I thought about doing my own nine-day goddess series on this blog when the festival started, but that didn’t happen. So instead, I’m sharing nine goddess-inspired art journal spreads with you, along with my two measly cents about what each one represents.
To start things off, in honor of Durga and the festival that inspired me, I give you..
The fierce, the fabulous. The wild-eyed, long-tongued Kali. Thee Number One Badass for Waking-You-the-Fuck-Up. She’s been known to cut off heads and lap up the blood (metaphorically speaking… sorta.) She’s not fucking around.
Inanna / Ishtar
In some of the most ancient texts we have record of, Inanna was written about as the “Queen of Heaven”. She had it all – power, beauty, riches – and she chose to descend to the underworld to meet her sister Ereshkigal (Queen of earth and death). At the seven gates of the underworld she was stripped of all of her jewels / possessions, and then she was hung from meat hooks. good times. a very powerful story worth reading.
Aztec Mother Goddess… Coatlicue means “serpent skirt”. She is the goddess of fire, earth, sex, death, creation, transformation. She’s another fierce goddess, with a gentler touch than Kali. She is there to usher you through the darkness (the end/beginning of a cycle, grief, loss, transition)… with presence, surrender, acceptance. I visited her statue in Mexico City. It brought me to tears.
Yemaya / Mami Wata / La Sirene
Mother of the ocean, Yemaya comes from the Yoruba tradition (“La Sirene” is french for mermaid, and that’s what she’s called in Haitian Vodoun.) As the ocean, she holds it all. Unfathomably vast – the primordial depths of existence. The place we all come from. There isn’t anything she can’t take in, process, and transform. The ocean is one of my favorite places to go to sort through my shit.
Tara is the preeminent goddess in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition (so she takes on many forms, like Durga). She is a Bodhisattva, which means she has attained enlightenment, and she has vowed to help everyone else get there too. Known as the “mother of liberation”, she is love, compassion, understanding, and the altruistic desire for all beings to be happy and free.
(reminds me of this mantra that i love…)
Baba Yaga may very well be the prototype of the scary old witch. From Slavic folklore, she’s the strange old lady that lives out in the woods by herself. In truth, she can be scary, but she isn’t evil or necessarily terrible. In fact, she’s very wise. She’s seen it and lived it all, and she’s not interested in your delusions and your bullshit. To take it to another level, Baba Yaga is the wise person inside of YOU that helps you to use discernment and wise judgement. She’s a voice worth listening to.
(if you’re interested in exploring this cool story through art, check out this class!)
The Dakinis are sky dancing goddesses from the Buddhist tradition. I love these spritely creatures (they remind me of faeries!) Full of knowledge and wisdom, energy and life, and um, SKY DANCING! Wikipedia says they are malevolent and vengeful, but that’s not my experience of them at all. They take on many forms, and they are nothing if not playful. Here’s an interesting website that delves in to the Dakinis more.
This wild woman.
Sex, death, fierceness, power. Za Warrior Erotic Queen, know mean? I made this one up.
She’s like Caribbean Coatlicue Kali Ma Yemaya. She travels with me in the journal I carry in my purse. Cuz she likes to go places. She doesn’t need legs. She’s the earth. She’s the ocean. She’s the river. She can fly.
The cursed and misunderstood. Mary Magdalen was a temple priestess, sacred prostitute, and the closest friend & ally to that badass wizard socialist we call Jesus. Marilyn Monroe-ish, wouldn’t you say? Goddess? Historical figure? … does it matter?… she’s a potent archetype and symbol, whatever the case.