Melissa at the hearth of her hive …..🐝

Today we reach the Winter solstice, and are reminded that we are at the darkest point of our year, and from now we can look forward to the reborn light.  I celebrate this turning of the seasons with a print  of Melissa at the hearth of her hive. For many bee keepers the winter solstice marks a turning point in their hives, as the honey bee queens start to begin again to slowly reproduce their first young for the next year. She sits within the darkness of her hive, but somehow knows that this is a time of importance and growth in the life cycle of her hive. Melissa, the Bee-goddess’s name,  has a long history with roots reaching back to  beyond Ancient Greece. It is probable that the ‘pure mother bee’ deity originated in Crete , and arose from the Minoan culture. There she was called Potnia , the matriarchal bee goddess , so important for the Minoans whose  tombs were shaped like a beehive and honey mead was used produces and used ritually . The myths of ancient Greece link the ‘Melissae’ with their main god Zeus , who was born on the  island of Crete  in a cave of bees and was fed by them. In the time of ancient Greece,  in the temples of Artemis, Aphrodite, Demeter but also of Cybele, Diana and Rhea, priestesses who served The Great Mother were called the ‘Melissae’ meaning ..the bees. The Goddess as the Great Mother was  titled Melissa, translated literally, as ‘the Queen Bee.’ The bee is for many now and in ancient times , a sacred insect  signifing immortality and resurrection ,offering a bridge from the natural world to the underworld. Because a honeycomb is naturally made up of hexagonal prisms, it was considered by philosophers to be the manifestation of divine harmony in nature. Many cultures and religions have deities personifying the bees connecting people to the sacred aspect of the bees.

Beware ! the ‘Queen Bee syndrome’ – the negative archetypal aspect of this most ancient and sacred goddess.

The words at the top of this  print are the first line of Carol Ann Duffy’s poem ..Bees

'Melissa at the hearth of her hive'

‘Melissa at the hearth of her hive’

Bees by Carol Ann Duffy

Here are my bees,
brazen, blurs on paper
besotted: buzzwords, dancing
their flawless, airy maps.

Been deep, my poet bees,
in the parts of flowers
in daffodil, thistle, rose, even
the golden lotus; so glide,
gilded, glad, golden, thus –

wise – and know of us:
how your scent pervades
my shadowed, busy heart,
and honey is art.

Minoan Bee pendant

Minoan Bee pendant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A solid gold Minoan pendant depicting two bees clutching a honeycomb (1800-1700 BCE), found in the Old Palace cemetery at Chrysolakkos near Malia, Crete.

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Cybele’s Heart..h in the Tower …….❤️

Ancient Cybele originated in the mountains in Anatolia(present day Turkey) in the 6 century BCE. She was an earth mother goddess and connected to nature and agriculture. Her cult involved singing , drumming, dancing, and wild orgiastic  rituals and she was associated  with bees and honey. The Great Mother  was usually shown seated and pregnant or in some instances shown giving birth. Her myth tells of a husband called Attis who was a sacrificed  death and resurrection God and was turned into a pine tree. The most sacred manifestation of Cybele was as a revered black meteorite. In 204BC  this stone was  removed to Rome,via the Delphi Oracle who gave permission for the Mother of the Gods to be welcomed in Rome where she was called Cybele -Magna Mater , the great mother. Cybele’s cult was very popular in the whole of the Roman Empire and it was not terminated until the Christian era. The meteorite black stone disappeared but was recorded historically. Cybele is usually shown wearing a tower as her crown so seen as the personification of fortifications such as towns or cities. Other Goddesses also wear this type of crown such as that seen on the Statue of Liberty in New York. My print show St Michael’s Tower at the top of  Glastonbury Tor. Cybele is closely connected to Minoan Goddess Rhea and the Greek goddess Demeter

Jung saw the tower as a feminine symbol with sacred meaning. He actually built himself a stone tower at Bollingen in Switzerland. In the middle of the tower was the fireplace and writes that it “represented for him the maternal hearth.” above the hearth he carved a quote “Seek that which is not possible.” Here in his tower he retreated alone to work and live off grid ,writing ,painting and carving stones. Jung saw the tower as a symbol of the Self with the divine spark at its centre…. the tower being seen as the place where the body, the soul ,the self ……..matured and developed on its journey.

CYBELE's heart..h in the Tower

CYBELE’s heart..h in the Tower

The Mother Goddess

is watching the forest 

she sings to you a song of honey

and cry's the chant of mad sweet music

her heaving breast worships us

drunk and frantic with joy .....I recall

her visions give wild dreams 

she sits in our beauty 

and the red rose incubates
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TIAMAT the Devil and the Milky Way ⭐️

Blessings at Samhain – enjoy the festival that marks the end of Summer and celebrates the blanket of of darkness 🌀

Tiamat is a Goddess from the Mesopotamian religions, who roared and smote in the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos. She is also a creation Goddess who mixed the waters before there was a heaven or earth. The Christian Devil may well have inherited quite a few of some of her attributes. Tiamat was always shown with a tail, as she was cloaked with a pungent mix of animal and human characteristics. Tiamat possessed the great tablet of destinies and was murdered by her lover who desperately desired it. After the blows he cut her up into pieces which were then used for creation…her tail became the Milky Way.

TIAMAT, the devil and the Milky Way

TIAMAT, the devil and the Milky Way

img_4942

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Sedna and the Devil-fish…..

The story of Sedna is the creation myth of the Inuit peoples. She is a mother goddess who is traditionally both revered and feared. Sedna is a beautiful young Inuit woman who drowns following betrayal and abuse by her husband and father. Her father eventually pushed her out of a boat and cut off her fingers when she tried to save herself thereupon she sank to the bottom of the sea to become the immortal ocean goddess who governs the fish, seals, walrus, and whales upon which the Inuit depend for food.  Psychologically Sedna represents our Soul and the deep ocean symbolises the world of dreams, the feminine …the unconscious. The myth starts as a tale of betrayal and trauma but evolves into a tale of entering an immersive state in the silent space of the non-rational unconscious, where the water can heal her trauma and depression.  The octopus is called the Devil-fish in many arctic cultures. Here this most  intelligent of creatures  holds Sedna in stillness allowing her to release  all her suffering and become unbound. When she is ready to let go she can move on and create the world and Self she is destined for.

Sedna and the Devil-fish

Sedna and the Devil-fish

This print symbolises the alchemical phase  of Solutio  – the  immersion in salty water , a process of healing, meditation and  stillness. This process may need courage to look into our  unconscious self , both dark and light.  Solutio opens the  flood gates allowing tears to be shed and much to pass through.

img_4860(poetry meditation that I use as a process of developing a print )

 

 

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Demeter and the dead Earth……

A print of a part of my most favourite of myths….

As we head towards the Autumn Equinox /Mabon – the turn towards Autumn describes some of the events within the myth of Demeter and Persephone . At this time Persephone descends into the underworld to be with her new husband Hades. And so the grieving Demeter, the Dark mother once more travels across our Lands bringing death to our landscape in the shape of the dying Earth -Autumn followed by the dark days and the absence of light in Winter. The Alchemists would call this a state of NIGREDO – a time of the Black sun . This myth sustained a cultural ritual known as the Eleusinian mysteries for over 2,000 years…….which taught belief in man’s immortal soul and the future life after death. In all the Mediterranean area and Europe it was the religious teaching of immortality: dying before death, followed by a resurrection.

Demeter and the dead Earth......

Demeter and the dead Earth……

dscn3464The myth of Demeter, Persephone and Hades was dramatized every year with parades and pageants. This was the means of conveying the teaching to the people. The first stage of the mysteries was the outer work of dancing and feasting which went on for eight days while all other activity stopped. The second stage was the drama and role-play. The third stage was the immersion into the inner meaning of Demeter and Persephone through meditation and visualization.

In the myth it begins on earth, in the fields, and reaches down into the underworld and up into the heights of Olympus. In our psyche it begins in infancy with the first nature explorations of mother with daughter. Demeter, the mother is between earth and heaven; Persephone, the daughter, is between earth and the underworld; this exemplifies the lower and higher self through realizing expansion of the higher self and transformation of the lower self.

The cult of Eleusis was a philosophy of life satisfying the deepest yearnings and desires of the human heart. Its secret was never divulged, even by former devotees who became Christians.

Sophocles said, “Happy is he who, having seen these rites, goes below the hollow earth; for he knows the end of life and knows its God sent beginning.” When Christianity conquered the world of that day the inspiring and divine rites of Demeter came to an end.

 

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The Three Graces….”filling the world with pleasant moments and goodwill”

And so as I had started on the 3 Graces I just had to finish all 3 …..

It is said that the 3 Graces (The Charis)  lived on Mount Olympus , their Father was Zeus and their mother Euronyme. The graces were all personifications of Fertility and were adept at dance, singing and poetry. Usually the Graces were attending the Greek goddess of Beauty Aphrodite and her companion Eros. According to Greek poet Pindar, these enchanting goddesses were created to fill the world with pleasant moments and goodwill. The Graces were also associated with the Greek underworld and the Eleusian Mysteries.

 

Thalia Grace - Goddess of abundance and plenty One of the 3 Graces

Thalia Grace – Goddess of abundance and plenty
One of the 3 Graces

The Greek Goddess Thalia of good cheer , abundance and plenty. Her name means “banquet or “flowering”…There was also a Thalia who was one of the 9 muses.

ALGAEA- Goddess of Grace and Glory

ALGAEA- Goddess of Grace and Glory

The Greek Goddess Algaea was the goddess of beauty, adornment, splendor and glory.She represented the creation of objects of beauty and artistic adornment.

 

EUPHROSYNE - Godess of Mirth and Joyfulness One of the 3 Graces

EUPHROSYNE – Goddess of Mirth and Joyfulness
One of the 3 Graces

The Greek Goddess Euphrosyne  was the personification of Joy, mirth and merriment.

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in Beauty, like the night 
Of cloudless climes and starry skies; 
And all that's best of dark and bright 
Meet in her aspect and her eyes: 
Thus mellowed to that tender light 
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.
 

One shade the more, one ray the less, 
Had half impaired the nameless grace 
Which waves in every raven tress, 
Or softly lightens o'er her face; 
Where thoughts serenely sweet express, 
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
 

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow, 
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, 
The smiles that win, the tints that glow, 
But tell of days in goodness spent, 
A mind at peace with all below, 
A heart whose love is innocent!

Poem by George (Lord) Byron

 

 

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Euphrosyne – Goddess of Mirth and Joyfulness

 

This is my last print until Autumn and I decided to end on a high note with one of the 3 graces – Euphrosyne..this print is dedicated to all my friends and family with love and happiness for the Summer days.

Euphrosyne is the personification of happiness in life. The feeling in the Western world feels very changeable and disconcerting at this present time with the threat of big changes and instability – change brings FEAR which counteracts joy and happiness. In this print I present Euphrosyne with the bluebirds of happiness. The bluebird is a symbol of happiness in many cultures around the world, including in Russia, where it represents hope, and in China’s Shang Dynasty, where it’s a messenger of knowledge and enlightenment. In Native American mythology, some tribes consider the bluebird a spirit in animal form that symbolizes the dawn of a new day; others associate the friendly bird with the sun. So, as Dorothy posits, “If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why, oh, why can’t I?”

CARPE DIEM – The Roman poet Horace coined this phrase …”Seize the day ” ..in times like these it is easy for us all to forget …….. x

EUPHROSYNE - Godess of Mirth and Joyfulness

EUPHROSYNE – Godess of Mirth and Joyfulness

Euphrosyne was connected to the Elysian mysteries andf the underworld also assisting Hermes in his travels. The Greeks called the 3 women of which Euphrosyne is one the Charities   and the Romans called them the Graces.

L’Allegro...Excerpt….
BY JOHN MILTON

But come thou goddess fair and free,
In heav’n yclep’d Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth
With two sister Graces more
To Ivy-crowned Bacchus bore;
Or whether (as some sager sing)
The frolic wind that breathes the spring,
Zephyr, with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a-Maying,
There on beds of violets blue,
And fresh-blown roses wash’d in dew,
Fill’d her with thee, a daughter fair,
So buxom, blithe, and debonair.
Haste thee nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful Jollity,
Quips and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe’s cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek;
Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
Come, and trip it as ye go
On the light fantastic toe,
And in thy right hand lead with thee,
The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty;
And if I give thee honour due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free;
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing startle the dull night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise;

 

 

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