As aforementioned I am now dedicated to the Goddess in Her names of Nut, Aphrodite, and the Great Mother and here I would like to talk a bit about them.
By Kath Morgan
Nut is a Goddess who has been in my life for the longest amount of time and so is the primary name of Goddess that I work with. She is the star and sky Goddess of the Egyptian pantheon, consort of the earth God Geb and mother to The Five: Osiris, Horus (the Elder), Seth, Isis and Nephthys. She is a Goddess of many qualities and I feel She has been simplified or neglected in recent years; She did not have any temples of Her own in Egypt and little evidence remains to suggest that She had Her own cult worship. What does remain is images on coffin lids and religious documents, passages in the Pyramid Texts and a beautiful zodiac on the Hathor Temple ceiling at Dendera. It is clear that despite a lack of of cult, Nut played a key role in the cosmos and was one of those deities in the pantheon's that was ever present. She did not need Her own temple because She could be seen every night in the starry sky.
She was the Goddess of the sky, who stretched protectively over the Earth, who held every soul in the stars, gave birth to the Sun each day and held up the moon; the Gods sailed through Her body each day and night and She stood between the ordered world on Earth and the chaos of the Nun beyond. This makes Her not just a 'simplistic sky Goddess', but a Great Mother, the Creatrix who moves the Sun through its cycle allowing life to exist on Earth; she is a Goddess of motherhood and birth, giving birth to the Sun each day and being the mother of more offspring than any other Egyptian Goddess (The Five); she is a Goddess of death and rebirth, swallowing the Sun each night and holding the souls of the dead within Her body; She is the water bearer, wearing the pot hieroglyph upon Her head and pouring life giving waters upon us; the Milky Way was seen as Her form stretching over us and the Nile was seen as a reflection of this... Nut is a Goddess who stands for unity and connection to all things, from the smallest cell to the vastest galaxy in space. She stretches Herself over everyone on Earth, shining Her light on us all, in the day time and at night, constantly watching. She does not discriminate between people and animals; we are all beneath Her light.
This is who Nut is to me.
Primordial Fire, by Myself
Aphrodite is a Goddess who has come to me only recently. I discovered Her love whilst attending a talk by Jane Meredith at Witchfest International 2012. She lead us through a meditation in Aphrodite's temple, looking into three mirrors into Her mysteries... I cried during this meditation and felt truly touched by Her love. Again Aphrodite has been a much simplified Goddess, perceived as a beautiful slim, white woman reigning over sexual love and 'typical' Western beauty.
Whilst She does indeed manifest as a beautiful slim, white woman and reigns over sexual love, She also reaches far further. To me, in the meditation She revealed Herself in the Venus of Willendorf abundant figure. She was a full-bodied primitive woman exuding beauty, fertility and life! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and in the Western world society and the media has created an unrealistic and damaging view of what beauty is. Few of us are seen as beautiful and the ones that are, only are when smothered in makeup and photoshopped - we cannot look like these women in magazines and film because not even they look like that! Real women, and men for that matter, are vastly varied in shapes and sizes! Some of us have full bellies and thighs, freckles, curly hair, black skin, no hair, wide hips, slim figures... Aphrodite's eyes see only beauty in us all - and we need to see through Her eyes; if only we did, then we would find it hard to criticise the beauty that She gave us.
Aphrodite wasn't always depicted in the Classical form that the Greeks and Romans portrayed Her; in Her Anatolian origins She was portrayed with many breasts upon Her chest to represent Her life giving power. As a Goddess of love and sexuality She is also a Goddess of the fertility and abundance that comes from that. She is a Goddess of all forms of love too: Love between a romantic couple (of any sexual preference), love between parents and children, family, friends, pets and their owners. She manifests in that feeling of love - when you feel that lift in your heart, that bliss, you are filled with Aphrodite's essence.
There is no way that I couldn't feel drawn to Her! She is just such a beautiful, loving, and inspiring Goddess, again reigning over many aspects of life.
The Great Mother
Tellus on the Ara Pacis (Rome)
I dedicated to the Great Mother, of whom can indeed be seen as the Universal Goddess Herself; I decided to focus on the Goddesses' Mother aspect, as opposed to Her many other aspects (Maiden and Crone for example). The Great Mother Herself can have many names and be found in many cultures, which is why I felt drawn to Her. She has been recognised by humanity for millenia, from the origins of our material culture, expressed in the primitive Venus figurines found worldwide. She is Magna Mater, Gaia, Tellus, 'Venus', Maria... Specifically I honour Her in Her earthly manifestation in the mounds of earth, mountains, farms, and fertile places. She is the mother who holds Her hand out to us in our time of need, no matter who we are. She shares many qualities with my other Goddesses, Nut and Aphrodite, reigning over Life and Death, love, sexuality and fertility. I am drawn to such Goddesses it seems... The Great Mother transcends cultural boundaries and can link me to any place. I can stand on a hilltop and call Her name, I can anoint Durga's statue at a Hindu festival, I can pray to Maria in the Church. Mother is a part of us all, even in the religions that choose to ignore Her and place Father in Her place; those people have mothers and even if they choose not to acknowledge their mother's divinity, She is still there to offer Her unconditional affection, and stern guidance if needs be.
Together these Goddesses help to form my path. My partner pointed out to me that I had chosen Goddesses that together reign over Earth, Sea and Sky, Maiden, Mother Crone, and three parts of the year. They do so fluidly and can merge into all aspects in their own right but broadly speaking they can stand for these aspects:
Nut is the sky and rules over the winter part of the year, taking on a Crone (/Sovereign) role in Her chthonic aspect.
Aphrodite is the Sea and rules over the blossoming part of the year, as a Maiden (/Lover) growing to fullness and experiencing the variants of love.
The Great Mother is the Earth and rules over the time of harvesting as the Mother, giving birth to the bounty of the year.
In addition to these three there is an additional stone on my altar to represent any other Name of the Goddess that comes to me at different times. One particular one has stood out to me, one who actually represents fire... But this Goddess for some reason at this time wishes for me to keep our relationship private. It is a personal, blossoming relationship with this Goddess of whom I never expected to draw me to Her. I'm excited to see where this new relationship goes.
I would also like to address the God briefly in this post. I believe that the Divine comes to us in the best way that we will understand, with all our cultural and social conditioning to consider. The Divine comes to me in the form of the Feminine face of God. I believe that the Divine is both masculine, feminine, neither and both. I believe that God is equal with Goddess and both are absolutely necessary in existence. But, I do connect to the Feminine greatly and so She plays a greater role in the practice of my path - in rituals, prayers, devotions ect... In my heart the God - Osiris - stirs a great love within me. Osiris plays a silent by ever watchful role in my life; I feel that He is content with my devotion to the Feminine because He knows that He lies within my heart. I shall do a post about Him in the future too.
The Temple of Nut: http://thetempleofnut.moonfruit.com/
Video of Primordial Aphrodite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T82pYTiEi8