One of the earliest mythologies of an immaculate conception was that of the Egyptian God Horus, borne of the virgin Isis. Other virgin births prior to Jesus consist of Zoroaster, Mithra (whos birthday is also written as December 25th), Krishna, and the Tien-Tse (Sons of Heaven) in China, among others.
7) Death and Resurrection
Like the myth of the virgin birth, Jesus resurrection cannot be solely (or even primarily) attributed to Christianity. 5000 years before Jesus death and resurrection, the Egyptian God, Osiris was killed and resurrected (more than once!). Osiris son, Horus, was also killed and resurrected. Moving onto Greek mythology, Adonis, Hermes, Dionysus, and Herakles all died and were resurrected. Other deities who were killed and subsequently resurrected include Tammuz of Babylonian mythology, Zarathustra, Mithra, and Krishna. The latter of which was believed to be crucified as well.
8) Longer Days at Easter
The earliest Christians may have decided to celebrate Easter on a Sunday because it meant they could worship for longer. During some years, Easter would be celebrated on April 21st or 22nd, rather than March 25thbut Christians still kept their firstfruits celebrations by congregating in church. Pagans, on the other hand, held celebrations at night since they thought thats when spirits were most likely to wander into our world. Its no wonder that Christians started celebrating Easter sunrise services!
9) Sunday Rest Days
The ancient Romans had a day of rest on Sunday. The ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Persians, and even ancient Jews had a concept of a day of rest. Some have speculated that Christians stole their Sabbath from Pagans, but its possible that all religions were taking a page from history.
The Christmas tree tradition can be traced to Pagan practices in Germanic Europe. Heathens decorated fir trees in honor of their god, Thor, around December 24the same day that early Christians used to celebrate Christs birth. But the theft from Paganism goes far deeper than simply Christmas trees. The entire holiday of Christmas – you know, the supposed day of Jesus birth? – was stolen from the Germanic celebration of Yule, and the Roman festival of Saturnalia. Though it is widely accepted that Jesus birth coincides with Christmas Day, historical texts suggest that Jesus was, instead, born in the Spring, however, in an effort to convert Pagans, who were very attached to their holy days, early Christians adopted Pagan celebrations and renamed them.
Written by Vehemence
Cana Cludhmor (also known as Canola), was a Celtic Goddess of Inspiration and Creativity and inventor of the harp (Lyre), Ireland’s long-loved symbol and the core of traditional Irish music. Her story begins with something trivial: a lover’s quarrel.
As mythology tells it, one fine day, Canola had an argument with her lover, Machuel. Although she was a goddess, as an intermediary between our physical world and the infinite Source of All, she felt emotions just like mortal humans. So, like any mortal woman who’s had a falling-out with her man, Canola was a little…vexed. And the best way to deal with strong emotions was to get some air, so Canola went out for a late-night walk to clear her head.
She decided to walk along the seashore, hoping to calm down and feel the peace and beauty of nature. Suddenly, she heard beautiful, haunting music drifting over to her in the wind. It was so enchanting and compelling that she completely forgot her anger and sat down to listen more intently to the melody. She was lulled into a deep sleep as the music continued to wash over her, calming her soul.
Upon awakening in the light of morning, the music was still floating along, and she just had to find where it was coming from. After searching for some time she found its origin – and it was quite a surprise. The music was emanating from the carcass of a giant whale laying on the beach. The wind was gently strumming the notes across dried sinews still attached to the rib-bones of the whale. Even in the death of a beautiful creature, Mother Nature made something alive and beautiful. What a gift!
While sleeping, Canola’s mind, stroked by the wonderful notes, was full of marvellous dreams. Upon witnessing the unique gift offered to her by Mother Goddess, inspiration struck Canola and she was moved to try and recreate this wondrous, natural resonance. Canola, filled with creative intelligence, forged the harp (Lyre), Ireland’s national emblem to this day.
The harp is believed to symbolize the immortality of the soul and the eternal circle of life. Dane Rudhyar, in a 1922 lecture in New York City, said that the original, primeval harp was shaped like a bow or a half-circle. He also adds that the circle represents the unmanifest (the spirit world) while the half-circle represents the manifest (the physical world). These two shapes help us understand the eternal cycle of life.
Canola created the Irish harp, a unique, exquisite instrument that captures the haunting melodies of the universe, inspired by the perfect dance of nature. The harp, the Irish Goddess’ gift to the people of Ireland, continues to depict the eternal nature of life.
Canola is known as the patron Goddess of musicians and bards. Call on Canola for inspiration in your creative endeavours and look to her while practicing dreamwork and magic. She reminds us that the universe is made up of vibration and frequency and that we are all cosmic beings in this great journey of life, death and rebirth.