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Veritas, Goddess of Truth

May 8, 2016 1 Comment

Harvard motto

Harvard motto

In ancient Rome the goddess Veritas ruled truth and sincerity. In Greece she was known as Altheia, and is mentioned in Aesops Fables:

Aesop, Fables 531 (from Babrius 126) (trans. Gibbs) (Greek fable C6th B.C.) :
“A man was journeying in the wilderness and he found Veritas [Aletheia, Truth] standing there all alone. He said to her, ‘Ancient lady, why do you dwell here in the wilderness, leaving the city behind?’ From the great depths of her wisdom, Veritas (Truth) replied, ‘Among the people of old, lies were found among only a few, but now they have spread throughout all of human society!’”
[N.B. This fable is preserved only in a Latin text. Aesop’s Aletheia (Truth personified) becomes Veritas in the Latin.]

Her father is Saturn in Rome and Zeus in Greece.  One creation story found in Aesop’s Fables tells us how she was created by Prometheus along with her arch enemy Mendacium.  She is the mother of virtue.  Her name is often included in mottos.  Harvard’s motto is simply Veritas.  The pursuit of truth was considered to be an essential part of Roman citizens’ duty.  To discern and tell the truth is a full time job.   Forgery and subterfuge are everywhere and always will be.  The difference between Veritas and Mendacium is feet.  Mendacity literally has not feet on which to stand.  Veracity walks away with conviction.

Aesop, Fables 530 (from Phaedrus Appendix 5) :
“Prometheus, that potter who gave shape to our new generation, decided one day to sculpt the form of Veritas [Aletheia, Truth], using all his skill so that she would be able to regulate people’s behaviour. As he was working, an unexpected summons from mighty Jupiter [Zeus] called him away. Prometheus left cunning Dolus (Trickery) in charge of his workshop, Dolus had recently become one of the god’s apprentices. Fired by ambition, Dolus (Trickery) used the time at his disposal to fashion with his sly fingers a figure of the same size and appearance as Veritas [Aletheia, Truth] with identical features. When he had almost completed the piece, which was truly remarkable, he ran out of clay to use for her feet. The master returned, so Dolus (Trickery) quickly sat down in his seat, quaking with fear. Prometheus was amazed at the similarity of the two statues and wanted it to seem as if all the credit were due to his own skill. Therefore, he put both statues in the kiln and when they had been thoroughly baked, he infused them both with life: sacred Veritas (Truth) walked with measured steps, while her unfinished twin stood stuck in her tracks. That forgery, that product of subterfuge, thus acquired the name of Mendacium [Pseudologos, Falsehood], and I readily agree with people who say that she has no feet: every once in a while something that is false can start off successfully, but with time Veritas (Truth) is sure to prevail.”
[N.B. This fable is preserved only in a Latin text. Aesop’s Aletheia (Truth personified) becomes Veritas in the Latin.]

These fables are useful to us during the campaign season during which a large part of our job is to distinguish truth from rhetorical and cultural beliefs.  It has never been more important for us to verify what we believe.

Iris, Rainbow Goddess

April 23, 2016 2 Comments

Liquid colors dripping down the landscape washing the background with rain

Iris connects the magical eternal womb of life to earth’s never-ending thirst

Rivers gather force falling down the mountainside, bring relief as well as pain

The dark sky full of swiftly traveling heavy clouds has explosively dispersed

Light to follow darkness, rainbow bridge from now to then, from here to there

Mystical highway to heaven, optical affirmation of higher power in glorious display

The fading intensity of stormy connection to nature is both common and rare

Colors draw a map to her pot of gold, the secret light no darkness can betray



This April ride the poetry train at #NaPoWriMo to find poetry and submit your own work.

Feng Po, Goddess of the Wind

May 26, 2015 3 Comments

Mistress of the Wind

Mistress of the Wind

In China the goddess Feng Po is in charge of wild animals, weather and movement. She must certainly be involved in global warming. She is seen riding a tiger.  She holds the wind in a bag over her shoulder on the days when it is calm on earth.  She has the power to move and or shake things into place.  Her message is integrity. Representing the winds of change, she must discern the most appropriate velocity of wind for each purpose. Her energy can be very refreshing, cleansing and clearing the air for new ventures.  Think of how many metaphors there are in English for this breath of fresh air.

Like other gods and humans she has a dark nature that is dangerous.  She warns against all false agreements and conditions.  Move carefully through your obligations and promises to others.  Giving requires a cheerful heart.  Quid pro quo, expecting something in return for favors, leads to resentment.  Feng Po teaches a healthy balanced approach to the needs of others.  If we allow space, time, and understanding into our decision making process we will be authentic.  We will say yes only when we genuinely want to engage, and we will discover the beauty of saying no when we are really not into it.  Feng Po will support and stay at the back of the sincere sailor on the winds of change.  She is known to reek havoc, unleashing stormy gusts of destruction to tear down bonds built from guilt.  She is sometimes called Feng Po Po, and even sometimes referred to as a male.  She represents the value in conserving and preserving energy, and spending it wisely.  On a personal basis she shows us how to say no to time wasting.  On a global level she asks us to make some sense of the power balance at work around the world.  We need to resist certain larger issues on the world stage in order to survive.  It is time to both show power and control it wisely.

Lyssa, Stark Raving Mad

May 23, 2015 1 Comment

May is mental health month, so I want to pay a tribute to Lyssa, the Greek goddess of rage, rabies, and madness. In Rome she became known as Furor.  She is the daughter of Nyx and Erebus, who was ruler of the underworld.  She hangs out with other terrifying qualities like death and darkness, but she represents sudden uncontrollable rage and frenzy.  Her sisters are vengeance and retribution.  This is one very angry family.  Lyssa is seen in the company of dogs because of her rabies association.  Fits like rabies are attributed to her influence.  She is the messenger the gods send to drive a victim into madness.

What does this character have to do with mental health?  The acknowledgement that rage, fury, and madness really exist is very good because they do.  The pantheon portrayal of mad dogs suggests that this misfortune can befall anyone.  In Athenian tragedy she is a figure who has the power to drive humans and dogs suddenly out of their wits.  Madness itself is a character that plays central roles in the plays of Aeschylus, Euripides and others. Anger, and repressed anger create illness and depression when left unattended.  The sudden and supernatural anger experienced by victims of Lyssa show dark rage as a curse.    Tragedy follows angry outbursts in these stories teaching the dangers of explosive fury.

It would be impossible to go through life without anger entirely.  Some of us have more than others.  Our mental health and well being depend on our relationship with anger.  Finding constructive ways to engage in happiness producing activities is a life long search. Learning to control stress and personal need to be right can make the difference between a close relationship with Lyssa and her sisters and a walk in the park.  Learn to recognize and avoid this goddess. Here she is dressed in a short hunting skirt, driving dogs mad and causing them to eat their master Actaeon:

Lyssa and Actaeon

Lyssa and Actaeon

If you see her coming run the other way.

Irene, Goddess of Peace and Spring

May 18, 2015 7 Comments

There are several goddesses involved in different aspects of peace.  Spring was a season in ancient Greece associated with military campaigns, therefore a time when peace was hard to achieve. Irene is a daughter of Zeus and Themis, one of the Horai. Along with her sisters she rules natural timing and seasons. Her season is Spring. She is a peace goddess who guards the gates of Mount Olympus. Conscious clear peace is a result of coming into alignment with Divine Time.  Peace and harmony are results of staying in tune with natural rhythm and seasonal harvests.

As mistress of timing and peace Irene is a natural diplomat.  She has the skills and power to negotiate differences between sides to reach solutions. Her symbols, Herme’s staff, corn and the infant Ploutus, represent wealth and abundance.  In times of peace prosperity can flourish and progress can be made.  Now, as in ancient times, war is devastating to both civil and economic success. In personal ways we can employ the wisdom of Irene to bring more peace into our existence.  Take note of the phases of the moon, the seasonal changes around you, and the longer cycles of global warming and dramatic weather.  You don’t have to be a farmer to feel the power of nature’s timekeeping.  How do you fit into the seasons, Gentle Reader?


Tethys, Mother of the Sea

May 5, 2015 5 Comments

Tethys is a Titan goddess, daughter of Gaia and Uranus. Her job title is mother of the sea.  She works together with Nyx and Gaia to form the Titan’s world.  She and her husband Oceanus have 3000 daughters called Oceanids.  Their 3000 sons are fresh water entities called Potamoi.  The earth’s constitution of 80% water is similar to that of our bodies’, 80-90%.  The tides and waves of deep and constant churning represent the emotions, the realm of feelings.  This goddess was mentioned in poetry, but was never worshiped by a cult.  Today one of Saturn’s moons is named for her.  Saturn III, as it is also known, has a low density because it is made of ice , with very little rock.

To ride the tides of outrageous fortune in life we must handle our own emotions and those of people around us.  There may be times the feelings of others threaten to drown us.  It can be difficult to distinguish the heart’s desire from the desires of our loved ones and associates.  The message Tethys brings us is to allow the energy of emotions to flow freely through us.  Stay true to your own heart, and remain open.  The open releasing state allows strong waves to flow through without causing damage.  Go with the current rather than struggle to defend or retain emotional stuff from others.  Your feelings move you to a calm destination when you let go and float on the surface.  There may be turmoil, but you can rise above it.

Goddess Archetype

May 5, 2014 1 Comment

Our own characters often resemble mythological beings in classic stories. Do we portray one myth more than any other? Are we stuck in a certain drama until we finally understand the meaning of it?  The study of archetypes is a study of mythology.  Metaphor and symbolism create stories that resonate with meaning in our lives. The admirable goddess qualities include wisdom, physical grace and strength, sensuality, beauty, and guidance.  In our world today there are many shadow goddesses. The overly indulged celebrities can reflect the shadow goddess.  There is commercial pressure to imitate the unhealthy, perfectionist, unkind diva.  It may be helpful to learn more about the positive myths.

Do you know the stories of any of these goddesses?

  • Quan Yin- Chinese, embodiment of pure compassion
  • Isis-Egyptian, motherhood diety
  • Oshun-Yoruba, water goddess of beauty, love, and pleasure
  • Athena-Greek, patroness of war, politics, and crafts

The associations with female power and myth have been twisted in some modern contexts.  Some study and meditation on the energy of these female figures in mythology can bring us closer to understanding our lives.  Our relationship with Mother Earth could use some work.  Do you bring the goddess concept into your meditations, gentle reader?  Do you have a favorite goddess?

Laverna and the Thief Archetype

April 21, 2014 3 Comments

Stealing is a way of life. Sometimes we are the victims and other times we are the thief.  Laverna is the goddess of darkness and criminal intent.  She is the patron goddess of thieves and robbers.  She teaches a very strong lesson about mortality.  If we value that which can be stolen we will be too involved in a world that has no meaning.  If we, instead, focus our efforts to create  lasting creative work that benefits others it will be impossible to steal those benefits.  Dishonest tradesman pray to her for the power to deceive and persuade.  She is con woman herself who uses trickery to gain advantage over humans.

None of us will go through life without being tricked or robbed.  Frequently these losses are caused by people we know.  Financial ignorance is an aspect of Laverna.  Allowing others to steal energy, time or valuable assets is submission to her power.  The lesson of  what is valuable and can never be taken from you is the wisdom she can bestow.  Looking back at your life you will be able to find times when you felt significantly cheated or robbed.  It is also possible to identify yourself in the role of con artist.  Young children often deceive their parents and siblings, for instance.  Taking a realistic look at the past, what has treachery and robbery taught you, gentle reader?  Have you found that which you own that nobody can steal? Have you ever caught yourself stealing from yourself?




January 13, 2014 1 Comment

Juno is the Roman goddess of childbirth and marriage.  She conceived and gave birth to her son, Mars, the god of anger, by taking an herb given to her by the goddess Flora.  She acts as one of the three guardians of Rome together with Minerva and Jupiter.  Both Juno and Jupiter are said to be able to throw thunderbolts. She was jealous when Jupiter gave birth to a fully armed Minerva from his head, so she gave birth to her own warrior son.

In Thomas Moore’s new book, A Religion of One’s Own, he explains that Juno can be perceived as a guardian angel spirit for women.  Men have similar genius spirits, in a mythological sense.  These guardian angels or personal spirit guides act to individuate and protect people.  It is notable to me that either Jupiter or Juno can give birth to armed warriors for protection. Another key concept brought up in the book that is new to me is that Mars was considered to be a close friend of agriculture.  Mars protected the crops from pests.  Mars represents anger artfully directed, rather than repressed or exploded.  That is why they are called martial arts, not lucha libre.

The idea of protection reminds me that it is fitting and  healing to deal with dark emotions appropriately.  The energy of the thunderbolt throwing parents of Minerva and Mars must be carefully directed and not treated lightly.  War and anger may be a part of life, but they can be used to remove obstructions in an earthly or a spiritual realm.  Primal anger, which we all have, is useful and instructive.  It draws the line, but it can also cause great distress and confusion.  I agree with the idea that we need to be aware of our anger and how we express and use it as an integral part of a personal awakening.   I like the helpful imagery of my full time Juno guarding me, and plan to take her with me all the time.  If you enjoyed a guardian angel as a child, or even if you never did, it is not too late to relate to yours.


December 21, 2013 2 Comments

The Roman goddess of forethought, Providentia, represents the ability to use foresight in human affairs. People study trends in markets today with extreme gravity.  Currency exchanges, Bitcoin, and all participants in commerce want to know where  markets will go in the future.  We know nothing in commerce is static; Graphs and charts can advise us about momentum and direction.  There is still an element of divine providence in all transactions, acknowledged or not.

Providentia is a philosophical element, a force, a power.  A combination of study and meditation is required to make prudent plans for the future.  We may not know what will happen, but if we quiet our mind and listen rather than busy ourselves to distraction, we develop awareness that can guide us.  Her image has been used on coins to show that the coin itself is a symbolic gesture.  Abundance, wealth, and good fortune all depend on the whim of providence. You can plan to engage this energy by:

  • Prudently spending your wealth
  • Sharing your talents as well as your material fortune
  • Trusting intuition
  • Providing for others in meaningful ways

In order to trust in providence one must be in touch with it. Remember times when you received surprise support and encouragement, or a special financial windfall.  The element of surprise can be used to spread your good luck.  Look for ways to use your resources to uplift the lives of others.

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