Getting to Know the Powers: Earth

A basic introduction of the deity
Earth is the third of the Powers of the Three Realms – Land, Sea and Sky – and most like her mother, Night Earth has no co-ruler, but rules over all the world, from the heights to the depths, and her brothers realms are within her domain as well. But she is most fond of the things that move and dwell on the land – the animals, plants, humans, bacteria and all other members of the Tree of Life. Her grace and affections are fervently sought by both her brothers, as well as others in her generation, for she is the Power of fecundity, of life cycles, of growth and decay, reaping and sowing, and all of the Powers that come after her partake a little in her power. She is both caring and terrifying, simultaneously the Nourishing and the Devouring Mother, and no one will feel her touch and not be utterly changed by it for good or ill. She is the Power to which we all return in time, having spent our lives being nourished and supported in her arms and on her body. She is as vast as the globe and as approachable and unassuming as a blade of grass. You will find her as majestic as the mountain heights, as breathtaking as a sunset, as lovely as a flower, as mysterious as the dark caves and as implacable as the sea waves and the inexorable advance of a glacier.

Symbols and icons of this deity
Cows, the local landscape, veils, sickle, birch trees, groves, swamps/marshes, cattails, reeds, reed, rush or corn dolls, pottery, landscape art, images of cows and other animals, pigs and images of pigs (especially sows), sheaves of wheat, cornucopias, images of rivers/mountains/lakes/valleys/plains/hills, mother iconography

A favorite myth or myths of this deity
The Establishment of the Three Realms
When the Mother, the Twins and the Sisters set forth the bounds and the rules of existence, setting into motion the Great Pattern, the world was still formless and amorphous, potentiality still wrapped in chaos but enfolded within the Pattern. And so the Mother began to shape the next stage of the Pattern, forming the world tripartite. She took a lash from her eye and breathed upon it, and it became a man, full of sight and truth, far-seeing and able to control the powers of the heavens. She took a tear and mixed it with spittle, and held it to her heart, and it became another man, brother to the first, full of wisdom and compassion, deeply-knowing and able to control the powers of the deep. And finally, she took a hair from her groin, mixed it with her fluids and blood, and held it to her belly, and it became a woman, lovely and fertile, both nourishing and consuming, and able to control all the powers of the world. And she revealed these to her other children, and they rejoiced, and the divine twin of light took them to himself and named them his own.
And the man of sight took to the high places, and wed himself to the queen of heaven, the Sister of the seeing, and claimed all of the upper reaches as his kingdom, from the treetops to the mountains, from the dawn on the horizon to the very edge of night.
The man of wisdom took to the deep places, and gave himself to the queen of the waves, the lurker in the depths, and claimed all of the lower reaches as his kingdom, from the rivers to the ocean, from the waves on the shore to the bottom of the trenches.
And the woman surveyed all that remained, the hills and the valleys, the peaks and the caves, the forests and marshes and plains, high and low and in-between, and gave herself to herself, and named herself queen over all things, subject to no man or woman but Night and the Sisters and the Great Pattern itself, and she rules over all things that move and live upon this world, from the birds of the air, to the creatures of the deep, for her realm contains and touches the others. But over the creatures and beings of the land she rules alone.
And the brothers quarrel endlessly, desiring the woman for themselves, to woo her and gain her favor. And at times she chooses the first, at at other times she chooses the second, but she is bound to neither, for she is the Earth, and all things that live and move in this world are born of her, nourished by her, and shall be consumed by her in the end.

Members of the family – genealogical connections
Mother – Night
Father – none
Siblings – Divine Twins, Weird Sisters, Sky, Water
Consorts – Water, Sky, Fire, Abundance
Children – Passion,, Life, Wind, Death, Light, Sun, Moon

Other related deities and entities associated with this deity
Weird Sisters
Ocean
Water
Sky
Passion
Life
Death
Renewal
Healing
Fire
Forest

Names and epithets
Earth Mother, Holy Queen, Mother of Soil, Grain-Mother, White Cow, Lady of Valor, Mother of the Fields, Sacred Lady, Ancient Mother, Mother of Birches, Lady of the Marshes, Sacred Cow, Milk of Life, Sacred Lady, Lady of the Taboo, Faceless One,
Nerthus, Jörð, Hlödyn, Hertha, Fjorgynn, Ethniu, Tailtiu, Nantosuelta, Boann, Žemyna/Zemes-mãte, Nemetona, Demeter, Ceres, Cel, Tellus/Terra Mater, Gaia, Mara, Litavis, Rhea, Ops, and Cybele are all Euro-American deities and spirits that can potentially work in this slot, for those pursuing specific cultures and mythologies.
Non-Euro-American deities that work are Urash, Bhumi, Prithvi, Ninhursag, Ki/Kishar Asherah/Athirat, Yer Tanrıça, and Etügen Eke/Eje
Euro-American deities that work but should probably not be used due to oppression/appropriation issues are Maa-ema (Estonian/Finnish)
Euro-American deities that work but should not be used due to oppression/appropriation issues are Mari and Lurbira (Basque), Mastor-ava (Mordvin), and Raedieahkka/Maderakka (Sámi)
Non-Euro-American deities that work but should not be used due to oppression/appropriation issues are Pachamama (Inca/Peruvian), Ala (Igbo), Coatlicue/Toci/Tonantzin (Aztec/Nahuatl), Papa (Kanaka Maoli/Maori) and Asase Ya (Ashanti)

Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
Earth has three main aspects: the Giver of Sustenance, the Mother of All, and the Holy One
The Giver of Sustenance is the first of Earth’s (not entirely) benevolent faces. In this form and with this name, she is the provider of food, of water, of air, of all the materials and substances we require to live. She is nurturing and comforting, though she does not only favor humans. But she can also be terrible in that if she withholds her gifts, whether in the form of poor harvests, lack of shelter, or storms and other natural disasters, we will not long survive.
The Mother of All is the second of Earth’s (not entirely) benevolent faces. This aspect is closely tied to the first, in that she is seen as a sustaining and providing parent, but also extends to birth and death. She is the mother of every living and non-living being that dwells in or on the earth, and all her children are in her care. This face can also be discomfiting, in that humanity is not her favorite or most important child, but merely one of millions, and so if we expect special treatment or a bending of the rules of nature because of some vaunted self-important status, we will be sorely disappointed when the reckoning comes.
The Holy One is the non-benevolent face of Earth, though not necessarily hostile unless transgressed against. This is the veiled, masked, untouchable, sacred mystery that can be found in all the holy and taboo places of the world. She is aloof, showing herself to only the worthy, and bringing retribution on those who defile her holiness. The ley lines are kept by her, and their joinings are her most sacred halls.

Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
All times, days and feasts are sacred to her

Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
Anything involving the earth, soil, landscape or motherhood

How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
Ruler/Provider/Sustainer

How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality?
Earth is herself almost exclusively female and feminine, though she welcomes all as her children, and in some places was specially served by those without or between genders.
She is predominately heterosexual in her mythic pairings (Sky, Water, Fire, and Abundance), though there is an extremely bonding and intimate connection between all the female or female-oriented Powers that can be sexual as well as not.

Art that reminds you of this deity

























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Music that makes you think of this deity
Earth Mother, Ani Williams & Lisa Thiel
Mother of All That Is Alive, Ani Williams & Lisa Thiel
Mother of All Things, Ani Williams & Lisa Thiel
Isle of the Mystic Lake, Adiemus
This Sacred Land, Ah Nee Mah
Tower of Stone, Ah Nee Mah
The Bard’s Exhortation to the Salaryman, Annwn
Sumer is Y-cumen In, Annwn
Earth, Brian Crain
Meadowland, Amethystium
Genesis Hibernia, Dagda
Grace Cathedral Hill, The Decemberists
Behold the Passionate Ways of Nature, Hagalaz’ Runedance
Heartbeat of the Earth, Inkubus Sukkubus
Sanctuary, Inkubus Sukkubus
The Earth is Our Mother, Libana
Ancient Mother, Libana
Corn Mother, Lisa Thiel
Mother Earth, Within Temptation
Kodamas, Joe Hisaishi
Emerald Island, Leaves’ Eyes
Come by the Hills, Loreena McKennitt
Standing Stones, Loreena McKennitt
The Mystic’s Dream, Loreena McKennitt
Shenandoah, Sissel
This Moment, Fiona Joyce,
Trees, Fiona Joyce
The Rolling of the Stones, The Hare and The Moon

A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.” – Wendell Berry
“…the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.” – Wendell Berry
“Reclaiming the sacred in our lives naturally brings us close once more to the wellsprings of poetry.” -Robert Bly
“In this moment, everything is sacred.” – Ariel Books
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.” – Herman Hesse
“To encounter the sacred is to be alive at the deepest center of human existence. Sacred places are the truest definitions of the earth; they stand for the earth immediately and forever; they are its flags and shields. If you would know the earth for what it really is, learn it through its sacred places. At Devil’s Tower or Canyon de Chelly or the Cahokia Mounds, you touch the pulse of the living planet; you feel its breath upon you. You become one with a spirit that pervades geologic time and space.” – N. Scott Momeday
“…the Sierra, a region so quiet and pristine that we have the sense of being the first human beings ever to set foot in it. We fall silent ourselves in its midst, as if conversation in a place of such primeval solitude would be like talking in church.” – Jim Fergus
“If you have been in the vicinity of the sacred – ever brushed against the holy – you retain it more in your bones than in your head; and if you haven’t, no description of the experience will ever be satisfactory.” – Daniel Taylor
“The secret and the sacred are sisters. When the secret is not respected, the sacred vanishes. Consequently, reflection should not shine too severe or aggressive a light on the world of the soul.” – John O’Donohue
“Earth’s crammed with heaven…
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” – John Muir
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…” – John Muir
“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair” – Kahlil Gibran
“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” – Kahlil Gibran
“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculite patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.” – Cormac McCarthy
“What you take from the earth, you must give back. That’s nature’s way.” – Chris d’Lacey
“The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.” – John Paul II
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” – Rachel Carson
“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility. ” – Rachel Carson
“Earth, my dearest, oh believe me, you no longer need your springtimes to win me over…Unspeakably, I have belonged to you, from the flush.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
“The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see.” – Edward Abbey
“How can we be so arrogant? The planet is, was, and always will be stronger than us. We can’t destroy it; if we overstep the mark, the planet will simply erase us from its surface and carry on existing. Why don’t they start talking about not letting the planet destroy us?” – Paulo Coelho
“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.” – Gary Snyder
“Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept us safe among them… The animals had rights – the right of man’s protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man’s indebtedness. This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.” – Chief Luther Standing Bear
“We are the children of the earth and removed from her our spirit withers.” – George Macaulay Trevelyan

Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?
Clean up a natural place, set up a shrine/altar outdoors, donate to environmental causes, become a “nature” activist, protect the weak/less fortunate, protect a sacred place, make a sacred place, learn about your bioregion, reintegrate into your local rhythms, spend time outside getting to know the animals and plants that live near you, walk barefoot (safely)

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Getting to Know the Powers: Water

 

A basic introduction of the deity

Water is the second of the Powers of the Three Realms – Land, Sea and Sky – and most like his adoptive brother-uncle, Wildness. Together with his wife Ocean, he rules over the Underworld, and thus is king of all things that swim, move through or touch the waters – rivers, lakes, rain, oceans, beaches/shores, harbors and ships. But he is also connected to the worlds above, ever competing with his brother Sky for the affections and love of their sister Earth. He is wise, caring, disposed to compassion and benevolence, a gentle protector and comforting father, but who has a bit of a mischievous and wild side. He directs the currents and waves, and keeps the order of the cosmos intact through his deep insight and sense of mercy, as well as a willingness to aid those in need. Of all things that swim, he loves dolphins the best, and of those earthly animals he loves, several are associated with water (otters and waterfowl), or wisdom and the depths (snakes). He is a lover of music, magic and good jokes. While he is less prone to violence than either his brother or his wife, he is as terrifying as them when angered, sending great waves and storms and shaking the earth itself, destroying cities and ships alike.

Symbols and icons of this deity
Seaweed, driftwood, sand dunes, rain, fishing net, boathooks, miniature/model boats, starfish, serpents, shells, sea glass, stones smoothed by the sea, salmon, boats/ships, trident/harpoon, anchors, swords, fishing tools, aquatic animals, dogs, otters, seagulls and other ocean or wading birds, waterfalls, rivers/streams, fountains and wells, musical instruments.

A favorite myth or myths of this deity
The Establishment of the Three Realms
When the Mother, the Twins and the Sisters set forth the bounds and the rules of existence, setting into motion the Great Pattern, the world was still formless and amorphous, potentiality still wrapped in chaos but enfolded within the Pattern. And so the Mother began to shape the next stage of the Pattern, forming the world tripartite. She took a lash from her eye and breathed upon it, and it became a man, full of sight and truth, far-seeing and able to control the powers of the heavens. She took a tear and mixed it with spittle, and held it to her heart, and it became another man, brother to the first, full of wisdom and compassion, deeply-knowing and able to control the powers of the deep. And finally, she took a hair from her groin, mixed it with her fluids and blood, and held it to her belly, and it became a woman, lovely and fertile, both nourishing and consuming, and able to control all the powers of the world. And she revealed these to her other children, and they rejoiced, and the divine twin of light took them to himself and named them his own.
And the man of sight took to the high places, and wed himself to the queen of heaven, the Sister of the seeing, and claimed all of the upper reaches as his kingdom, from the treetops to the mountains, from the dawn on the horizon to the very edge of night.
The man of wisdom took to the deep places, and gave himself to the queen of the waves, the lurker in the depths, and claimed all of the lower reaches as his kingdom, from the rivers to the ocean, from the waves on the shore to the bottom of the trenches.
And the woman surveyed all that remained, the hills and the valleys, the peaks and the caves, the forests and marshes and plains, high and low and in-between, and gave herself to herself, and named herself queen over all things, subject to no man or woman but Night and the Sisters and the Great Pattern itself, and she rules over all things that move and live upon this world, from the birds of the air, to the creatures of the deep, for her realm contains and touches the others. But over the creatures and beings of the land she rules alone.
And the brothers quarrel endlessly, desiring the woman for themselves, to woo her and gain her favor. And at times she chooses the first, at at other times she chooses the second, but she is bound to neither, for she is the Earth, and all things that live and move in this world are born of her, nourished by her, and shall be consumed by her in the end.

Members of the family – genealogical connections
Mother – Night
Father – Abundance (adoptive)
Siblings – Divine Twins, Weird Sisters, Earth, Sky
Consorts – Ocean, Earth
Children – Passion, Peace, Death

Other related deities and entities associated with this deity
Weird Sisters
Ocean
Earth
Sky
Peace
Passion
Death

Names and epithets
Catcher, Silver-Hand, Well-Keeper, Lord of Oceans, Great Serpent, King of Darkness, Calmer of Storms, Lord of the Shining Sword, Lord of Mystery, Giver of Riches, Friend of Sailors, Pure One, Lord of Taboo, Lord of Wisdom, Lord of Safe Harbor, Shelterer, Feast-Giver
Njörðr, Nuada, Nudd/Llud Llaw Eraint, Nechtan, Nodens, Nethuns, Ægir, Veles, Arawn, Velnias, Manannán mac Lir/Manawyddan fab Llyr, Lir/Llyr, Poseidon, Neptune, Pontus/Oceanus, Duberdicus, Nereus/Proteus, and Portunus are all Euro-American deities and spirits that can potentially work in this slot, for those pursuing specific cultures and mythologies.
Non-Euro-American deities that work are Yam, Enki, Apām Napāt/Apąm Napāt, Varuna, and Wadj-wer
Euro-American (Finnish) deities that work but should probably not be used due to oppression/appropriation issues are Ahti
Euro-American deities that work but should not be used due to oppression/appropriation issues are Sugaar (Basque) and Tjaetsieålmaj (Sámi)
Non-Euro-American deities that work but should not be used oppression/appropriation issues are Agwé (Yoruba/Vodou), Chalchiuhtlatonal (Aztec) Kumugwe/Qaniqilak (Salish/Wakashan Pacific NW), Tangaroa (Maori), and Kanaloa (Hawai’ian)

Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
Water has three main aspects – the Shelterer, the Wisdom-Keeper, and the King Below
The Shelterer is the face of Water that is beloved by sailors and those who live near the oceans. He is the lord of safe harbor, of protection at sea, calming the rages of his wife and helping to guide sailors and their ships safely home again. Master of the beaches and shores, he creates safe and secure places to moor even among the rocky cliffs, and sends his servants, the dolphins, to protect, guide and rescue those who travel across his realm.
The Wisdom-Keeper is the lord of the freshwater – springs, wells, lakes, and rivers. He is the keeper of the wells of wisdom, granting a drink from them only to the worthy. As such, he is distinctly connected to the Weird Sisters, particularly Winter, who is also a ruler over the Underworld and the wells of wisdom. He is a powerful magician, with magical clothing and in several instances, body parts that are either magical themselves or can live apart from his body.
The King Below is the wealthy ruler of the deeps, with all the riches of the oceans, caves, and mines at his disposal. Silver and gold pour from fountains in his halls, and gems adorn every object. He has countless herds of cattle and other livestock, and there is always music and merriment in his halls, even though they are inhabited by the dead.
To me, he most often appears as an older man, sometimes bearded, sometimes not, with the weathered and wrinkled features of a life-long sailor. He usually comes walking along the sand of a beach, or striding through the shallower waters which rise up to meet him.

Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
Festival of the Dead
Festival of the Sun
Dog Moon
Dusk to dawn

Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
Sailing
Brewing
Swimming
Playing at the beach
Collecting seashells
Visiting rivers and waterfalls
Playing music
Magic tricks/illusions

How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
Ruler/Granter of Wisdom

How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality?
Water is masculine. He is a warm and comforting father-figure, a wise teacher, a generous host and a caring friend.
Sexually, as with all of the other Powers, Water falls into a multisexual spectrum. He is married to Ocean, is one of the consorts of Earth, and intimate with many humans and spirits of all genders and sexes. He also has a passionate love-hate relationship with his brother, Sky, and many storms are the result of their affair.

What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
I admire his care and concern, his gentleness, his friendliness, his safekeeping of wisdom and tempering justice with mercy.

Art that reminds you of this deity





















Music that makes you think of this deity
Mare Undarum (Sea of Waves), Karl Jenkins
Lacus Lenitatis (Lake of Tenderness), Karl Jenkins
The Call of the Sea, Ocean Dreams
Beach Walk, Ocean Dreams
Hermit of the Sea Rock, Adiemus
Isle of the Mystic Lake, Adiemus
Seahaven, Annwn
Vessel of Mercy, Annwn
Scottish Fisherman’s Song for Attracting Seals, Aryeh Frankfurter
Nymphs of the Sea-God Nereus, Daemonia Nymphe
The Sea-Angler, Faith and the Muse
Annwyn, Beneath the Waves, Faith and the Muse
The Minnow and the Trout, A Fine Frenzy
Neptune the Mystic, Gustav Holst
Moewe (Seagull) – Joe Hisaishi
A Town with an Ocean View, Joe Hisaishi
Gake no Ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea), Joe Hisaishi
Day of the River, Joe Hisaishi
Immrama, Stellamara
By The Sea, Sweeney Todd OST
Moonlit Beach, Anna and the King OST
The Grey Havens, Howard Shore
Into the West, Annie Lennox/Howard Shore
Moorlough Shore, Emm Gryner
Under Neptune’s Cape, Clannad
Precious Waters, Ah Nee Mah
Song of the River, Ah Nee Mah
Water, Brian Crain
Watermark, Enya
Orinoco Flow, Enya
Over the Waterfalls, Helen Trevillion
As the Water, Memoirs of a Geisha OST
Kellswater, Loreena McKennitt
Sailing By, Dagda
I Saw a Ship A-Sailing, Natalie Merchant
River, Natalie Merchant
River, Joni Mitchell
River, Susan McKeown
El Río, Javier Navarrete
Njord, Leaves’ Eyes

A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.” – Nikos Kazantzakis

“Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.” – L.M. Montgomery

“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“She loves the serene brutality of the ocean, loves the electric power she felt with each breath of wet, briny air.” – Holly Black

“That crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,
Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.
No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, ‘O sea-starved, hungry sea” – W.B. Yeats

“Hark, now hear the sailors cry,
smell the sea, and feel the sky
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…” – Van Morrison

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It’s always our self we find in the sea.” – e.e. cummings

“The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.” – Izak Dinesen

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.” – Norman MacLean

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” – Margaret Atwood

“Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong
Hark! now I hear them,—Ding-dong, bell.” – William Shakespeare

“We clear the harbor and the wind catches her sails and my beautiful ship leans over ever so gracefully, and her elegant bow cuts cleanly into the increasing chop of the waves. I take a deep breath and my chest expands and my heart starts thumping so strongly I fear the others might see it beat through the cloth of my jacket. I face the wind and my lips peel back from my teeth in a grin of pure joy.” – L.A. Meyer

“What she really loved was to hang over the edge and watch the bow of the ship slice through the waves. She loved it especially when the waves were high and the ship rose and fell, or when it was snowing and the flakes stung her face.” – Kristin Cashore

“She watched the gap between ship and shore grow to a huge gulf. Perhaps this was a little like dying, the departed no longer visible to the others, yet both still existed, only in different worlds.” – Susan Wiggs

“The river is everywhere.” – Herman Hesse

“They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.” – Herman Hesse

“I thought how lovely and how strange a river is. A river is a river, always there, and yet the water flowing through it is never the same water and is never still. It’s always changing and is always on the move. And over time the river itself changes too. It widens and deepens as it rubs and scours, gnaws and kneads, eats and bores its way through the land. Even the greatest rivers- the Nile and the Ganges, the Yangtze and he Mississippi, the Amazon and the great grey-green greasy Limpopo all set about with fever trees-must have been no more than trickles and flickering streams before they grew into mighty rivers.
Are people like that? I wondered. Am I like that? Always me, like the river itself, always flowing but always different, like the water flowing in the river, sometimes walking steadily along andante, sometimes surging over rapids furioso, sometimes meandering wit hardly any visible movement tranquilo, lento, ppp pianissimo, sometimes gurgling giacoso with pleasure, sometimes sparkling brillante in the sun, sometimes lacrimoso, sometimes appassionato, sometimes misterioso, sometimes pesante, sometimes legato, sometimes staccato, sometimes sospirando, sometimes vivace, and always, I hope, amoroso. Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain? Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine me to wall so that I flow only where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for they own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land and ploughing a valley of my own?” – Aiden Chambers

“We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.” – David Brower

“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.” – Kahlil Gibran

“It is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

“Always be like a water. Float in the times of pain or dance like waves along the wind which touches its surface.” – Santosh Kalwar

“The places where water comes together with other water. Those places stand out in my mind like holy places.” -Raymond Carver

“I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while.” – Haruki Murakami

Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?
Help clean up the beach, play with dolphins, go fishing, teach a child about the ocean, study the hydrological cycle, work with your emotions, care for a local river or stream, swim in the ocean, a lake or a river, visit the shore and walk along the sand, help care for and protect sand dunes and shore habitats.

Waincraft and Concepts of Time

So, those who have been following along with the Getting to Know the Powers series may have noticed references in the past four essays to time. There are six Powers who are associated with time as a concept in Waincraft – Abundance, Winter, Blood, Rain, Sun, and Moon. But these deal with different types of time and related concepts.

Abundance deals with time in the greater arc, the time of space-time and the fundamental quality that we experience as progression, age, change and ordered passage. This is clock time, science time, abstract time, philosophical time, counted in minutes and hours and centuries and aeons.

The Weird Sisters as a whole represent time as the three-fold spiraling progression of before, during and after. This is life time, social time, measured in breaths and events, years and decades and generations, families and cultures.

Winter is the first part of this spiral, and deals with the has been, the was, the already happened. In the cosmology, this portion of life time is associated with everything that lies under the surface, the unseen, the bones and worms and strange sea creatures and pale blind fish in dark underground pools. The past cannot be reached or seen or felt, but only imagined, remembered, told about, because anytime you try to get below the surface, you only create more surface

Blood is the second part of this spiral, and deals with the now, the is, the happening. In the cosmology, this portion of life time is associated with everything that can be seen, felt, reached, or touched – the surface as a sensate half sphere whose boundaries are formed by the past (under the surface) and the future (beyond the horizon) This is, in a sense, the only time we ever truly know, because we live in an ever-changing, never-moving moment of Now that a millisecond ago was To come, and a millisecond from now will be Then.

Rain is the third part of this spiral, and deals with the to come, the will be, the maybe. In the cosmology, this portion of life time is associated with beyond the horizon – that which cannot be seen in the now, and thus cannot ever be pinned down and definitively described. It is everything that lies beyond our reach and our knowledge. Tomorrow truly never comes, because by its very nature, it is unobtainable, just as no matter how long you travel or how high or low you climb, the horizon remains always out of reach, and what lies beyond out of sight and knowing until that beyond becomes here and now.

Sun and Moon, being children of Abundance, are markers of cyclical time, time in the lesser arc, the time of measurements and repetitions. This is calendar time, measured in days and weeks and months and seasons, the time of planting and harvesting, of building and repairing, of sailing and fishing and gathering. There are roughly 3.09 moon cycles per solar quarter (solstice to equinox, or equinox to solstice, or in the four-season year), or 4.12 cycles per solar third (for those who prefer three-season years) This yields, when rounded, twelve 30 day lunar months with 5 excess solar days (6 in leap years), or twelve 29 day lunar months with 17 excess solar days (18 in leap years). Waincraft does not have a set religious calendar, but one could be created based on lunar, solar and seasonal cycles for each person’s bioregion.

The Nature of the Powers

“Do you view the Powers of Waincraft as distinct beings, or simply as “ideas” or archetypes. For example, is the Lord of the Green literally a god sovereign over growing things, or is he just the personification of growings things?”

Short answer is both.

Literally, the Lord of the Green is the Power of life in all its forms, but most particularly cyclical life, of which vegetation is the most abundant. Symbolically, he personifies the cycle of life that grows and falls and rises again.

The Powers of Waincraft are fully immanent and integrated with the physical realm. Thus they are both spiritual beings that control and direct natural and cultural forces, and the impetus behind and manifestation of those very natural and cultural forces. Orthopsychy applies to all of existence, the Powers included.

A true archetype can exist in its own distinction as well as echo itself in other distinct beings. There is nothing simple about either an idea or an archetype – they are both powerful, complex, and utterly fascinating creatures.

Is a Mother not a distinct being from all other Mothers, while still sharing an essential commonality that differs only in its particulars? A Teacher can teach history or common sense or magic, and the style of that teaching can and will differ depending on subject and personality, but they are still a Teacher.

It is a poor tribute to Jung that one of his finest achievements has been so twisted by pop psychology as to completely change its meaning.

Local Orthopsychy and Manifestation of the Powers

In the summer of 2013 I blogged some about Waincraft as I understood it and one thing I wrote about was bioregion and orthopsychy in relation to the Powers. For example, in the desert, The Lord of the Green might be seen as a little more harsh than in New England. The Lady of the Forest would possibly be the Lady of the Desert. Would this be a proper assumption to make?”

Yes, exactly. Some of the Powers are unlikely to be vastly different across different bioregions (such as Night, which is pretty equal across the board), but ones tied to forces that specifically differ between biomes will definitely manifest differently.

The Lord of the Green in the desert would likely be a harsh, dry-witted, prickly, eminently practical and thrifty personality (though given to occasional exuberant displays of fierce joy and wonder), whereas a rainforest Lord of the Green would be lush and potentially overwhelming in his exuberance and largesse. A wood and fields-land Lord of the Green would likely be very similar to most European manifestations of him, regardless of what continent his worshipers inhabit.

I would probably say that there would be no Maiden of the Woods in a desert, savannah or similarly low-tree or treeless biome. Likely, another predatory and protecting Power (such as your Lady of the Desert) would make itself known, perhaps in the form of a lioness as an example (such as in Egypt, which has few trees and without forests, and gave us several protecting lionesses – Bast, Sekhmet, Mehit and Pakhet).

Getting to Know the Powers: Night

A basic introduction of the deity

Night is the First God of Waincraft, the primal origin point of everything that exists, has existed, or will exist. As such, she is the only deity in Waincraft that could be considered transcendent, although she is also immanent in every 24-hour cycle around the sun. She is also the only point in Waincraft theology that approaches monism and panentheism, as myth states that a piece of her is in everything, and that all things exist within her. She is the depths of space, the Void Incarnate, and the falling of night.

Symbols and icons of this deity

Stars, planets, sky disks, dragons, cows, the Milky Way, the solar system, galaxies, nebulae, constellations, all night-blooming flowers, meteors, comets, night-time

A favorite myth or myths of this deity

Creation

At the First Time, before time and space existed, there was the Void. And nothing lay in the void, or lived or loved or laughed, for nothing had yet been brought forth.

And the Mother moved through the Void, searching for love, for connection. And she saw herself reflected and inverted in the Void, and fell in love with her unself, and made love to herself and herself, and at the moment of climax, a universe was brought forth into explosive being, created of the union of Self and Unself. And the Mother became the Universe, and the Universe was the Mother.

Soon after, the Mother gave birth to twins – one light, one dark, Chaos and Order, Wild and Tame, Hunter and Gatherer. And she lay with the dark twin, the Wild Father, and bore children of earth, and later, children of fire. And she lay with the light twin, the Lord of Plenty, and bore children of air, and of water. And the children of earth created and the children of fire destroyed what was created to create anew; the children of air sought the knowing of the heights, and the children of the water sought the wisdom of the depths. And thus was the universe made and remade.

From the Mother are all things, through the twins light and dark and their children. And all things return to the Mother at the end. For we are all star-dust.

The Tears of the Mother

Way back in the beginning of all things, the Mother birthed the Divine Twins. They fashioned the worlds, leaving her in the Void, and gave themselves to the worlds they had created. This greatly saddened the Mother, for while she was, and is, and shall be until the end of time, her children and grandchildren were not. They were bound by the web of fate, set upon the wheel of life and death. And so, she mourned, and wept great tears, so many and so great that they threatened to drown the world in sorrow.

Such was her sorrow, that she cut her hair in grief, lock after lock, until she was left with one. This one, black as the Mother’s night, she held in her hand, and wept, until with her weeping and sighing, it came to life – black as pitch, and with wings to encircle the world.

This being comforted the Mother, and upon looking at the lake of tears, it decided to hang them, one by one, in the dark and void night. As it hung the tears, each gave its feathers a bit of brilliance and radiance, and imparted knowledge, knowledge and memory of life, for each tear was shed to honor one of the Mother’s descendants. And so, as it hung the tears, it stopped for a moment each time to honor the memory of that life.

As time went on, and more and more lives were lost, the Mother’s tears began to overwhelm the single being, who could not keep up. And so, in desperation and despair, it plucked its feathers out, one by one, preparing to kill itself. But when each feather was touched by starlight, it turned into another being, like the first. And that is how the Ravens were born.

The Ravens continued to hang the tears, and keep the memory, for many eons. And in their remembrance, they became agents of justice and mercy, helping the good pass from this life, and bringing vengeance on the wicked, which brought them ever more in contact with the world. As time went on, more and more Ravens left the Mother’s night and walked in the world fulfilling their purpose.

But there were others that remembered the Night, the Void, and returned there. And when they did so, their feathers which had been black as a starless night, caught the light of all the tears and glimmered, and the more time they spent there, the lighter their feathers got, until they were turned white as the snow. These ferried the souls of the dead into the night, and brought them back again to the world, and gathered the light of the tears for the healing of the sick.

So remember the tears, remember the stars, remember the lives. And most of all, when you see a shower of stars, remember, for it is the Mother weeping for her children that return to the world to live again under the sun.

Members of the family – genealogical connections

All, but most directly the Divine Twins – the Spirit Twins (Wild Father/Lord of Plenty), the Earth Twins, the Air Twins, the Water Twins, and the Fire Twins – and the Weird Sisters.

Other related deities and entities associated with this deity

Wild Father/Lord of Plenty

Witcher

The Holy Earth

Fairy Queen

White Ravens

Names and epithets

Queen of Stars, Mother Night, Lady of Heaven, Mother of All, Creator of All, Mother of Darkness, Lady of Dragons

Nótt, Naht, Niht, Nyx, Nox, Auðhumbla, Aranrhod, and Quakoralina are all extant Euro-American deities that can potentially work in this slot, for those pursuing specific cultures and mythologies.

Similar, though not exact, non-Euro-American deities that might also work are Kauket/Keket, Mut, Aditi, Tiamat, and Nammu.

Similar, though not exact, non-Euro-American deities that should not be used due to appropriation/oppression issues are Eingana and Nana Buluku.

Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)

Night has two major aspects – Cosmic Creator and Indwelling Mother

The Cosmic Creator is the vast unknowable, almost ineffable reach of space. Her appearance in this guise to me is completely inhuman and almost too much for human senses to take, even psychic ones.

The Indwelling Mother is both the soft, enveloping night, and the piece of darkness that dwells in every spirited thing in the form of their shadow. Her appearance in this guise to me is of a woman, pitch-dark skin and glowing silver-white hair, stars like crystals amid the locks, and all the immensity and depth of space in her eyes.

Common mistakes about this deity

She is not the moon or stars themselves, or anything associated with the moon and stars, but the actual void of space, which descends as dark night on earth as we turn away from the sun. We see her only through the light of the souls she has gathered to herself (the stars), but we feel her any time the light has gone.

Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity

Longest Night/Feast of the Mothers (winter solstice night)

Feast of the Dead

Dusk to dawn every day

Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?

Wishing on the first star of the evening

Stargazing

Astronomy

How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?

Mother/ancestor.

How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality?

Given that her primary role in Waincraft myth is a self-impregnating woman-on-woman masturbation, followed by penetrative heterosexual sex with her son-consorts, Night is definitely one of those “all acts of love and pleasure” type of deities. All possible genders and sexualities are rooted in her.

What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?

I admire her devotion, her caring, her love for everything from the smallest microbe to the largest galaxy.

Art that reminds you of this deity

http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/great-star-mother-maya-telford.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Nott_painting.jpg

http://www.elfwood.com/art/e/m/emanuella/nyxnewestsmallfinished.jpg

http://www.josephinewall.co.uk/goddesses/moon_goddess.jpg – not the moon bit, but the rest

http://www.danielholeman.com/gallery1/StarGoddess.jpg

http://vancouverreclaiming.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/stars-1024×768.jpg

and everything here: http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/

I also made a photomanipulation of her a few years ago:http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2010/054/7/1/Star_Mother_Creates_the_World_by_TheLastWaykeeper.jpg

Music that makes you think of this deity

http://archive.is/cL4p7

“Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, gute Nacht,” Op. 49, No. 4, Johannes Brahms

Lux Æterna, Gÿorgi Ligeti

Stars and Midnight Blue, Enya

Paint the Sky with Stars, Enya

Sure on this Shining Night, Morten Lauridsen

Tonight Eternity Alone, René Clausen

A Night of Shooting Stars, Joe Hisaishi

Reaching for the Stars, Lisa Thiel and Ani Williams

Stars, Beth Quist

Under the Stars, Hans Zimmer

When You Wish Upon a Star, Cliff Edwards

A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode.”- Lawrence M. Krauss

Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?

SPG between several people has been that Night, being the very first god, is not only the mother of humans and the Waincraft powers, but also various other mythologies’ pantheons and spirits, including elves and fairies, the Vanir and Jotnar, Abrahamic angels and demons and their non-Hebrew/Levantine/Mesopotamian counterparts, and certain Hindu gods and spirits.

Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?

Get out and commune with her. Nothing will teach you more about the night than actually experiencing it. Learn about space, about all the wonders of astronomy, about how we all got here. Learn about biology and evolution and how everything comes from star-dust. Learn about nocturnal animals, learn about animals and plants that live in darkness their whole lives.

Getting to Know the Powers Series

Over the next month or so, this blog will feature a special feature on each of the 24 Powers featured in the book. Once again, as I have stated elsewhere, these are not the only Powers that can exist in Waincraft, nor must all 24 be present to have a valid Waincraft practice; these are just the 24 typically most common natural and cultural phenomena in the large majority of human-livable biomes, particularly Europe and much of North America.

The format of this series is borrowed and adapted from the 30 Days of Devotion meme; irrelevant or non-applicable questions will be skipped.