New World Library was kind enough to send me a copy of “Goddesses for Every Day” by Julie Loar. Being a fan of big books that have lots of info about lots of different religions, I was excited to dig in. What I wasn’t prepared for, was to learn what a thoughtful, inspiring book this has turned out to be.
“Goddesses for Every Day: Exploring the Wisdom & Power of the Divine Feminine Around the World” features a selection of 366 goddesses that cover every religious and spiritual tradition you can imagine. Loar arranged the book to be a journey you take throughout the course of a year, and opted to arrange the deities by zodiac sign for those of you who like a little astrology with your goddesses. (For those of you still reeling or afflicted with concern about potential astrological upheaval thanks to the Minneapolis Star Tribune I’ll direct your attention to the always fantastic The Wild Hunt for their take on the issue.) At the beginning of each zodiac section of the year, Loar assigns a sacred feminine symbol and explains the characteristics of the sign and why specific goddesses were selected for that section.
Each day you’re introduced to a new goddess, Loar presents a theme along with a brief description of the goddess and the role she has played, or still plays today, and a contemplation to think about. What I found particularly interesting is that Loar suggests that not only can her book be a goddess a day book, but that “Goddesses for Every Day” can also be used as an oracle by setting an intention or asking a question and then allowing the pages to be turned at random, opening where it may, and let the wisdom of that goddess speak to you. A use that never would have occurred to me, but upon reflection makes perfect sense.
I’m not going to list every goddess in the book here for you, but to show the varied range we’re talking about here are a few: Athena, Selket, Inari, Paivatar, Ninlil, Mary Magdalene, Kwan Yin, Bast, and many more. A serious person, a respectful person, would undertake the work in the manner it was presented by the author; as a daily practice. However, I’m an asshole so I did what any disrespectful woman with this book in her hands would do….I immediately flipped to see what goddess was assigned to my birthday. Having done so, I thought I would share it with you to give you a feel for what each day holds.
May 29th (Yep, that’s my birthday…send gifts!)
Goddess: Polik Mana, Butterfly Maiden
Butterfly Maiden, or Polik Mana to the Hopi, is a maiden who dances in the spring to bring life-giving rain to the deserts of Arizona and elsewhere on the earth. She is also a woman dancer at initiations for young Hopi girls. The Butterfly Dance takes place in August or September and is filled with beautiful color and gratitude, recalling the beauty of the butterfly as she dances from flower to flower in spring, pollinating the fields and bringing joy.
As many as one hundred pairs of girls and boys dance in the village plaza in late summer before the harvest, giving thanks for what Butterfly Maiden accomplished through her spring dance. The children are accompanied by a chorus of fathers, brothers, and uncles chanting meaningful lyrics. They pray for rain, health, and long life for all creatures as they give thanks for the blessings Butterfly Maiden gave by pollinating fields and flowers.
Contemplation: My life is a dance of joy, and happiness extends its duration.
For all the beauty, and the serene joy Loar expresses in “Goddesses for Every Day”, there is also a rebellious spirit. Loar is on a mission to not let another girl grow up without knowing the power and importance of the sacred feminine.
“Ancient Egyptians said every woman was a nutrit, a ‘little goddess’ who partook of the nature of the powerful goddess Nut. And, as you embark on your own journey around the sacred wheel, I hope you will be empowered to become the goddess you are, consciously embodying love, strength, courage, compassion, inner beauty, and receptivity. That’s the way we’ll save the world: one empowered woman at a time,” Julie Loar from the Preface of “Goddesses for Every Day”.