Gods, Goddesses & Saints of August


This month I’m introducing another new monthly blog topic: Gods, Goddesses, Angels, Saints, Mystics & Sages. Each month I’ll be sharing information about various Gods, Goddesses, Saints, Angels, Sages, etc., and how to honor and work with them if you choose to do so.


Below are this month’s God, Goddesses, and Saints:


Bastet:



Bastet is known as the Mistress of the Oracle, Great Conjuress of the Casket, or Great Cat Goddess.


She has dominion over sex, fertility, marriage, magic, music, childbirth, prosperity, joy, dance, and healing. So, to be clear, she has dominion over the pleasures of life! She can protect humans against evil spirits, illness, and bodily injuries, especially those caused by venomous creatures.


Bastet offers special protection to women and children and serves as the matron of magicians and healers. Her following began in the Nile Delta swamps, and by 950 BCE, she was worshipped throughout Egypt. She was for a time the most popular goddess in Egypt, until the Roman conquest.


Bastet, also known as Bast, is portrayed in pure cat form often bejeweled or with a cat’s head on a human woman’s body wearing a green or blue dress. Her annual festival in Bubastis was Egypt’s most popular. A precursor to modern Mardi Gras, it was renowned for parties, revelry, and drunkenness. A Greek traveler and historian of the fifth century BCE wrote that there was more wine consumed in Egypt during this festival than during the entire rest of the year! Although many details have been lost, Bastet’s festival celebrated female sexuality and generative power.


Bastet may be the wife and/or daughter of Ra, the sun god.


To call upon Bastet for assistance, dedicate a cat-shaped candle or candles to her. Offer her precious cream perfumes or offerings that benefit her sacred animal, the cat. You can keep an image of Bastet in your child’s room to provide spiritual protection, especially while they’re sleeping.


Bastet’s attributes are the basket and ankh – the symbol of life. Her planets are the Sun and Moon, and her color is green. Domestic cats are her servants and sacred animals.


Aphrodite:



Aphrodite is also known as Born from the Foam, The Golden One, Far-Shining, The Shapeshifter, She Who Postpones Old Age, The Dark One, The Queen, Lady of the Sea, or The Black Queen.


According to Olympian myth, when Uranus, Spirit of the Sky, was castrated by his son Chronos, his severed member, dripping with sperm and blood, dropped into the fertile sea. Aphrodite was born of this merger of sea and sky. She came ashore at Cyprus, carried to land on a large scallop shell. Fittingly for a sex goddess, the Greek word kteis means ‘vulva’ as well as ‘scallop’.


Aphrodite, now mostly associated with Greece, is originally a Semitic fertility/war spirit, akin to Astarte or Ishtar. Some consider Aphrodite, Astarte, and Ishtar to be one and the same.


Although ancient Greeks adored Aphrodite, they were uncomfortable with the typical Near-Eastern merger of sex, fertility, and war spirit all bundled up in the form of a beautiful woman. So, in order to incorporate Aphrodite into the Olympian pantheon, the Greeks compartmentalized her, suppressing her warrior attributes. Aphrodite’s main function in Greece became love, romance, sex, and protection of mariners. And by the end of the Classical Era, many were uncomfortable with her raw sexuality, so she was once again re-envisioned as Aphrodite Urania, Goddess of Heavenly Love.


Aphrodite is considered the ultimate love goddess and ruler of aphrodisiacs. She can raise and placate the winds. Not only does she have power over people, animals, and plants, but she also has power over spirits…at least most of the Greek pantheon. Exceptions are Artemis, Athena, and Hestia, who are immune to her powers. All others succumb to her allure.


Aphrodite, a powerful, tremendously generous goddess, may be petitioned for virtually anything. She may have power over destiny and may be able to change fate. In terms of altar space, keep Artemis and Athena away from Aphrodite, and do not petition them together. Be sure to fulfill any promises made to Aphrodite in a timely manner. She is not always a patient spirit. If she loves you and demonstrates favor, you will be expected to offer consistent attention and gifts. Aphrodite typically expresses anger or displeasure via animal attacks or bad luck in love.


Aphrodite is the matron of lovers, practitioners of sacred sex and sex magick, sex workers, those involved with erotica, and mariners and sailors.


She most commonly manifests as a mermaid or a blindingly beautiful woman who shines so bright that she dazzles the eye. Roses bloom beneath her feet. She likes company and often travels with an entourage of spirits. She is a type of goddess known as a Lady of the Beasts and is almost always accompanied by at least one of her sacred creatures (typically a disparate band of animals who wouldn’t be expected to peaceably appear together, the tip-off that you’re in the presence of a goddess).


The image of Aphrodite on her scallop shell has been immortalized in fine art and garden statuary for centuries. She is sometimes depicted as a black statue and vestiges of her veneration may survive in some Black Madonnas. Some statues portray her wearing a polos hat and/or robes patterned with roses or stars; others portray her in various stages of undress. Images of Aphrodite holding her son, Eros, may inspire some Madonna and child imagery.


Aphrodite’s attributes are the scallop and cowrie shells, sea anemone, and fishing nets. Aphrodite possesses a magic belt that serves as an irresistible love magnet: she is generous and will share this girdle as well as secrets of romance and erotica, accessed via visualization and dreams.


Her colors are yellow, gold, copper, and black. Her sacred birds are dove, sparrow, swallow, swan, goose, and partridge. She is the Queen of Beasts and loves all wildlife – her sacred animals are bear, bee, deer, dolphin, goat, leopard, lion, rabbit, toad, turtle, and wolf.


Aphrodite’s element is water, and her number is 6. Her planets are Venus and the Sun. Her plants are apples, pomegranates, poppies, linden trees, myrtle, all types of roses, and grass lily.


The Summer Solstice is Aphrodite’s sacred time. Ancient followers celebrated the day by decorating small toy boats with flower garlands, then sending them out to sea bearing petitions for Aphrodite.


It’s crucial that her altar be beautiful. Decorate with ocean motifs, flowers, greenery, and representations of her attributes and sacred creatures. You could also create a garden in her honor, which becomes an outdoor shrine, an altar on Earth. Call on Aphrodite with the scent of frankincense and myrrh. Other favorite offerings include perfume, roses, myrtle, honey, and wine.



Thoth:



Thoth is also known as Tehuti, the Lord of Divine Words or Lord of Books.


Thoth is an Egyptian deity of magic and creation so primordial that he existed before Creation. He created himself by speaking his own name. Thoth invented writing, gambling, stargazing, engineering, geometry, botany, medicine, mathematics, and magic spells. He is the inventor of spiritual rituals and enables shamanic communication between the living and the dead, mortals and spirits. He is the founder of alchemy and is the author, according to Egyptian myth, of the world’s very first book called The Book of Thoth, a collection of magic spells and rituals so powerful that it had to be hidden away.


Thoth taught veneration of the spirits. He invented rules of sacrifice and composed hymns and prayers. Thoth is credited with writing some of the Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day.


Thoth is Ra’s, right-hand man. Without Thoth, Isis and her siblings would never have been born. Thoth may have taught Osiris the arts of civilization that Osiris then taught to humanity. Thoth, a master magician taught Isis everything he knew, and she is perhaps the only one who surpasses his magical knowledge. Although according to myth, even Isis still needs his assistance and advice every now and then!


Thoth is a kind, benevolent, patient, wise, and generous deity. He is what some consider a “cool” deity as he can calm and soothe impassioned situations. Thoth is also himself calm, consistently reasonable, and does not anger easily or unpredictably. According to one legend, Thoth is the only one who can safely subdue a rampaging goddess threatening to destroy Earth.


As a befitting shaman, Thoth can live in many realms at once:

  • He can travel among the living, teaching his magical skills

  • He serves as the official scribe in the Hall of the Dead

  • He rides beside Ra, and thus lives in the realm of spirits


The English name, Thoth, is based on the Greek pronunciation of the Egyptian Tehuti. His name is related to the Egyptian words indicating “moon”, “measure”, “ibis”, and “crystal”.


Thoth is the patron of scribes, secretaries, authors, magicians, shamans, sorcerers, witches, alchemists, occultists, and librarians.


In his guise as the sacred scribe of the universe, Thoth has an ibis’ head. As a master magician, he manifests as a baboon. He is a supreme shapeshifter and can appear in any form.


Thoth’s attributes are an ink pot, palette, ankh, and scepter. His spirit allies are Hathor, Ma’at, Isis, and Seshet. His planet is the Moon and Thoth rules the equinoxes.


His bird is an Ibis, and his animal is a baboon. Thoth’s color is white.


You can petition Thoth if you need peace in your life, home, or relationships. Thoth is typically celebrated at the equinoxes so now is a great time to become familiar with him and get to know him, so you’ll be ready to honor and celebrate him in September. If you do petition Thoth, offer him fine incense.



Saint Guinefort:



Saint Guinefort is an unofficial saint because Guinefort was a greyhound in his physical form. Can a dog be a saint? Well, technically speaking saints are defined as human beings who, having died, did not entirely depart the earthly plane and continue to assist the living via communication and by performing miracles. But if you ask me, Guinefort is a saint in my book!


According to legend, a baby in 13th century France was left in the care of the family hound while his parents, ran errands. In their absence, a snake (possibly Satan in disguise), menaced the baby. Guinefort, the greyhound, killed the snake, splashing the baby with snake blood in the process. When Mom and Dad arrived back home, they saw the baby and Guinefort covered in blood and jumped to conclusions.


In the heat of the moment, they threw Guinefort down a well where he died. Only then did they bother to slow down and take a closer look at their baby, who was unharmed and perfectly fine. The corpse of the snake was discovered, and the parents realized that they had made a terrible mistake. Guilt stricken, they drew Guinefort from the well and gave him a proper burial. Another version of this story suggests the father, who may have been a knight, initially slew the dog with his sword or arrow, and when he discovered his mistake, he entombed the dog in the well. A shrine was created by planting a grove around the well.


Local peasants perceived that the noble guardian dog had been unjustly killed – essentially martyred like a saint. They began to venerate him, calling him Saint Guinefort and visiting his grave. The loyal dog began performing miracles and devotion to Saint Guinefort, the dog saint, spread throughout France.


The following of Saint Guinefort was controversial from the start and as soon as the Church learned of it, they actively discouraged it, but to no avail. Shortly before 1261, Inquisitor Etienne de Bourbon disinterred Saint Guinefort, burned his skeleton, and cut down the grove. But the trees grew back, and pilgrimages continued, as did miracles attributed to the saint. As centuries passed, many people assumed that Saint Guinefort was officially canonized. This is not the case. The Vatican has never canonized him and has actively attempted to suppress his veneration. Guinefort is invoked for miracles of healing and to guard children.


Saint Guinefort’s feast day is August 22. Give him offerings that would appeal to a dog. Efforts on behalf of canines should also be appreciated, as are shrines in his honor.




 

References:

  1. Daily Magic Spells and Rituals for Making the Whole Year Magical by Judika Illes

  2. Encyclopedia of Spirits: the ultimate guide to the magic of fairies, genies, demons, ghosts, gods & goddesses by Judika Illes

  3. Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints and Sages by Judika Illes