Goddess Kostroma  

Posted by Stella Clark

Goddess Kostroma Image
"KOSTROMA" IS A RUSSIAN FERTILITY GODDESS AND THE PERSONIFICATION OF "SPRING", AND MUCH LIKE THE GREEK PERSEPHONE, SHE IS A DYING AND REBORN DAUGHTER WHO SYMBOLIZED THE LIFE AND DEATH OF VEGETATION. SHE DIES AT THE END OF SPRING AND RISES ONCE MORE AT THE END OF WINTER. SHE IS USUALLY DEPICTED AS A GIRL DRESSED IN WHITE WITH AN OAK BRANCH IN THE HAND.

SHE WAS ASSOCIATED WITH THE FERTILITY AND DYING GOD, "KOSTROMO." THE "'BURIAL OF KOSTROMA'," A PRIMITIVE RITE IN WHICH BONFIRES WERE KINDLED AND A MAIDEN CHOSEN WAS HONORED AND CARRIED IN A PROCESSION; AFTERWARDS, SHE REIGNED OVER THE GAMES AND DANCING. GIRLS DANCED AROUND HER FIGURE AT THE SOLSTICE RITES. THERE IS ALSO A TRADITION OF DROWNING A STRAW GIRL IN THE RIVER OR BURNING HER ON THE BONFIRE TO DISPEL THE WINTER. THIS CEREMONY IS SUPPOSED TO GUARANTEE THE SEASON'S FERTILITY.

LITTLE BY LITTLE THE POWER OF THIS GODDESS HAS BEEN FORGOTTEN, AND "KOSTROMA "TURNED INTO A DELICATE YOUNG GIRL.

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Goddess Akuaba  

Posted by Stella Clark

Goddess Akuaba Image
"AKUABA "IS THE PRIMAL MOTHER. SHE IS THE FERTILITY GODDESS OF THE ASHANTI PEOPLE OF GHANA. SHE SYMBOLIZES WELCOME, AND HER SYMBOL IS ALWAYS PLACED ABOVE THE DOOR, ENSURING THE VISITOR WILL BE WELL CARED FOR UPON ENTERING THE HOME. AN AKUABA IS A CARVED WOODEN FIGURE USED BY THE TRIBE AS A TALISMAN TO PROMOTE FERTILITY AND TO PROTECT PREGNANT WOMEN. A WOMAN WHO HOPES TO BECOME PREGNANT WILL KEEP THE DOLL ON HER PERSON AND DRESS AND CARE FOR IT AS IF IT WERE A REAL CHILD. YOUNG GIRLS IN MAIDENHOOD USUALLY RECEIVE HER IMAGE FROM AN ELDER MENTOR AT THEIR FIRST MENSTRUATION WITH A CEREMONY WELCOMING HER MOTHERHOOD ROLE IN THE TRIBE. AS THEY COME OF AGE, WELCOMING THEM INTO THEIR MOTHERHOOD ROLE IN THE TRIBE.

AKUABA DOLLS ARE CARRIED ON THE BACKS OF ASHANTI WOMEN WHO ARE EITHER HOPING TO CONCEIVE OR ARE PREGNANT AND HOPING FOR A BEAUTIFUL CHILD. THERE IS AN OLD LEGEND THAT TELLS OF AN UNFORTUNATE COUPLE WHO HAD NO CHILDREN. THE WIFE, AKUA, SOUGHT OUT THEIR SPIRITUAL LEADER FOR ADVICE. HE GAVE HER A BEAUTIFUL DOLL MADE FROM CLAY THAT HAD A LONG, RINGED NECK AND A LARGE, DECORATED, OVAL HEAD, AND FOLLOWING HIS INSTRUCTIONS, SHE CARRIED THE DOLL WITH HER ALWAYS. MONTHS LATER, SHE GAVE BIRTH TO A BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER.

TRADITIONALLY, MEN GIVE THE DOLLS TO THEIR WIVES, AND THE WIVES WEAR THEM IN HOPES OF HAVING BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN. CRAFTSMEN MAKE THREE STYLES OF DOLLS:

* THOSE WHO DESIRE A WISE CHILD WILL RECEIVE A DOLL THAT HAS A ROUND HEAD, CALLED "AKUABATENE."
* PARENTS WHO WANT A BOY CHILD WILL RECEIVE A DOLL THAT HAS A RECTANGULAR HEAD, CALLED "AKUABANINI".
* THOSE WHO DESIRE A GIRL WILL RECEIVE AN "AKUABABERE" WITH AN OVAL SHAPED HEAD.

UPON THE BIRTH OF THE CHILD, THE NEW MOTHER USUALLY GIVES THE DOLL TO HER CHILD TO PLAY WITH. IN THIS WAY, CHILDREN LEARN HOW TO TAKE CARE OF BABIES BY WASHING AND DRESSING THE DOLLS. THESE DOLLS HAVE HELPED TO CONTINUE THE "ASHANTI "SOCIETY'S "MATRILINEAL "TRADITIONS.

"AKUABA'S" IMAGE IS CARRIED NOT ONLY BY WOMEN WHO WANT TO HAVE CHILDREN, BUT ALSO BY WOMEN WHO WANT TO ACCESS ANY PRIMAL POWERS RESERVED FOR WOMEN AND THE YOUNG.

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Goddess Yamanokami  

Posted by Stella Clark

Goddess Yamanokami Image
"YAMANOKAMI" (KAMI OF THE MOUNTAIN) IS THE JAPANESE GODDESS OF THE HUNT; SHE IS A SPIRIT OF THE THE SACRED MOUNTAINS AND RULES OVER THE FORESTS, VEGETATION, AGRICULTURE, AND THE MOUNTAINS. THE ANIMALS AND THE BIRDS AND ALL OF PLANT LIFE ARE HER SUBJECTS. WHEN SHE SO CHOOSES, SHE CAN APPEAR AS BEAUTIFUL, PASSIONATE, AND MATERNAL. BUT, SHE ALSO HAS A DARKER FORM, THAT OF A HIDEOUS AND MALICIOUS OLD HAG. IT IS SAID THAT SHE CAN CHANGE BETWEEN THE TWO IN THE FLASH OF AN EYE.

SHE THE ONE WHO BRINGS GOOD LUCK TO HUNTERS AND WOODSMEN WHO ATTEND TO HER RITES. SHE CAN BE QUITE STERN TO THOSE WHO DO NOT. IT IS ALSO SAID THAT SHE HOLDS AN INTENSE JEALOUSY TOWARDS MORTAL WOMEN, SO FIERCE THAT IT IS CONSIDERED TABOO FOR A WOMAN TO STEP FOOT ON HER MOUNTAIN. HER HATRED IS SO INTENSE THAT NEWLY MARRIED MEN HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO BE PROHIBITED FROM ATTENDING THE HUNT...FOR FEAR THEIR THOUGHTS WILL BE ON THEIR NEW BRIDE. WOMEN IN THE VILLAGES STAY INDOORS ON HER SPECIAL DAY...DECEMBER 12TH.

YAMANOKAMI IS AN EXTREMELY ANCIENT GODDESS; SHE IS PROBABLY A SURVIVOR OF THE PRE-AGRICULTURAL AGE. TODAY, HER CULT IS CONFINED BASICALLY ONLY TO THE MOUNTAIN AREAS FOR ONLY THERE CAN THE WILDERNESS STILL BE FOUND.

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