A Question of Sun Goddessessam
Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.
*Ask Your Mama™ Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™
by ©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman
Dear Mama Donna,
I have always heard that the sun is associated with the male and the moon with the female. Are there any sun goddesses? Who? Where?
Sun lover, in Arizona
In archaic times, people perceived the sun, in its shining prime and glory, the giver of heat and light and life, to be the effulgent force of the female. A passionate aspect of the Great Mother, the versatile Jill-of-All-Trades who issues forth and supports whole life. She is the Heaven Illuminating Goddess, Amaterasu Omikame, in Japan, and the Queen of Heaven and Earth, Arinna, in Mesopotamia. She was Yhi, Sun Woman, to the Arunta of Australia. Sun Sister was known in Anatolia, Siberia and Native America.
Tribal North Europe knew Her, too. The Germans called Her Sunna, as did the Norwegians. In Scandinavia, She was Glory-of-Elves or Sol. The Eddas say that on Doomsday, She will bear a daughter who will be the new sun, the next creation. The luminous world to come. She was Sol, as well, to the Celts who also called her Sul or Sulis. Her celebrations took place on open plains, on hilltops, overlooking springs. A major ceremonial site was Silbury Hill (Sulisbury Hill) and the springs at Bath, once called Aquae Sulis, were the site of Roman altars sacred to Sul Minerva.
The Great Mother in ancient India was Aditi, the mother of the twelve spirits of the zodiac, the Adityas who would “reveal their light at Doomsday.” The Mahanirvanatantra describes the sun as a golden garment of light that graces the Great Goddess. “The sun, the most glorious symbol in the physical world, is the vesture of Her who is ‘clothed with the sun.’”
orange like a
arousing with a lover’s
touch the clustered
I praise this
great wheel the sun —
rising it is an
the Lady of the East.
– Vidya Kara, Eleventh Century Sanskrit
Tantric Buddhist monks greeted the Sun Goddess, Marici, at dawn, chanting to Her, “the glorious one, the sun of happiness. . . I salute you O Goddess Marici! Bless me and fulfill my desires. Protect me, O Goddess, from all the eight fears.” Marici, or Mari, was a precursor of the Christian Mary. The New Testament Book of Revelation refers to Her as a “woman clothed in the sun.”
With the advent of the patriarchy, the sun underwent a sex change. Profound, this gender shift was a portrayal of the left brain revolution, the ascendance of ration over passion. Female divinity was overthrown, overthrone, overgrown. Her domain plundered, Her authority usurped, Her worship polluted. The sun, with the strength of it’s brilliance, it’s sheer presence and potency, came to stand for the masculine principle, the power of rational thinking. The moon, reflective, more subtle and seemingly erratic, came to be associated with the feminine in most cultures. Although the traits of the sun are thought to be male, it retains its female designation in the languages of Northern Europe, Arabia and Japan.
Many solar blessings of the Goddess,
*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com
Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she where she where she offers intuitive tarot readings and spiritual counseling and works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.
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