The Amazon Woman of Kilda: Part 2

by Jill Smith

Inspired by how Jill 'saw' and experienced the Amazon in the Glen
Inspired by how Jill 'saw' and experienced the Amazon in the Glen
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In the Spring 2012 edition of Goddess Pages I wrote of my visits to the Amazon House on St Kilda, which lies at least 60 miles to the west of mainland Scotland.

This archipelago has an almost mythical hold on many people, drawing them to visit, and in the past was almost legendary, as the islands disappear and re-appear faintly on the horizon like some version of Tir nan Og, tantalising viewers in the Western Isles of Scotland. I too was ‘called’ by them over several decades before finding an affordable way to physically reach them.

These remains of an ancient volcano, whose cliffs rise sheer from the clear deep bottle-green ocean, were inhabited from prehistoric times, being a likely stopping-off point as people hopped round the coasts from Scandinavia to Ireland. There is little early evidence as stone used in buildings was continuously re-used for later development, but advances in archaeology enable finds which push back the dates of habitation. Continue reading "The Amazon Woman of Kilda: Part 2"

The Goddess and the Nine Maidens

by Stuart McHardy

Close-up of the Devil's Burdens Eyes. Photo - Stuart McHardy
Close-up of the Devil's Burdens Eyes. Photo - Stuart McHardy.
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In his book Egyptian Myth and Legend the great Scottish folklorist Donald Mackenzie mentioned that one of the stories of the Scottish Cailleach, or Hag, has her as the ‘chief of eight old women or witches.’ He goes on, “This group of nine suggests Ptah and his eight earth gnomes, the nine mothers of Heimdall, the Norse God, and the Ennead of Heliopolis.” Here he is clearly thinking about Egyptian mythology but his reference to Scotland and Norway is merely scraping the surface of a theme in myth and legend that is effectively world-wide.

My interest in what is best described as the Nine Maidens comes from the fact that a story of them survives close to where I was raised, on the north side of Dundee in Scotland. In this local tale the nine are sisters who were the victims of a dragon-like creature who was later killed by the betrothed of the eldest sister and the site is marked by a Pictish Symbol Stone, Martin’s Stone. The Picts, often cited as a mysterious, painted people, seem in reality to be the indigenous peoples of Scotland1. They left no literary records of their own and much of what we think we know of them relies on Roman sources.  What has survived in Scotland from the time of the Picts - in previously accepted thinking the 3rd to 10th centuries of the Christian era - and been the cause of much discussion, and fantasy, is a vast corpus of carved standing stones with intriguing symbols, a considerable number of which are clearly pre-Christian. Some of the later Christian stones continued to use some of these earlier symbols. Just as Christianity spread by utilising previously sacred locations in many places so it seems that the early missionaries in Scotland co-opted an already established tradition of carving sacred stones to help spread their new message. Continue reading "The Goddess and the Nine Maidens"

Seeds on the Wind

by Carolyn Lee Boyd

EarthIn the garden of She Who Creates, tucked into a very remote corner, grows a small, water-blue planet whose inhabitants call it “Earth.” The soil is rich but most of what grows there appears on the surface to be only straggly stems fighting each other for a place near the dim light. But yet, somehow the most spectacular blooms emerge from the planet by the billions every day.

She Who Creates has planted Earth’s patch of the garden so that the breeze will catch its blossoms and carry them to the farthest reaches of all that is. “Like seeds on the wind,” she whispers as a cloud of them rises from the Earth to make their way across the cosmos.

Everyone elsewhere in the universe waits anxiously for Earth’s exquisite blossoms to drift for eons to come to their planet. When each one lands, it is enshrined and lovingly cared for, each drop of sap savored, every molecule doled out so that it will do the most good. Continue reading "Seeds on the Wind"

Be Your Own Herbal Expert – Part 8

Healing sweets: herbal honeys, syrups and cough drops - Part 1

by Susun S Weed

Honey

honey & chamomile Honey has been regarded as a healing substance for thousands of years. Greek healers relied on honey water, vinegar water, and honey/vinegar water as their primary cures. An Egyptian medical text dated to about 2600 BCE mentions honey 500 times in 900 remedies. What makes honey so special?

First, honey is antibacterial. It counters infections on the skin, in the intestines, in the respiratory system, or throughout the body.

Second, honey is hydroscopic, a long word meaning "water loving". Honey holds moisture in the place where it is put; it can even draw moisture out of the air. A honey facial leaves skin smooth and deliciously moist. These two qualities - anti-infective and hydroscopic - make honey an ideal healer of wounds of all kinds, including burns, bruises and decubita (skin ulcers), an amazing soother for sore throats, a powerful ally against bacterial diarrhea, and a counter to asthma. Continue reading "Be Your Own Herbal Expert – Part 8"