Goddess Mazu  

Posted by Stella Clark

Goddess Mazu Image
"MAZU" (MOTHER) IS THE CHINESE MOTHER GODDESS OF THE SEA. AS THE PROTECTOR GODDESS OF FISHERMEN, SHE IS A BEAUTIFUL GODDESS, AND PERHAPS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FOLK DEITIES IN TAIWAN; MANY SEAFARERS IN CHINA PLACED THEIR TRUST IN THE ASSURANCE OF SAFETY PROVIDED BY THIS GODDESS. LEGEND HAS IT THAT SHE ALWAYS HELPED PEOPLE THROUGH HARDSHIPS AND, IN PARTICULAR, RESCUES FISHERMEN WHEN THEY FACE CRISIS AT SEA.

"MAZU'S" STORY ILLUSTRATES ONE OF THE IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF THE CHINESE PANTHEON AND THE HUMAN ORIGIN OF THEIR GODS. SHE BEGAN AS A MORTAL BEING WHO ACTUALLY LIVED DURING THE TENTH CENTURY AS A PIOUS YOUNG WOMAN WHO, AT THE AGE OF 28, SACRIFICED HER OWN LIFE TO SAVE HER FATHER AND ALL BUT ONE OF HER BROTHERS FROM DROWNING. TRADITION HAS IT THAT SHE WENT INTO A TRANCE, AND AND SAW HER FAMILY DROWNING AT SEA, AND MIRACULOUSLY, SEPARATED FROM HER SOUL TO SAVE THEM. AFTER HER DEATH, LOCAL BOATS BEGAN TO CARRY AN IMAGE OF HER FOR PROTECTION AT SEA, AND AFTER TWO CENTURIES OF THE VENERATION, SHE WAS SUBSEQUENTLY PROMOTED INTO THE CELESTIAL HIERARCHY. EVENTUALLY, IN THE 17TH CENTURY, SHE BECAME THE "EMPRESS OF HEAVEN."

IN TAIWAN, SHE IS OFTEN CONSIDERED THE PATRON GODDESS OF THE ISLAND, AND HER TEMPLES ARE FOUND IN ALMOST EVERY MAJOR CITY OR TOWN. IN SHANGHAI, VISITORS TO HER TEMPLE OFFER FLOWERS AND INCENSE AND GIFTS OF MONEY. IN SOME TEMPLES SHE IS CALLED "GREAT AUNTIE" OR "GRANDMOTHER. "SHE CONTINUES TO BE WORSHIPPED IN CHINA TODAY.

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Greek Goddess Diana  

Posted by Stella Clark

Greek Goddess Diana Image
DIANA is the Roman Goddess of nature, fertility, hunting, crossroads, and the moon. She was originally worshipped by the Latins and Sabines as a Goddess of the moon and of forests; her worship was brought to Rome by the Etruscan King Servius Tullius in the sixth century BCE. He built a temple to her on the Aventine Hill, and she was worshipped mainly by the plebeians and the slaves. The two main centers of her worship were at Aricia in Latium and in the forests of Mount Tifata near Capua. Here, she was called upon by women to bless them with fertility and easy childbirths. Diana's consort as Goddess of the woods was Virbius, God of the woods.

As Diana came to be associated with the Greek Goddess Artemis, her roles in fertility and childbirth were lessened. Her image was that of a huntress with her bow and arrow and a crescent moon on her brow, and she was often accompanied by dogs, who were sacred to Artemis. She became known as the daughter of Jupiter and Latona, corresponding to Artemis's parents, Zeus and Leto. Diana was also seen as a triple Goddess, as DIANA TRIVIA (of the three ways). This epithet led to an association with death, as a three-way path was often seen as the gateway to the underworld.

Diana's name comes from the Indo-European root di-, which means "shining" or "light." Her many epithets include:

DIANA LUCINA (Goddess of childbirth)

DIANA AVENTINENSIS (of the Aventine)

DIANA CAELISTIS (celestial)

DIANA NEMORENSIS (of the woods)

DIANA OMNIVAGA (wandering one)

DIANA OPIFERA (aid bringer)

DIANA VENATRIX (huntress and mistress of wild animals)

DIANA TIFATINA (of the town of Tifata)

DIANA LUCIFERA (bringer of light)

DIANA LATONIA (from her mother, Latona)

DIANA ORTYGIA (born on the island or Ortygia, the Roman name for Delos where Artemis was born)

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