In this section I wanted to talk about Deity and It's different aspects. While I would normally include in this in the first week's lessons I wanted to spread this out rather then shove it all out there at once.
The Goddess can be found in everything in your life. From the light to the dark, from the good to the bad. This may seem contradictory, but oftentimes in something bad something good can be found. Even at the end of life, for death is not a sad time for the deceased, simply a time of rest before they are born again. So be at peace for you shall rejoin them in time.
You may find Her in the Moon in all its phases. In the arms of your lover or in the embrace of friends. She can be found in many places you have only to look and call for her.
When Wicca and paganism first began there were was the idea that to validate this new religion, we had to seek for validation in the past. We spun tales of Goddess worship unintterupted back through the centuries. Stories sprung up about covens in families that could trace the lineage back to the days of Rome or even further. Now don't get me wrong these stories may be true but for me it is does not matter for while evidence that Wicca goes back further into history than the 1940's or 1950's is lacking, there is plenty of evidence that the Goddess, in one form another, was worshipped by people in the past. Whether they called her Isis or Astarte, Venus or Ishtar, Kali or Morganna, She has been worshipped. And although many of the ancient practices are missing or incomplete, it does not make our own method of practice and worship inferior or incomplete, because in the end it is not about doing as others have done before, rather it is about our own personal connection to the Goddess; The Mother of all that is.
We can seek to unlock the mysteries of the past to better understand Her, but if it interferes with your honor of Her what good has the seeking done?
This is the aspect of the Goddess pertaining to Youth and Innocence. She is the Eternal Virgin but not in the patriacharchal sense of a woman before sex or marriage but in the older sense of the word, a woman that belongs only to herself.
The Maiden aspect has many lessons for us. To love without bounds, to view the world through the eyes of innocence and to live in the moment. Through her we learn mercy and compassion. She is also a goddess of passion and gracefulness.
But as much as the Maiden lives in the now, she does not forget her duties. Nor does she let her innocence allow her to be taken advantage of. She is the Huntress, the Warrior Queen as much as she is the Midwife and the Gardener.
There are many Goddesses that fall into this aspect. One example is Artemis who was born after a short and painless labor. After her birth she then turned around and became midwife and nurturer to her Mother, Leto, and helped her mother to give birth to her own twin brother Apollo. Because of this Artemis became the Goddess of childbirth, the protector of children, and the goddess who listened most closely to the appeals of women. This Goddess' association with the wilderness around us, symbolized her own untamed nature. Because of her independence she became the best huntress of the Gods. She was also often depicted carrying a torch to light the way for others, leading them through territories yet uncharted.
There is also the Goddess Kuan Yin who's story best tells us about her. In her youth she was Miao Shan a maiden that wanted to become a Buddhist nun but was forbidden to do so by her Father. He tried to have her married off and when she refused he sent soldiers to kill her. She was saved by a tiger but then descended into the Land of the Dead and freed the souls in bondage there. Rose again and was greeted by Buddha himself who sent her into hiding on the isle of P'u T'o Shan where she reached enlightenment. Yet her suffering had taught her mercy and compassion so that she stopped short and turned back with the pledge to save mankind. That she would not reach enlightenment until everyone else before her reached there.
The Mother is an aspect of the Goddess that at first glance seems self-explanatory. The Mother is the mother right? While she is that nurturing force, she is also self-sacrifice personified. But not self-sacrifice for its sake, rather she will sacrifice her needs and desires and even herself for her children and those she loves.
As the Maiden was the Virgin, so has the Mother commited herself to her lover and to her children. Now that she is grown older she can no longer worry only about today and how she is affected, for she has brought new life into the world and she carries that responsibility.
She is the gateway to life and the womb that grows the seed. She is the Moon and the Earth and the controller of tides. She is universal love and the path to peace.
Demeter as the Goddess of grain and fertility was an important deity to the ancient Greeks. She was the mother of Persephone who was also called Kore. And in that story we see the dedication found in this aspect. She never stopped seeking for her lost daughter and when she found her she braved all things, even death, to rescue her.
Before her marriage to Zeus, Hera was called the Queen of Heaven because she ruled over the heavens and the earth and was responsible for every aspect of existence, including the seasons and the weather. She was also known as Juno in the Roman pantheon, the Goddess of weddings. Her sacred animals were the peacock and the cow. The cow symbolizing Hera's watchfulness over her children and the peacock symbolizes her beauty and immortality. She has been called upon in olden days to bless and protect a woman's marriage. Bringing fertility and protection for her children.
Who is the Crone? She is the one who, wrapped in mystery, brings the wisdom that is key to unlock the ancient mysteries. She is blunt and sometimes harsh but that is only because she has learned the value of unfettered honesty. The end of her life draws near and she has no time to indulge people in their illusions. She can be turned to when the world has baffled you, because she has lived a long life and more likely then not she has already solved the puzzle that faces you.
See her face in the dark of the Moon and the cool night shadows and look within to know that she has always been with you from birth through death. She is the tomb that is the womb that leads from death into the rebirth and new life.
The Crone goddess of the Welsh was Cerridwen. A shape-shifting goddess of divination and enchantment. Her cauldron is a symbol of death and of life. It represents the womb and the tomb through which we have all passed and will pass again.
Her cauldron can contain the elixir of immortality that allows us to pass through death and into rebirth to live again. It may also contain the waters of Knowledge. Which would make it the Grail that Arthur seeked so long for. For a king of the Celts ruled by the will of the Goddess.
The ancient race of the Slavs worshipped a Goddess called Baba Yaga. She is the old crone that guards the Water of Life and Death. She is oftentimes represented as the wild untamed forces of nature but as we know the storm brings the water of life allowing for rebirth.
Her symbols are the birch tree, the tree of beginnings and endings. She was also known as the White Lady as she is stiff and white and carved of bone.