Goddesses of Love and Inspiration

February is usually considered to be just about love and romance because of Valentines Day, but with the pagan celebration of Imbolc, the month is truly a time for creativity and inspiration. Here is a list of related Goddesses and basic info for those looking to plan out rituals and spells this month. This short list can also aid those writing new sensual stories with Pagan themes! Look up some of the myths of these Goddesses and let them inspire you.

Aphrodite – Greek goddess of love and war. Daughter of the sea, Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty, love, and pleasure. Though she rules marriages and the love within them, she is also the goddess of illicit affairs. Thought to have originated from the Mesopotamian goddesses Astarte and Ishtar, Aphrodite has been associated with war and battles. She teaches dedication and love of the self, and is known for her quick and sometimes unscrupulous responses to petitions (remember it was Her response to a petition that was the basis of the Trojan War!) Her symbols are the ocean, doves, apples, roses, and the mirror.

Brigid – or Brigit, Brighid, Bride: Irish goddess of the Sacred Flame. Brigid is a threefold goddess, each one her faces representing her dominion over poetry, healing, and smithcraft. Called the Great Goddess, she is keeper of the holy wells and rivers of healing and rebirth, as well as the sacred flames of creativity and inspiration. Her festival Imbolc is celebrated on February 1st or 2nd, when sacred bonfires are kept burning all evening long to call forth the sun from hiding. Brigid is the mother of inventions and craftsmanship, the wise woman of healing, as well as the patroness of poets and priestesses. As Christian thought invaded the ancient world, thegoddess Brigid was morphed into Saint Brigid of Kildare.

Ch’ang O – Chinese goddess of the moon. Ch’ang O and her husband were banished from heaven and forced to become mortal and live on the earth. Seeking to return to her place of glory, Ch’ang O took a full dose of an immortality pill meant for both her and her husband. She floated to the moon, destined to spend eternity alone. During the moon festival in China, women pray to Ch’ang O to bring them their soul mate. Ch’ang O is offered sweet foods and incense, and the hare is her sacred animal.

Lajja Gauri, also Aditi – Hindu goddess of the sky. Her name means “free,” “unbound,” or “limitless.” Ancient art throughout India  shows Lajja Gauri as a lotus-headed goddess, naked and adorned with jewels, her legs raised in a birthing or sexual position, exposing her vulva. She is the Infinite Mother, ruler over the conscious and unconscious minds, the past and the future, and the universe. The ultimate protector, she provides her children with safety, spiritual enlightenment, and material wealth; she also grants her worshippers an easy path to their heart’s desire. Lajja Gauri is mentioned in the sacred Vedic texts as the Mother of All Gods, and the mediator between the mortals and the Divine.

Ninsun – Mesopotamian goddess of knowledge. Ninsun is primarily a Sumerian deity, though some scholars believe her to be a reflection of the Babylonian Gula. Her name means “Lady Wild Cow,” and she was worshipped by farmers and herdsmen to bless their animals and crops. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ninsun is depicted as the hero’s mother and counselor. She is the keeper of wisdom, and an interpreter of dreams.

Snake Woman, also Minoan Snake Woman – Goddess of Crete. While many historians believe Snake Woman to be a household and fertility deity, other sources cite her as High Goddess and Priestess of Crete, and a powerful, seductive sorceress. She represents the feminine mysteries and holds all the magickal powers of the serpent. Her statuette depicts her in Minoan dress with her breasts exposed, and snakes in each hand.

Sarasvati: Hindu goddess of words. Sarasvati is the creator of the  arts, including music, dancing, and poetry. She is the maker of sciences and mathematics, invented the Sanskrit language, and rules all aspects of teaching and learning. Referred to as “The Flowing One,” Sarasvati inspires devotees to great heights in intellectual and creative endeavors. She is depicted as a white-skinned woman, usually with a peacock.

Yemaya, also Yemoja, Iemanja: African goddess of water. Yemaya is honored throughout West Africa and the Caribbean as the mother of the sea and the moon. She is the keeper of the female mysteries and a guardian of women. Yemaya is also a goddess of love, blessing those who call to Her with romantic opportunities and marriage. She aids in the conception of children and their births, protecting and blessing infants until they hit puberty. She is a healing goddess, showing compassion and kindness to those in need. Yemaya is the personification of rivers and bodies of water, and is often depicted as a mermaid.

A Sensuality Ritual for Valentines

I found this ritual on Pamela Neil’s website,  Dancing With Your Shadow.  She is an energy health practitioner in Tuscon, AZ and though I have never had the pleasure of meeting her, I had heard wonderful things about her work.  Her website is a wealth of information, including the following ritual.

I have done this Sensuality Ritual many times myself, and swear by it. It allows one to relax, and to take the time to honor themselves, without judgment or negativity.  Enjoy!

Sensuality Ritual

Intention: To awaken the sensuality within.

Timing: Whenever you wish–but particularly when you feel disconnected from your sexual self; before bed is an ideal time, but you can perform this ritual any time–just give yourself at least an hour and a half to enjoy it.

Ingredients: Red candle (passion), essence of ylang-ylang or jasmine (sensuality), your favorite perfume, chocolate (sensuality), a fragrant lotion, and sensuous music. Optional: silk sheets (sensuality).

Prepare this wonderful tonic to drink at the close of this ritual, which will delight your senses and unleash your nascent sensuality: Blend 1 cup of papaya juice, 1/4 cup of mashed banana, 1/4 cup watermelon juice, and 1 teaspoon cloves (optional).

Or you might prefer to mix a cup of milk with a dash of cinnamon and a splash of rose water. If none of these are available set out hot chocolate, grape juice, or a glass of red wine.

Recipe: Create a sensual atmosphere that will entice your inner seductress to come out of hiding. Find a time when no one will disturb you. Turn off the phones. Put fresh sheets on your bed–silk would be great! Turn down the lights, and light the candle. Place a few drops of the essential oil in a diffuser.
Anoint yourself with your favorite perfume, concentrating on the areas between your breasts and near your pubic bone. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and open. Begin to inhale, slowly and deeply, to the count of four; then, exhale in the same manner. Now experience your breathing as if the air were moving through your vulva. Continue until you feel these breaths connecting you to your deepest being. Let the breath flow like a river of energy. Feel the fluidity–the sensuality–and envision a passionate woman inside who wants to talk to you. Imagine that she wants to tell you about herself. Ask her questions: What kinds of clothes does she like? What are her favorite foods? What makes her happy emotionally, physically? What is her relationship with your body? How does she like to be touched? What does she want from you?

Allow this energy–which emanates from your passionate being–to infuse you. Remember this is your own creation, a part of your self, so don’t censor any words or feelings. Be open to learning.
When you’re ready, get up slowly. Run a warm bath, adding the oils of your choice. Start your favorite music, and set the candle near the tub. Let your body melt into the fragrant water, touching yourself in whatever ways feel best.

Afterward, dry off with a warm towel.  Look into a mirror, with the willing ness to see your own beauty.  Take  a few deep cleansing breaths.  When you feel relaxed and ready, look at your face in the mirror.  Just look.  If criticisms or judgments come up, acknowledge them, then let them go.  Focus on the uniqueness that is you, reflected in your face.  Look at your face and body and allow yourself to feel compassion, tenderness, acceptance and love.

Begin putting lotion on your feet, massaging it into the skin.  Say to yourself, “My feet are beautiful.” Next, massage the lotion into your legs and tell yourself, “My legs are beautiful,” and so on up the rest of your body.  When you are finished enjoying the beauty of your body, move on to your face.  Say to yourself, “ My eyes are beautiful.”  Look at your nose and tell yourself, “My nose is beautiful.”  Then your forehead, cheeks, mouth, lips, ears skin, bone structure.

When you have acknowledged your entire body, take a deep breath and look in the mirror.  Tell yourself: “ I (name) am beautiful.”  Say it over and over.  Allow yourself to bathe in appreciation of your own beauty, till you feel the tingle of love and delight throughout your body and soul.  Continue for as long as you wish.

Now, get back into bed, and drink your wonderful tonic. Sip it slowly. Let yourself feel and become that sensual woman. Fantasize, fantasize, fantasize, and immerse yourself in the feeling of hedonistic delight.

Follow-up: Spend a few moments every day appreciating the sensuality of your body. Keep fragrant oils, perfumes, and scented candles in your bedroom and bathroom.