THE GODDESS YEAR
The year is a
The year is a
Want to shift the dominant paradigm and make a new society? What could be more effective than re-framing our holy day celebrations in female? Imagine a world where Women's Blood Mysteries are widely and openly celebrated. Where women's Giving Birth, Menstruation, Making Love, Lactating, Menopause, Death, Immortality and Inspiration are understood as expressions of the Goddess' sacred rites of passage. This wheel of the year, illustrated above and explained below, represents a significant departure, not only from standard patriarchal calendars, but also from holiday practices common among most pagans today. Many of us are tuning in to the Equinoxes, the Solstices, and the four points between, and honoring the seasons of Mother Earth. Many het pagans recognize the birth of a sun god at Winter Solstice, and passionate heterosexual union at Beltane. Many lesbian witches are aware of the connections between April 30th (Beltane) and menstruation, between Summer Solstice and women's sexual passions... But how many recognize the autonomous female life-cycle expressed in every seasonal turning of the year, shown at all eight cardinal points; the presence of the Maiden Goddess in spring, the Mother Goddess in summer, and the Crone in winter? Think how different our world would be if our personal life passages and those of the Goddess were celebrated together every year, at every annual holy day.
This year wheel is Threefold, Fivefold, Eightfold and Elevenfold as opposed to most traditional wheels which are essentially fourfold and eightfold. The number shifts alone are enough to transform reality. Tonight when I posted the Year Goddess illustration above, I could feel the disturbance of differing realities interfacing. A snake appeared in my lover's space similar to the rainbow serpent twining up our year Goddess' arm, and new icons literally appeared on my computer's desktop! Love a woman...change the world... practice the entire cycle of women's Blood Mysteries... heal the world.
For if we do not honor the Birth of the Goddess at Spring Equinox, how can we expect the birth of human children to be joyful and ecstatic instead of painful and traumatic? If we do not honor the Goddess' menstruation on April 30th (instead of phallic maypoles!), how can we expect women's bleeding to be empowering and peaceful instead of "cursed?" If we do not celebrate the Goddess' sacred sexual passion at Summer Solstice, how can we expect our own sexuality to be loving and pleasure-filled instead of pornographic and based on rape? If we do not celebrate the Goddess' menopause at Autumn Equinox, how can we expect our own experience of aging and menopause to be positive and wholesome instead of shameful and hidden? Read on, beloved earthlings, and see if you will be inspired to use the ideas offered here for creating the holy days of the future.
The Goddess Year is a Maiden/Mother/Crone cycle, and can be understood in the same light as many other cycles, such as birth/life/death, creation/preservation/dissolution, waxing/full/waning, seed/flower/fruit, and so on. While this interpretation echoes other familiar seasonal traditions, it is important because of its specifically female emphasis. In reclaiming the female year, we reclaim our origins and the roots of all holy days. The seasons are shown above as the Goddess' own pregnant belly, the magnificent product of Her creative genius, passion, and magic. This reclamation has, of course, political as well as spiritual ramifications, for in the celebration of female mysteries we bring harmony back to society and to our Mother Earth.
Female mysticism is often flowing and circular, usually harking back to the primal trinity of Maiden, Mother, and Crone. This year wheel, therefore, has three seasons instead of four: Spring, Summer, and Winter. Fall can now be understood as a transitional stage between summer and winter, and we can thearize that there are likely two other transitional times between winter and spring, and between spring and summer. This seasonal trinity is aligned with the five elements of the pentagram. One interpretation of the five-fold cycle of the pentagram is a magical expression or code, illustrating the process by which we cast our spells: Visioning (Spirit), Naming (Air), Willing (Fire), Making (Earth), and Desiring or Dissolving (Water). The five moon phases shown in the arms of the star represent the Lunar Goddess in Her five-fold expression as the Bright Maiden (Waxing Crescent), Lover (Egg Moon), Mother (Full Moon), Dark Maiden (Waning Crescent), and Wisewoman (Dark Moon). These five Goddess archetypes interact with the Elements, the Trinity, the Eight, and the Eleven.
Thus the Goddess casts the ultimate spell of Life itself, through the magical passages of the mystical body of Woman. These passages are celebrated at the eight cardinal points of Gaia's circle dance around her Mother, the Sun: Equinoxes, Solstices and the four points between. Briefly, these mysteries can be called Birth, Blood, Passion, Milk, Menopause, Death, Renewal, and Quickening (or Inspiration). Herein we find our myth of creation, the story of our lives and spirits as Maidens, Mothers, and Crones:
The Goddess/She/Woman is born into the physical realm (Kore) as a bright and beautiful Daughter, enfolded in Her Mother's arms. She grows from Child to Woman, becoming whole-unto-Herself and has Her first bloods (Diana). As Her womanhood waxes, She becomes Lover and knows the mysteries of passion (Aphrodite). Now swelling with life and babies of Her own (and these can be understood as metaphors of any number or types of creations), She pours forth Her Milk or bounty as the heat of summer culminates in harvest time (Habondia). She begins to wane towards the year's decline, growing old and wise at Autumn Equinox (Persephone). She ceases to bleed, "holding the wise blood within," and descends for Her magical journey into the spirit world. (Thus we have the dual aspect of creation within the embrace of triplicity, shown in the images of Bright Maiden Ascending at spring, and Dark Maiden Descending, across the Wheel.) Having achieved Cronehood, She now knows death (Hecate) and divination. She embraces Her immortality as eternal spirit (Lucina), rebirthing the solar cycle of light at Winter Solstice. Now She enfolds Herself as seed beneath the earth, to dream and remember (Aradia or Musea) and become inspired for spring's rebirth.
We can understand each of these transitions as sacred, beautiful, and empowering in the noblest sense, gifting ourselves with a medicine shield for our wholeness and healing.
The information written into the Goddess Year illustration above is too small to read onscreen, so here are the seasonal correlations:
TIME WOMAN'S MYSTERY GODDESS NAME
The three directions of Northeast, South, and Northwest occur at points between the points of the pentacle-star, and so partake of elements to either side. These three positions align with the holy days of Inspiration, Passion and Death, and can be understood as a Maiden/Mother/Crone trinity in themselves, gateways to the seasons. The three curving lines that connect them show a seasonal shifting that is gradual; one phase of the year fades out as the next fades in. These lines can also be found in the Rune of Fate in my Womanrunes system, and bear the significance of Past/Present/Future, Beginning/Middle/End, and so on.
Above, Below, and Within, the three final directions making up our eleven, give us a total three-dimensional universe that includes sky, underworld, and inner space, thus creating a spherical approach to casting our circles.
course, if you are in the Southern hemisphere, you can turn this whole diagram
As a Babe in
blood I am born
Poem/Song: "The Five Blood Mysteries,"