Goddess Ala  

Posted by Stella Clark

Goddess Ala Image
ALA IS THE MUCH LOVED WEST AFRICAN GODDESS OF THE EARTH; SHE IS THE CREATOR OF THE LIVING, THE MOTHER OF ALL THINGS...SHE IS ALSO THE QUEEN OF THE DEAD. SHE IS THE DAUGHTER OF THE HIGH GOD, CHUKU. AS THE GODDESS OF FERTILITY, IT IS ALA WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MANY OF THE ASPECTS OF CIVILIZATION AS WELL AS FOR THE GUARDIANSHIP OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN. IN GENERAL, ALA GIVES BIRTH TO THE BEGINNINGS OF ALL EXISTENCE; SHE MAKES THE SEED IN THE WOMB GROW AND GIVES IT LIFE. SHE THEN REMAINS WITH IT DURING ITS LIFE, AND AS RULER OF THE UNDERWORLD, SHE WELCOMES THE SOULS OF THE DEAD BACK INTO HER WOMB.

SHE IS ALSO THE PROVIDER OF COMMUNAL LOYALTY AND THE LAWGIVER OF SOCIETY. IT IS SHE WHO GUIDES THE MORALITY OF HER PEOPLE. SHE GIVES THE LAW AND EXPLAINS HOW THOSE WHO LIVE UPON HER MAY FOLLOW A LIFE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TRUTH.

HER TEMPLES ARE USUALLY ERECTED IN THE CENTER OF THE VILLAGES, AND TO THIS DAY, THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE IBO VILLAGE JOIN TOGETHER TO BUILD A SMALL, SQUARE WOODEN HOUSE WITH A LIFE SIZE IMAGE OF ALA SITTING ON THE PORCH FOR ALL TO SEE WHO GO BY. USUALLY SHE IS SURROUNDED BY COLORFUL SCULPTURES. EACH YEAR HER FOLLOWERS PAY HOMAGE TO HER WITH AN EVENT KNOWN AS THE YAM FESTIVAL.

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Hebe The Good Goddess  

Posted by Stella Clark

Hebe The Good Goddess Image
IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY, HEBE (HE-BEE) WAS THE GODDESS OF YOUTH. SHE WAS A MOST BEAUTIFUL GODDESS; HER NAME MEANS "YOUTH" AND "PRIME OF LIFE"; HENCE, HER TITLE. HEBE IS THE YOUNGEST DAUGHTER OF TWO OLYMPIANS--ZEUS AND HERA. SHE IS THE SISTER OF ARES, THE GOD OF WAR, AND OF EILEITHYIA, THE GODDESS OF CHILDBIRTH. HEBE SERVED AS CUPBEARER TO THE GODS OF MOUNT OLYMPUS UNTIL SHE MARRIED HARACLES AFTER HIS MOST UNFORTUNATE MORTAL LIFE WAS ENDED. THE FOLLOWING SCENE FROM HOMER'S ILIAD DEPICTS HEBE PERFORMING HER DUTIES:

"THE GODS WERE SEATED NEAR TO ZEUS IN COUNCIL, "UPON THE GOLDEN FLOOR. GRACIOUSLY HEBE "SERVED THEM NECTAR, AS WITH CUPS OF GOLD"THEY TOASTED ONE ANOTHER, LOOKING DOWN"TOWARD THE STRONGHOLD OF ILION"."-- ILIAD; BOOK IV 1-5"

AFTER HERACLES DIED HE ASCENDED TO MOUNT OLYMPUS WHERE HE WAS WEDDED TO HEBE AS A REWARD FOR THE LONG-SUFFERING HERO AND THE KIND-HEARTED GODDESS. THIS RECONCILED HIM WITH HER MOTHER, HERA, WHO HAD LONG BEEN AGAINST THE MIGHTY WARRIOR.

"AND MIGHTY HERACLES, THE VALIANT SON OF NEAT-ANKLED ALCMENA, WHEN HE HAD FINISHED UP HIS GRIEVIOUS TOILS, MADE HEBE, THE CHILD OF THE GREAT ZEUS AND GOLD SHOD HERA HIS SHY WIFE IN SNOWY OLYMPUS. HAPPY HE! FOR HE HAS FINISHED HIS GREAT WORK AND LIVES AMONGST THE UNDYING GODS, UNTROUBLED AND UNAGING ALL HIS DAYS."HESIOD, THEOGONY, 950"

HEBE HAD OTHER ROLES AS WELL. SHE WAS THE PATRON GODDESS OF THE YOUNG BRIDE, AND AN ATTENDANT OF THE GODDESS, APHRODITE. SHE ALSO SERVED TO ASSIST HER MOTHR, HERA, BY PREPARING THE GREAT GODDESSES' CHARIOT.

"ON MOUNT OLYMPUS, HEBE MADE HERA'S CHARIOT READY."--THE ILIAD, 05.722"

"ON MOUNT OLYMPUS, HEBE ATTACHES THE YOKE OF HERA'S CHARIOT."--THE ILIAD, 05.730"

AND, WHEN HER BROTHER, ARES, WAS WOUNDED ON THE BATTLEFIELD OF TROY, IT WAS HEBE WHO COMFORTED HIM.

"HEBE WASHES AND DRESSES HIM AFTER HE HAD BEEN HEALED OF "THE WOUNDS "INFLICTED BY ATHENA."--THE ILIAD, 05.905"

HEBE PROTECTS AND DISTILLS THE GOLDEN APPLES OF THE HESPERIDES, THE APPLES WHICH GRANT THE OLYMPIANS THEIR YOUTH AND IMMORTALITY. IN MORE RECENT TIMES, HER FIGURE IS A VERY POPULAR STATURE FOR USE IN GARDEN FOUNTAINS.

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