Star Light, Star Bright, Star Night – Earthly & Heavenly Goddesses of the Seasonal Cycles

Pagan Armenia 

Goddess Astghik – Armenia 

In the earliest prehistoric period Astghig, commonlyy referred to as Asya, Astghik, or Astlik, (Armenian: Աստղիկ) had been worshiped as the Armenian Goddess Deity of Creation which actually means Creator, later the sky light had been considered her personification making her a Sky Goddess.  In later heathen periods, she became the Goddess of love and demoted to the maiden beauty. Astghig Creator aspect, she was origin of the Wind and Water Deity of Storms, Lightening and Springs.

The Vartavar Festival devoted to Astghik that had once been celebrated in mid July but was transformed into the Christian holiday of the Transfiguration of Christ, and is still celebrated by the Armenians. As in pre-Christian times, on the day of this feast, the people release Doves and sprinkle Water on each other with wishes of health and good luck. 

She is creator of heaven and earth and the supreme goddess who birthed Aramazd, a father god (the sun being worshiped as his personification) and Anahit that had been worshiped as Great Lady and Mother Deity in more modern times as a Moon Being – worshiped as her personification, she forms the astral trinity in the pantheon of Armenianheathen deities. In the period of Hellenistic influence, Astghik became similar to the Greek Aphrodite which again connects her to Urania and the Mesopotamian Ishtar. 

Her name is the diminutive of Armenian աստղ astġ, meaning “Star”, which through Proto-Indo-European she is the Night Goddess or Star Light that shines down on earth (Heaven Creator). Her principal seat was in Ashtishat (Taron), located to the North from Mush, where her chamber and Temple were. Other temples and places of worship of Astghik had been located in various towns and villages, such as the mountain of Palaty (to the South-West from Lake Van, in Artamet.

The unique monuments of prehistoric Armenia, “Višap” (‘Serpent, Dragon’) known as ancient “Dragon Stones”, spread in many provinces of Armenia, the Dragon Mother of  Gegharkunik, Aragatsotn, Javakhk, Tayk, etc., and are another manifestation of her worship.

Karahunj, Armenia.png
Karahunj, Armenia, Dragon Stones

Goddess Aphrodite Urania & Pandemos – Greek

There is a double tradition of Aphrodite’s birth suggested as a basic duality in her character or the existences of two separate goddesses: Urania the Sky Goddess, Goddess of Heaven (Celestial Aphrodite) who sprung from the great divine and Aphrodite Pandemos (Aphrodite of All the People). Aphrodite Urania has immense energetic (weather wind rain lightening) power. Aphrodite Pandemos is more like the Venus we have today and seems to have been a goddess who inspired beauty, art and peace or concord among the people.

Dione (Demeter) was the Titan Goddess of the Oracle of Dodona in Thesprotia, mother of Aphrodite. The three old Prophetesses of the Shrine, are known collectively as the Peleiades, where her priestesses were named “The Doves” after the Sacred Bird of her daughter Aphrodite – who also possessed a temple within the shrine. Dione was identified with both the Titanis Phoibe and Dione’s Titan Sisters were similarly Oracular:

Phoibe possessed Delphi
Mnemosyne possessed Lebadeia
Themis possessed Delphi and Dodona. 

She governs over four realms :

The Sky (Heaven) as Aphrodite Ourania;
The Sea (Creation) Aphrodite Pontia;
The Earth as Aphrodite Porne;
The Underworld (Death, then Rebirth) as the
Khthonic Aphrodite Androphonos (‘killer of men’)

Her mythologies regarding the time between her birth and her arrival at Olympus are not extensive: the classical writers speak only of her love for the Sea-God Nerites and of her arrival at Rhodes, where she was prevented from stopping there by the sons of Poseidon. From Evelyn B. Harrison: “Pausanias who was a Greek traveler in the 2nd century ce, lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He saw in the sanctuary of Aphrodite in the Gardens near the Ilissos in Athens an image of Aphrodite, that was square like a herm, with an inscription saying that Aphrodite Ourania is the eldest of those called the Moirai.  The Moirai or Moerae are often known as the Fates, white-robed incarnations of Destiny.

Two statues of Aphrodite Ourania by Pheidias are one of gold and ivory in Elis’ and one of Parian marble in Athens. The attribution of that in Elis is more secure, since it is also mentioned by Plutarch as a work of Pheidias. The Aphrodite Ourania of Elis had one foot on a tortoise. Pheidias was likely to have used it as a deeper symbol of the nature of Aphrodite Ourania. Settis has explored in an extensive monograph the meanings of Ourania as an epithet of Aphrodite and the appropriateness of the Tortoise as a symbol of such an Aphrodite. He concludes that in the time of Pheidias “Ourania”  designate Aphrodite both as Goddess of the Heavens and as the Goddess born of the Ocean, according to the Hesiodic legend, from the Sea foam surrounding the severed member of Ouranos.

Aphrodite was depicted with a background of a dark stone, against which the golden figures of the divinities who shone like stars. The dark color can have represented both Sea and Night Sky alike. We know from Pausanias that Aphrodite is coming up out of the Sea. Aphrodite is certainly Ourania, in the literal meaning of Heaven as well as in the manner of her birth. In attempting to visualize the Pheidian Aphrodite of Elis, scholars have generally started with a marble statue in Berlin, the so-called Brazza Aphrodite, whose raised left foot requires such a support as the tortoise would have furnished. A comparable pose of Aphrodite with the left knee raised is seen on two classical vases with Aphrodite and one with the Anodos of Persephone.

In my own work of the Goddess, I see the Sky Goddess & Underworld Goddess as one Goddess of prehistory which were the “seasons” of Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter. This was before separation of consciousness of the mysteries of nature (animism) and the feminine mysteries of the grandmothers. Early shamanic cultures of the grandmothers, later called goddess, expressed all divination as animals, birds, oceanids, insects etc. Later grew the human association of woman figures as goddess. The pre-dawn (time) Goddess is both “Sun Goddess: Spring and Summer”; and “Underworld or Night Goddess; Autumn and Winter.”

Plato: “Of the two goddesses, Aphrodite Urania is older, stronger, more intelligent and more collective.” The first inspires a relationship between the  “lover” and the “beloved,” and in an ascent of the objects of love, leads to the love of humanity much like a buddha would be regarded. The cult of Aphrodite in foreign lands, Herodotus. Around the precinct live Phoenicians of Tyre, and the whole place is called the “Camp of the Tyrians.” There is in the precinct of Proteus a temple called The Temple of the Stranger Aphrodite; Temple of Helen, daughter of Tyndarus, because it bears the name of the Foreign Aphrodite: for no other of Aphrodite’s temples is called by that name.

Goddess Al Uzza photo of maria callasAl-Uzza – Arabian

“The Most Mighty” worshiped as uncut aniconic stones is Al-Uzza, a Sky (Star Night) Goddess, associated with Aphrodite (Venus) honored by the Koreishites (the tribe in which Mohammed had come from) as one of their highest Goddesses of Heaven. She was reputed to accept human sacrifices, which in real terms, one made personal sacrifices (not human sacrifices).

The Culture of Sheba in the south of Arabia, present-day Yemen also worshiped Al-Uzza and her sanctuary in a valley on the road from Mecca, was comprised of three Acacia Trees in which she was said to descend. Some scholars believe she may even have been the Goddess of Mecca itself.

At Mecca the Goddess of rulership was Shaybah or better known as  Sheba, the Old Woman, worshiped as a black aniconic stone like the Goddess of the Scythian Amazons. The sacred Black Stone now enshrined in the Kaaba at Mecca was her feminine symbol, marked by the sign of the yoni, and covered like the ancient Mother by a veil. 

The Black Stone rests in the “Sanctuary” which originally meant the Temple of Women: in Babylon, a shrine of the Goddess Har, mother of harlots. Hereditary guardians of the Haram were the Koreshites, “children of Kore,” Mohammed’s own tribe. The holy office was originally held by women, before it was taken over by male priests calling themselves Beni Shayban, “Sons of the Old Woman.”

Al-Uzza is a member of the Nabatean Zodiac and has been called from their writings as the Queen of Heaven. She seems to have been the premier Goddess worshiped in their capital city of Petra, located in present-day Jordan. Petra was a major stop on the spice roads and was a very wealthy City under Al-Uzza. Tombs or temples are carved out of the living rock and the main way into the city is through a dramatic tunnel-like narrow gorge, nearly a mile long, that suddenly opens on to the city. Latin meaning of “Petra” is from the Greek word πέτρος (petros) meaning “Stone.”

When Theseus had united into one state the many Athenian parishes, he established the cultures of Aphrodite Pandemos (Common) and of Persuasion.  The old statues no longer existed in my time, but those I saw were the work of no inferior artists.  There is also a sanctuary of Earth, Nurse of Youth, and of Demeter Chloe (Green).  You can learn all about their names by conversing with the priests.

My apprentice had a dream connecting Urania and the Sky Goddess to Tamar, the Georgian Goddess… “In Georgian mythology, Tamar is the Georgian Sky Goddess who controlled the weather. Tamar enslaved Dilis Varskvlavi, the Morning Star (currently known as Venus) who was master of Winter; whenever he escaped, snow began to fall, but annually she captured him and brought summer back to the land. She was an eternal one who rode through the air on a serpent saddled and bridled with gold.”

As I was looking for names associated with Urania’s Mirror again, because I have Urania conjunct my Mid-heaven and Pluto and “Noctua” was one of the names on the list of association star constellation cards of Urania’s Mirror. These are a set of constellation cards. Urania’s Mirror (32 cards) consists of: “Noctua, Corvus, Crater, Sextans Uraniae, Hydra, Felis, Lupus, Centaurus, Antlia Pneumatica, Argo Navis, and Pyxis Nautica.”

I decided to look and see if there was an asteroid and there is, Noctua sits at 18 degrees Scorpio conjuncting my 18 degree Scorpio Ascendant. How this plays out is even the most asleep athiest person, who has no contact with their soul or has no empath abilities consciously, are effected with the openness of my death aspects of a Scorpio Rising and the soul “energy of interior and exterior auric energy that is undulating” freely from me.

ishtar-an-immortal.gif

Ishtar – Babylon

Nina or Ishara was a water deity identified at an early date with the constellation Scorpio. The ideogram for Nina was also pronounced tt-ha, but the form s-ha-na probably arose by adding an Heaven to Esha, deities who had been identified with Stars. Nina is too strong to be rejected, and if Nana be a corruption of Nina the evidence is conclusive. The Sumerians pronounced her name as Nin-a, Lady of  Waters, which survived as Nana, and Esha, Goddess of the Fish house, i. e. thejsea ; after the identification with Scorpio she became Iskana, Heavenly Goddess of the fish, a word which survived as Ishara.

Old Babylonian period Queen of Night relief, represents Ishtar’s sister Ereshkigal. The original Nin-an-na are the variants of Innina, Ninina, Tnnana, Enm m, and simply Nin, Ninanna, Innini, her identification with Aphrodite (Venus.) is similar. Ishtar arose a tendency to regard these names as connoting two deities. In fact a considerable portion of the pantheon was derived by erecting a new name into a separate deity. Prehistoric periods probably had these four names for the sister of Tammuz, viz. Gestin-anjaa, barra, Nina, and Innini. We have seen how Nina and Esharra became severed from this cult. At a time almost prehistoric the Semites. Invaded Mesopotamia, bringing with them the Cult of Byblus.

Demeter Ceres, Egyptian Goddess statueGoddess Ceres (Demeter) – Roman

She said, and forth she fared, trailing a cloud behind her, and passed to her Dragons, then soared aloft in her winged chariott. She left behind bold Sunium, and the snug harbor of Piraeus, and the coast that lies on the right hand. From there she came to the Aegean, where she beheld all the Cyclades; she skimmed the wild Ionian and the Icarian Sea; passing through the cities of Asia she made for the long Hellespont, and pursued aloft a roving course, this way and that.

For now she looked down on the incense-gathering Arabs, and now on the Indians: beneath her lay on one side Libya, on the other side Meroe, and the parched land. Now she visited the western Rivers, the Rhine, the Rhone, the Po, and thee, Tiber, future parent of a mighty water. Whither do I stray? ‘Twere endless to tell of the lands over which she wandered.

No spot in the world did Ceres leave un-visited. She wandered also in her Sky, and accosted the Constellations that lie next to the cold Pole (Star) and never dipped in the ocean wave.

“Ye Parrhasian Stars, reveal to a wretched mother her daughter Persephone; for ye can know all things, since never do ye plunge under the Waters of the Sea.”

So she spoke, and Helice answered her thus:

“Night is blameless. Ask of the Sun concerning the ravished Maiden: far and wide he sees the things that are done by day to her.” Appealed to, the Sun said, “To spare thee vain trouble, she whom thou seekest is wedded to Jove’s brother and rules the third realm.” (Jove is Juniper, the Roman Zues.) 

After long moaning to herself she thus addressed the Thunderer, and in her face there were deep lines of sorrow:

“If thou dost remember by whom I got Persephone, she ought to have half of thy care. By wandering round the world I have learned naught but the knowledge of the wrong: the ravisher enjoys the reward of his crime. But neither did Persephone deserve a robber husband, nor was it meet that in this fashion we should find a son-in-law.

What worse wrong could I have suffered if Gyges had been victorious and I his captive, than now I have sustained while thou art sceptered of heaven? But let him escape unpunished; I’ll put up with it nor ask for vengeance; only let him restore her and repair his former deeds by new.”

 

GINA EMPYREAN FULGORA RVENTRE.COM WEBSITE 10-26-16

Goddess of Lightning Fulgora – Etruscan / Roman 

Fulgora is an active principle of a Star and Sky Goddess, her names in Latin means “Lightning,” “Flashing,” or “Brightness.” There is not much in the source material on Her. The only mention of Fulgora by name that I could find in classical texts was in Saint Augustine’s City of God, where he quotes the Roman rhetorician (orator) Seneca, from a work presumably lost to us. Augustine, who lived in the fourth and fifth centuries of the common era, was a North African Pagan (a Berber from Algeria, to be precise) who later converted to Christianity (after saying goodbye to his companion of thirteen years, a concubine he calls simply “The One”).

He wrote the book mentioned above, whose full title is The City of God Against the Pagans, then in vogue, that the downfall of the Roman Empire was attributable to the rise of the Church; much the same charge has been leveled in modern times (for example in the question, What made the Dark Ages dark? The answer to which is: Christianity, with its condemnation of the learning of the ancients) and I can’t help but think the ancient Pagans had a point.

Augustine quotes Seneca, who lived a good four centuries earlier, right around the time of the BC/BCE switch. I’ve no idea why the idea that some Goddesses were unmarried in the mythology should be so shocking, nor can I account for Seneca’s sarcasm, but apparently considers Populonia, Fulgora, and Rumina not of marriage able material. Oddly enough, both Populonia and Rumina are considered aspects of Juno, who are especially concerned with fertility and motherhood; perhaps he is objecting to the idea of unmarried mothers. Though given that grouping I find myself wondering, probably without reason, if Fulgora likewise might have something to do with Juno; Juno was, after all, one of the special class of Deities Who had the ability to throw thunderbolts.

The lack of mention of Fulgora, or evidence of temples or rituals to Her is a little surprising, given the Roman interest in the phenomenon of lightning, which they considered an especially important portent. Perhaps She is simply lightning personified (though the noun fulgura itself is neutral, not feminine). The Roman fascination with lightning was inherited from the Etruscans, who had books devoted to the practice of haruspicy, or divining the will of the Gods, said to have been invented by Tarkhies (Latin Tages), the Etruscan God of Wisdom who was born from the Earth.

Nowadays haruspices are mostly remembered for predicting the future by the shape of sheep’s entrails (especially the liver); but reading lightning was another of their specialties, and the Etruscan books concerning the art were called the Libri fulgurales, or “books about lightning-omens.” In a more official capacity, the augurs, a college of priests concerned with making sure the state was doing things in line with the will of the Gods, also read the signs, including lightning.

As an omen, lightning was considered an auspicia oblativa, an unsought auspice, meaning one out of the blue and not officially requested through ritual. Lightning and thunder were of a class of omens called ex caelo (“from the heavens”) and were the most important type; and if an augur officially reported thunder or lightning, the comitia (officially assemblies) were not to be held.

Lightning was recognized as several different types, which affected the interpretation of the sign: there were for example types considered “punishing”, “ominous,” “decisive,” or “boastful.” Pliny the Elder, who lived in the first century CE (and who died in the famous eruption of Mount Vesuvius) says in his Natural History that according to the Etruscans there are nine Gods who have the ability to send lightning, but eleven types of lightning, since Jupiter throws three kinds. (Though he also says that the Romans only recognize two Gods who sent lightning: Jupiter in the daytime, and Summanus or Pluto at night.) We know of at least seven Gods who were thought to throw thunderbolts: Jupiter, Juno, Mulcibar/Vulcan, Minerva, Mars, Saturn, and Summanus/Pluto (though besides Pliny I haven’t found anything linking Summanus and Pluto, so perhaps they are to be considered separately).

In the Etruscan system the sky was divided into four parts, with four smaller subdivisions; lightning seen in the eastern part of the sky was considered lucky or favorable, while that from the northwest quadrant was thought especially terrible and unfortunate. Pliny also says that only lightning that comes without thunder or noise is properly a sign from the Gods. He then makes the astonishing statement that lightning could be conjured from the sky by humans, if the proper rituals were observed; and that he knew of groves and altars set aside for that purpose. (Don’t try this at home, I feel I should warn.)

A place that had been struck by lightning was called a bidental, and was considered sacred to Jupiter. It was marked off and made separate, neither to be walked on nor even looked at, and a two-year-old sheep was traditionally sacrificed. A bidental was often given an altar, and a structure called a puteal, or “well-head” (which was usually used for just that, wells or springs) was used to cover the spot. The name is a little mysterious, though: it is derived from bidens “two teeth” and may refer to either the young sheep sacrificed, or to the forked appearance of lightning.

All this Roman fascination with lightning—what it might mean as message from the Gods, and the proper respect and rituals around places it has struck—makes it all the more odd that we have just a single mention of Fulgora. That Fulgora protected Her devotees from lightning is a not unreasonable supposition based on Her name. The practice of burying stone axes thought to represent thunderbolts at Roman sites has been taken as an attempt to prevent lightning strikes. It would make sense that Fulgora had a part in these practices, or was invoked in the sacrifices at a bidental, but we don’t really know.

Athena Minerva OwlAthene Noctua (counterpart to the Night Skies of Ourania)  – Greek   

In the mythology of ancient Greece, Athene was so impressed by the great eyes and solemn appearance of the Owl that, having banished the mischievous crow, she honored the night bird by making her the favorite. Athene’s bird is the Owl, (Athene noctua). This Owl is protected and inhabited the Acropolis in great numbers. It is believed that a Magical “inner light” gave Owls their Night Vision. As the symbol of Athene, the Owl is her protector. If an Owl flew over it means success in battle or victory over any issue. 

The word “Noctua” in Latin literally means ‘Night Bird.’ Nocturnalis, from Nocturnus meaning ‘Of the Night,’ from Nox and Noct meaning ‘Night.’ In Constellation Astrology the head of an obsolete modern constellation, Turdus Solitarius, encroaches onto one of the scales of Libra, the one with the alpha star, Zuben Algenubi. Turdus Solitarius, the solitary Thrush was a constellation that was never widely recognized and was replaced by other birds, including Noctua, the Owl and the Hermit Bird (Night Bird). The constellation was located on the end of the tail of Hydra the Water-Snake, just below Libra. Its stars have been incorporated back into Hydra. Manilius says the Scales represent ‘Balancing Night with Day’.

The words ostrich and thrush comes from the same root, ostrich avis + Late Latin struthio, Greek strousthos, turdus and thrush from Greek strousthos. The Egyptian goddess Maat uses her ostrich feather to measure the weight of the soul (karma), in which a person’s soul lies in one and the ostrich feather of the Goddess Maat in the other. In earlier times, Libra is represented not by a balance, but as the Claws of a Scorpion, Scorpius. At first Scorpio’s claws were the scales.

The Zuben- prefix in the names of the stars of Libra is from the Arabic word for ‘Claw’. The Romans created the constellation, Chelae, ‘Claws’, a common Roman title for Libra, but as Ian Ridpath (Star Tales) explains the idea of a balance in this area did not originate with the Romans, it is the Sumerians who knew this area as ZIB-BA AN-NA, the Balance of Heaven, 2000 years bce, where the Arabs got the name Zuben. Hence it seems that the Romans revived a constellation that existed before Greek times.

Noctua is the only caelregio with two separated parts with the smaller part being Serpens Cauda, which is one of the two parts of the constellation Serpens. The two parts of Noctua are separated by Tarandus while the two parts of Serpens are separated by Ophiuchus the Serpent-Holder.

Tarandus is named after the Latin word for “Reindeer.” This caelregio can also be called Rangifer since it also means Reindeer in Latin. It is imagined that Reindeer, although winter creature, does share a relationship with Eagle (Aquila). Reindeer wears the shield for protection as worn by Athena, especially from arrows of (Sagitta). In Greek mythology, the Little Owl is messenger of Athene, not Hermes or Mercury, for she is the  Goddess of Wisdom and Nature, where the animals and avian are closer associated with Goddess Cultures. In later years, the Romans appropriated the Owl as a companion for their Goddess of Wisdom, Minerva as they spread the stories once associated with Athene and were retold in the name of Minerva. 

The name of the owl in some countries are derived from Minerva, for example is Minervanpöllö in Finland & Minervauggla in Sweden. Noctula and Nottola, which the Italians give to bats, because they appear at night, as the owl. Italian influences: And like the owl… I am like a pelican of the wilderness, I am like an owl of the desert.” Aretino continues: ” ma si come un nottola – (i.e. bat); “owl” in Italian is ” civetta.” Dante uses the word ” vespertiglio ” (which also means bat). In Teutonic myth, its stated as Klag-Mutter – Owl, Woodwife, Owl-Mother, Witch, 1643.

Persephone, Apulian red-figure amphora 4th century bcePersephone – Greek

I sing of thee, Night Queen, fervent lover of the darkest lord; Iron Queen, unbending ruler of the dead; Bright Queen, removed from a mother’s shadow; Winter Queen, ethereal, smoke-born maiden; Infernal Queen, keeper of the natural balance; Motherly Queen, defender of the dying and forsaken;

Summer Queen, bringer of life and fertile love; Young Queen,champion of the lovelorn; Vengeful Queen, mistress of the fair Eumenides; Lovely Queen, bringer of moonlit magic;

Shadow Queen, savior of the broken; Child Queen, keeper of the earthly fruits; Patient Queen, unmovable in justice and honor; Ghastly Queen, lady of the shades of the dead; Eternal Queen, existing in the shadow-world; Persephone,bringer of light to dusky dark. 

Various Sources: on the web, Evelyn B. Harrison, Wiki (major revisions of Wiki); Tammuz and Ishtar : a monograph upon Babylonian religion and theology containing extensive extracts from the Tammuz liturgies and all of the Arbela oracles”; Thaliatook.com; mirrorpalace.wordpress.com; Pagan Armenia at https://rentyerevan.com; Compilation and revisions by Phoenix and additions by Sarah Burnt Stone.

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