zaterdag 2 november 2013

Menstrual Blood/Blessing/Sacrifice/Vampire/Honey/Salt - Menstrual Calendar

Menstrual blood

From the earliest human cultures, the mysterious magic of creation
was thought to reside in the blood women gave forth in apparent
harmony with the moon, and which was sometimes retained in the
womb to "coagulate" into a baby. Men regarded this blood with holy
dread, as the life-essence, inexplicably shed without pain, wholly
foreign to male experience.
Most words for menstruation also meant such things as incomprehensible,
supernatural, sacred, spirit, deity. Like the Latin sacer, old
Arabian words for "pure" and "impure" both applied to menstrual
blood and to that only. The Maoris stated explicitly that human souls
are made of menstrual blood, which when retained in the womb
"assumes human form and grows into a man." 1 Africans said
menstrual blood is "congealed to fashion a man." 2 Aristotle said the
same: human life is made of a "coagulum" of menstrual blood. Pliny
called menstrual blood "the material substance of generation," capable
of forming "a curd, which afterwards in process of time quickeneth
and groweth to the form of a body." This primitive notion of the
prenatal function of menstrual blood was still taught in European
medical schools up to the 18th century.3
Basic ideas about menstrual blood came from the Hindu theory
that as the Great Mother creates, her substance becomes thickened
and forms a curd or clot; solid matter is produced as a "crust." 4 This was
the way she gave birth to the cosmos, and women employ the same
method on a smaller scale. According to Daustenius, "The fruit in the
womb is nourished only by the mother's blood .... [T]he menstruum
does not fail the fruit for nourishment, till it at the proper time comes to
the light of day." 5
Indians of South America said all mankind was made of "moon
blood" in the beginning.6 The same idea prevailed in ancient
Mesopotamia, where the Great Goddess Ninhursag made mankind out
of clay and infused it with her "blood of life." Under her alternate
names of Mammetun or Aruru the Great, the Potter, she taught
women to form clay dolls and smear them with menstrual blood as a
conception-charm, a piece of magic that underlay the name of Adam,
from the feminine adamah, meaning "bloody clay," though scholars
more delicately translate it "red earth." 7
The Bible's story of Adam was lifted from an older female-oriented
creation myth recounting the creation of man from clay and moonblood.
So was the Koran's creation story, which said Allah "made man
out of flowing blood"; but in pre-Islamic Arabia, Allah was the
Goddess of creation, Al-Lat.8 The Romans also had traces of the
original creation myth. Plutarch said man was made of earth, but the
power that made a human body grow was the moon, source of
menstrual blood.9
The lives of the very gods were dependent on the miraculous
power of menstrual blood. In Greece it was euphemistically called
the "supernatural red wine" given to the gods by Mother Hera in her
virgin form, as Hebe.10 The root myths of Hinduism reveal the
nature of this "wine." At one time all gods recognized the supremacy of
the Great Mother, manifesting herself as the spirit of creation (KaliMaya).
She "invited them to bathe in the bloody flow of her womb and
to drink of it; and the gods, in holy communion, drank of the fountain
oflife-(hic est sanguis meus!)-and bathed in it, and rose blessed to
the heavens." 11 To this day, cloths allegedly stained with the Goddess's
menstrual blood are greatly prized as healing charms. 12
WR. Smith reported that the value of the gum acacia as an amulet "is
connected with the idea that it is a clot of menstrous blood, i.e., that
the tree is a woman." For religious ceremonies, Australian aborigines
painted their sacred stones, churingas, and themselves with red ochre,
declaring that it was really women's menstrual blood.B
The esoteric secret of the gods was that their mystical powers of
longevity, authority, and creativity came from the same female
essence. The Norse god Thor for example reached the magic land of
enlightenment and eternal life by bathing in a river filled with the
menstrual blood of "giantesses" -that is, of the Primal Matriarchs,
"Powerful Ones" who governed the elder gods before Odin brought
his "Asians" (Aesir) out of the east. 14 Odin acquired supremacy by
stealing and drinking the "wise blood" from the triple cauldron in the
womb of Mother-Earth, the same Triple Goddess known as Kali-Maya
in southeast Asia.
Odin's theft of menstrual magic paralleled that of lndra, who stole
the ambrosia of immortality in the same way. Indian myth called the
sacred fluid Soma-in Greek, "the body," because the word's eastern
root referred to a mystical substance of the body. Soma was the object
of so much holy dread that its interpretations were many.
Soma was produced by the churning of the primal sea (Kali' s
"ocean of blood" or sometimes "sea of milk"). Or Soma was secreted
by the Moon-Cow. Or Soma was carried in the "white pot" (belly) of
Mohini the Enchantress. Or the source of Soma was the moon. Or
from Soma all the gods were born. Or Soma was a secret name of the
Mother Goddess and the active part of the "soul of the world." 15
Soma was drunk by priests at sacrificial ceremonies and mixed with
milk as a healing charm; therefore it was not milk. Soma was
especially revered on somvara, Monday, the day of the moon. In an
ancient ceremony called Soma-vati, women of Maharashtra circumambulated
the sacred female-symbolic fig tree whenever the new moon
fell on a Monday.16
Some myths claimed the Goddess under her name of Lakshmi,
"Fortune" or "Sovereignty," gave Soma to lndra to make him king
of the gods. His wisdom, power, and curiously feminine capacity for
pregnancy, came from Lakshmi's mystic drink, "of which none tastes
who dwells on earth." 17 On drinking it straight from the Goddess, lndra
became like her, the Mount of Paradise with its four rivers, "manyhued"
like the Goddess's rainbow veils, rich in cattle and fruiting
vegetation.18 The Goddess's blood became his wisdom. Similarly,
Greeks believed the wisdom of man or god was centered in his blood,
the soul-stuff given by his mother. 19
Egyptian pharaohs became divine by ingesting "the blood of Isis,"
a soma-like ambrosia called sa.20 Its hieroglyphic sign was the same as
the sign of the vulva, a yonic loop like the one on the ankh or Cross of
Life.21 Painted red, this loop signified the female genital and the Gate
of Heaven. 22 Amulets buried with the dead specifically prayed Isis to
deify the deceased with her magic blood. 23 A special amulet called
the Tjet represented Isis's vulva and was formed of red substance -
jasper, carnelian, red porcelain, red glass, or red wood. This amulet
was said to carry the redeeming power of the blood of Isis. 24
The same elixir of immortality received the name of am rita in
Persia. Sometimes it was called the milk of a mother Goddess,
sometimes a fermented drink, sometimes sacred blood. Always it was
associated with the moon. "Dew and rain becoming vegetable sap,
sap becoming the milk of the cow, and the milk then becoming
converted into blood:-Amrita, water, sap, milk, and blood represent
but differing states of the one elixir. The vessel or cup of this immortal
fluid is the moon." 25
Celtic kings became gods by drinking the "red mead" dispensed by
the Fairy Queen, Mab, whose name was formerly Medhbh or
"mead." 26 Thus she gave a drink of herself, like Lakshmi. A Celtic
name of this fluid was dergflaith, meaning either "red ale" or "red
sovereignty." In Celtic Britain, to be stained with red meant to be
chosen by the Goddess as a king.27 Celtic ruadh meant both "red"
and "royal." 28
The same blood color implied apotheosis after death. The pagan
paradise or Fairyland was at the uterine center of the earth, site of the
magic Fountain of Life. An old manuscript in the British Museum said
the dying-and-resurrected Phoenix lives there forever. The central
Holy Mountain or mons veneris contains both male and female symbols:
the Tree of Life and the Fountain of Eternal Youth, the latter
obviously menstrual, as it was said to overflow once every lunar
Medieval churchmen insisted that the communion wine drunk by
witches was menstrual blood, and they may have been right. The
famous wizard Thomas Rhymer joined a witch cult under the tutelage
of the Fairy Queen, who told him she had "a bottle of claret wine ...
here in my lap," and invited him to lay his head in her lap.3° Claret
was the traditional drink of kings and also a synonym for blood; its name
meant literally "enlightenment." There was a saying, "The man in
the moon drinks claret," connected with the idea that the wine represented
lunar blood.3I
Medieval romance and the courtly-love movement, later related to
witch cults, were strongly influenced by the Tantric tradition, in
which menstrual blood was indeed the wine of poets and sages. It is still
specified in the Left Hand Rite ofTantra that the priestess impersonating
the Goddess must be menstruating, and after contact with her a
man may perform rites that will make him "a great poet, a Lord of
the World" who travels on elephant-back like a rajah. 32
In ancient societies both east and west, menstrual blood carried the
spirit of sovereign authority because it was the medium of transmission
of the life of clan or tribe. Among the Ashanti, girl children are still
more prized than boys because a girl is the carrier of "blood"
(mogya). 33 The concept is also clearly defined in India, where menstrual
blood is known as the Kula flower or Kula nectar, which has an
intimate connection with the life of the family. When a girl first
menstruates, she is said to have "borne the Flower." 34 The corresponding
English word flower has the significant literal meaning of
"that which flows."
The British Goddess of flowers was Blodeuwedd, a form of the
Triple Goddess associated with sacrifices of ancient kings. Welsh
legend said her whole body was made of flowers-as any body was,
according to the ancient theory of body formation from the blood
"flower." Her name suggests the Blood Wedding, and myth made her
the spouse of several murdered heroes, recalling the old idea that the
Goddess's divine blood had to be periodically refreshed by human
sacrifice. 35
The Bible also calls menstrual blood the flower (Leviticus
15:24), precursor of the "fruit" of the womb (a child). As any flower
mysteriously contained its future fruit, so uterine blood was the
moon-flower supposed to contain the soul of future generations. This
was a central idea in the matrilineal concept of the clan. 36
The Chinese religion of Tao, "the Way," taught Tantric doctrines
later supplanted by patriarchal-ascetic Confucianism. Taoists said a
man could become immortal (or at least long-lived) by absorbing
menstrual blood, called red yin juice, from a woman's Mysterious
Gateway, otherwise known as the Grotto of the White Tiger, symbol of
life-giving female energy. Chinese sages called this red juice the
essence of Mother Earth, the yin principle that gives life to all things.
They claimed the Yellow Emperor became a god by absorbing the
yin juice of twelve hundred women.40
A Chinese myth said the Moon-goddess Chang-O, who controlled
menstruation, was offended by male jealousy of her powers. She left
her husband, who quarreled with her because she had all the elixir of
immortality, and he had none, and was resentful. She turned her back
on him and went to live in the moon forever, in much the same way
that Lilith left Adam to live by herself at the "Red Sea." Chang-O
forbade men to attend Chinese moon festivals, which were afterward
celebrated by women only, at the full moon of the autumnal
Taoist China considered red a sacred color associated with women,
blood, sexual potency, and creative power. White was the color of
men, semen, negative influences, passivity, and death.42 This was the
basic Tantric idea of male and female essences: the male principle
was seen as "passive" and "quiescent"; the female principle as "active"
and "creative," the reverse oflater patriarchal views.43
Female blood color alone was often considered a potent magic
charm. The Maori rendered anything sacred by coloring it red,
and calling the red color menstrual blood. 44 Andaman Islanders thought
blood-red paint a powerful medicine, and painted sick people red all
over in an effort to cure them.45 Hottentots addressed their Mother
Goddess as one "who has painted thy body red"; she was divine
because she never dropped or wasted menstrual blood.46 Some African
tribes believed that menstrual blood alone, kept in a covered pot for
nine months, had the power to turn itself into a baby.47
Easter eggs, classic womb-symbols of the Goddess Eostre, were
traditionally colored red and laid on graves to strengthen the dead.
This habit, common in Greece and southern Russia, might be traced all
the way back to Paleolithic graves and funeral furnishings reddened
with ochre, for a closer resemblance to the Earth Mother's womb from
which the dead could be "born again." Ancient tombs everywhere
have shown the bones of the dead covered with red ochre. Sometimes
everything in the tomb, including the walls, had the red color.
J.D. Evans described a well tomb on Malta filled with reddened bones,
which struck fear into the workmen who insisted the bones were
covered with "fresh blood."48
A born-again ceremony from Australia showed that the Aborigines
linked rebirth with the blood of the womb. The chant performed at
Ankota, the "vulva of the earth," emphasized the redness surrounding
the worshipper: "A straight track is gaping open before me. An
underground hollow is gaping before me. A cavernous pathway is
gaping before me. An underground pathway is gaping before me.
Red I am like the heart of a flame of fire. Red, too, is the hollow in
which I am resting."49 Images like these help explain why some of
the oldest images of the Goddess, like Kurukulla in the east and her
counterpart Cybele in the west, were associated with both caverns
and redness. 5°
Greek mystics were "born again" out of the river Styx, otherwise
known as Alpha, "the Beginning." This river wound seven times
through the earth's interior and emerged at a yonic shrine near the city
of Clitor (Greek kleitoris) sacred to the Great Mother. 51 Styx was the
blood-stream from the earth's vagina; its waters were credited with the
same dread powers as menstrual blood. Olympian gods swore their
absolutely binding oaths by the waters of Styx, as men on earth swore by
the blood of their mothers. Symbolic death and rebirth were linked
with baptism in the waters of Styx, as in many other sacred rivers the
world over. Jesus himself was baptized in Palestine's version of the
Styx, the river Jordan. When a man bathed seven times in this river,
"his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child" (2 Kings
5: 14). In Greek tradition the journey to the land of death meant
crossing the Styx; in Judeo-Christian tradition it was crossing the
Jordan. This was the same "river of blood" crossed by Thomas Rhymer
on his way to Fairyland.
Tantric worship of menstrual blood penetrated the Greco-Roman
world before the Christian era and was well established in the Gnostic
period. This worship provided the agape-"love-feast" or "spiritual
marriage" -practiced by Gnostic Christians like the Ophites. Another
name for the agape was synesaktism, "the Way of Shaktism,"
meaning Tantric yoni-worship. 52 Synesaktism was declared a heresy
before the 7th century A.o. 53 Subsequently the "love-feast" disappeared,
and women were forbidden direct participation in Christian worship,
according to St Paul's rule (l Timothy 2:11-12).
Epiphanius described the agape practiced by Ophite Christians,
while making it clear that these heretical sexual activities filled him
with horror:
Their women they share in common; and when anyone arrives who
might be alien to their doctrine, the men and women have a sign by
which they make themselves known to each other. When they extend
their hands, apparently in greeting, they tickle the other's palm in a
certain way and so discover whether the new arrival belongs to their cult .
. . . Husbands separate from their wives, and a man will say to his own
spouse, "Arise and celebrate the love feast (agape) with thy brother."
And the wretches mingle with each other . .. after they have consorted
together in a passionate debauch. ... The woman and the man take
the man's ejaculation into their hands, stand up . .. offering to the Father,
the Primal Being of All Nature, what is on their hands, with the words,
"We bring to Thee this oblation, which is the very Body of Christ."
... They consume it, take house] of their shame and say: ''This is the
Body of Christ, the Paschal Sacrifice through which our bodies suffer
and are forced to confess to the sufferings of Christ." And when the
woman is in her period, they do likewise with her menstruation. The
unclean flow of blood, which they gamer, they take up in the same way
and eat together. And that, they say, is Christ's Blood. For when they
read in Revelation, "/saw the tree oflife with its twelve kinds of fruit,
yielding its fruit each month" (Rev. 22:2), they interpret this as an
allusion to the monthly incidence of the female period. 54
The meaning of this Ophite sacrament to its practitioners is
easily recovered from Tantric parallels. Eating the living substances of
reproduction was considered more "spiritual" than eating the dead
body of the god, even in the transmuted form of bread and wine,
though the color symbolism was the same:
When the semen, made molten by the fire of great passion, falls into the
lotus of the "mother" and mixes with her red element, he achieves
"the conventional mandala of the thought of enlightenment." The
resultant mixture is tasted by the united "father-mother" [Yab- Yum],
and when it reaches the throat they can generate concretely a special bliss
. .. the bodhicitta-the drop resulting from union of semen and
menstrual blood-is transferred to the yogi . ... This empowers his
corresponding mystic veins and centers to accomplish the Buddha's
function of speech. The term "secret initiation" comes from the tasting of
the secret substance. 55
In the occult language of the Tantras, two ingredients of the
Great Rite were sukra, semen, and rakta, menstrual blood. The officiating
priestess had to be menstruous so her lunar energies were at flood
tide. 56 She embodied the power of rakta, sometimes rendered rukh or
ruq, cognate with the Hebrew ruach, "spirit," anJ the Arabic ruh,
which meant both "spirit" and "red color." Throughout all Tantric and
related faiths, the merging of female red and male white was "a
profoundly important symbolic conjunction."57
The Sufis, who practiced their own brand ofTantrism, said ruh
was female and red. Its male counterpart sirr, "consciousness," was
white. Red and white colors alternated in the Sufi halka or magic circle,
corresponding to the Tantric chakra and called "the basic unit and
very heart of active Sufism." The Arab rosary of alternating red and
white beads had the same meaning: men and women coupled around
the circle, as in most European folk dances. 58
Red and white were the colors worn by alternating female-andmale
dancers in the witches' "fairy ring" of pagan Ireland, where the
Goddess was worshipped under the same name as the Tantric earth
mother, Tara. 59 With men and women alternating as in a Tantric
chakra, the dance moved counterclockwise or moonwise, as nearly all
circle dances still do. Red and white colors "represented the fairy
world." 60
The rites were often governed by old women, due to the ancient
belief that post-menopausal women were the wisest of mortals because
they permanently retained their "wise blood." In the 17th century
A.D., Christian writers still insisted that old women were filled with
magic power because their menstrual blood remained in their veins.61
This was the real reason why old women were constantly persecuted
for witchcraft. The same "magic blood" that made them leaders in the
ancient clan system made them objects of fear under the new
patriarchal faith.
Because menstrual blood occupied a central position in matriarchal
theologies, and was already sacer--holy-dreadfulpatriarchal-
ascetic thinkers showed almost hysterical fear of it. The
Laws of Manu said if a man even approached a menstruating woman he
would lose his wisdom, energy, sight, strength, and vitality. The
Talmud said if a menstruating woman walked between two men, one of
the men would surely die. 62 Brahmans ruled that a man who lay with
a menstruating woman must suffer a punishment one-quarter as severe
as the punishment for Brahmanicide, which was the worst crime a
Brahman could imagine. Vedic myths were designed to support the law,
such as the myth that Vishnu dared copulate with the Goddess Earth
while she was menstruating, which caused her to give birth to monsters
who nearly destroyed the world.6
This was patriarchal propaganda against the Tantric Maharutti
("Great Rite"), in which menstrual blood was the essential ingredient.
In Kali' s cave-temple, her image spouted the blood of sacrifices
from its vaginal orifice to bathe Shiva' s holy phallus while the two
deities formed the lingam-yoni, and worshippers followed suit, in an
orgy designed to support the cosmic life-force generated by union of
male and female, white and red.64 In this Great Rite, Shiva became the
Anointed One, as were his many Middle-Eastern counterparts. The
Greek translation of Anointed One was Christos.
Persian patriarchs followed the Brahman lead in maintaining that
menstruous women must be avoided like poison. They belonged to
the devil; they were forbidden to look at the sun, to sit in water, to speak
to a man, or to behold an altar fire.65 The glance of a menstruous
woman was feared like the glance of the Gorgon. Zoroastrians held that
any man who lay with a menstruating woman would beget a demon,
and would be punished in hell by having filth poured into his mouth.66
Persian religion incorporated the common primitive belief that the
first onset of menses must be caused by copulation with a supernatural
snake. People not yet aware of fatherhood have supposed the same
snake renders each woman fertile and helps her conceive children.67
Some such belief prevailed in Minoan Crete, where women and snakes
were sacred, but men were not. Tube-shaped Cretan vessels for
pouring oblations represented a vagina, with a serpent crawling inside.68
Ancient languages gave the serpent the same name as Eve, a name
meaning "Life"; and the most ancient myths made the primal couple
not a Goddess and a God, but a Goddess and a Serpent.69 The
Goddess's womb was a garden of paradise in which the serpent lived.
Phrygian Ophiogeneis, "Snake-born People," said their first male
ancestor was the Great Serpent who dwelt in the garden of paradise.
70 Paradise was a name of the Goddess-as-Virgin, identified with
Mother Hera (Earth), whose virgin form was Hebe, a Greek spelling
of Eve. Virgin Hera parthenogenetically conceived the oracular serpent
Python, of the "Womb-temple," Delphi. 71 Snakes living in the
womb of Mother Earth were supposed to possess all wisdom, being in
contact with the "wise blood" of the world.
One of the secrets shared by the primordial woman and her
serpent was the secret of menstruation. Persians claimed menstruation
was brought into the world by the first mother, whom they called
Jahi the Whore, a Lilith-like defier of the Heavenly Father. She
began to menstruate for the first time after coupling with Ahriman, the
Great Serpent. Afterward she seduced "the first righteous man," who
had previously lived alone in the garden of paradise with only the divine
sacrificial bull for company. He knew nothing of sex until Jahi taught
The Jews borrowed many details from these Persian myths.
Rabbinical tradition said Eve began to menstruate only after she had
copulated with the serpent in Eden, and Adam was ignorant of sex until
Eve taught him.73 It was widely believed that Eve's firstborn son Cain
was not begotten by Adam but by the serpent.74 Beliefs connecting
serpents with pregnancy and menstruation appeared throughout
Europe for many centuries. Up to modern times, German peasants still
held that women could be impregnated by snakes.75
Whether initiated by a serpent or not, menstrual bleeding inspired
deadly fear among both Persian and Jewish patriarchs (Leviticus 15).
Rachel successfully stole her father's teraphim (household gods) by
hiding them under a camel saddle and sitting on it, telling her father
she was menstruating so he dared not approach her (Genesis 31). To
this day, orthodox Jews refuse to shake hands with a woman because
she might be menstruating. Jews also adopted a rule apparently laid
down by Hesiod, that a man must never wash in the same water
previously used by a woman, lest it might contain a trace of menstrual
blood.76 '
There were many similar taboos. The ancient world's most dreaded
poison was the "moon-dew" collected by Thessalian witches, said
to be a girl's first menstrual blood shed during an eclipse of the moon.77
Pliny said a menstruous woman's touch could blast the fruits of the
field, sour wine, cloud mirrors, rust iron, and blunt the edges ofknives.78
If a menstruous woman so much as laid a finger on a beehive, the
bees would fly away and never return.79 If a man lay with a menstruous
woman during an eclipse, he would soon fall sick and die.80
Christians inherited all the ancient patriarchs' superstitious horrors.
St. Jerome wrote: "Nothing is so unclean as a woman in her periods;
what she touches she causes to become unclean." Penitential regulations
laid down in the 7th century by Theodore, Bishop of
Canterbury, forbade menstruating women to take communion or even
enter a church. At the French Synod of Meaux, menstruous women
were specifically forbidden to come to church. From the 8th to the ll th
centuries, many church laws denied menstruating women any access
to church buildings. As late as 1684 it was still ordered that women in
their "fluxes" must remain outside the church door.81 In 1298 the
Synod of Wiirzburg commanded men not to approach a menstruating
woman.82 The superstition came down to the 20th century, when a
Scottish medical text quoted an old rhyme to the effect that menstrual
blood could destroy the entire world:
Oh! Menstruating woman, thou'rt a fiend
From which all nature should be closely screened. 83
Christian women were commanded to despise the "uncleanness"
of their own bodies, as in the Rule for Anchoresses: "Art thou not
formed of foul slime? Art thou not always full of uncleanness?" 84
Medical authorities of the 16th century were still repeating the old belief
that "demons were produced from menstrual flux." 85 One of the
"demons" born of menstrual blood was the legendary basilisk with its
poisonous glance.86 The legend evidently arose from the classic myth
of the Gorgon with her serpent-hair and wise blood, petrifying men
with her glance. The Gorgon and the red cross of menstrual blood
once marked the most potent taboos.87 The very word taboo, from
Polynesian tupua, "sacred, magical," applied specifically to menstrual
Just as primitives attributed beneficial powers to menstrual blood
along with its fearfulness, so medieval peasants thought it could heal,
nourish, and fertilize.89 Some believed a menstruating woman could
protect a crop by walking around the field, or exposing her genitals in
it.90 Peasant women carried seed to the fields in rags stained with their
menstrual blood: a continuation of the custom of Eleusinian fertilitypriestesses.
91 Even doctors thought menstrual blood could cure leprosy,
or act as a powerful aphrodisiac. Madame de Montespan used it to encourage
the ardor of her royal lover, Louis XIV.92 Gypsies said a woman
could win any man's love with a potion of her own menstrual blood.93
As the former medium of reincarnation, menstrual blood was
sometimes called a remedy for death itself. In the tale of Childe Roland,
the elven-king roused men from the magic sleep of,.death with a "bright
red liquor." 94 Early romances associated this universal heal-all with "the
blood of a noble virgin," as a wise-woman revealed to Galahad.95 The
same belief impelled Louis XI to try to stave off death by drinking
young girls' blood.
Victorian superstition taught that a child conceived during a
menstrual period would be born with a caul, and would have occult
powers.96 Nineteenth-century doctors inherited their predecessors' notions
of witchcraft and evil, and so maintained that menstruating
women are not healthy; copulation with them could infect a man with
urethritis or gonorrhea. Dr. Augustus Gardner said venereal diseases
were usually communicated from women to men, not vice versa.97
Speaking of savages' menstrual taboos, anthropologists described the
women as "out of order," "suffering from monthly illness," or "stricken
with the malady common to their sex." 98 A doctor wrote even in the
present century: "We cannot too emphatically urge the importance of
regarding these monthly returns as periods of ill health, as days when
the ordinary occupations are to be suspended or modified." 99
At the present time just as in the Middle Ages, the Catholic church
still considers itself on firm theological ground by advancing, as an
argument against ordination of women, the notion that a menstruating
priestess would "pollute" the altar. This would not preclude ordination
of post-menopausal women, but different excuses are found for those.
The holy "blood of life" used to be feminine and real; now it is
masculine and symbolic.
Marginal note:
The Hebrew word
for blood, dam, means
"mother" or
"woman" in other
languages (e.g. dam,
damsel, madam, fa
dama, dame) and also
"the curse" (damn).
The Sumerian Great
Mother represented
maternal blood and
bore names like
From her belly flowed
the Four Rivers of
Paradise, sometimes
called rivers of blood
which is the "life" of all
flesh. Her firstborn
child, the Savior, was
Damu, a "child of
the blood."17 Damas or
"mother-blood" was
the word for "the
people" in
matriarchal Mycenae.18
Another common
ancient symbol of the
blood-river oflife was
the red carpet,
traditionally trod by
sacred kings, heroes,
and brides.19


Hindu "flower" or "nectar," euphemism for menstrual blood,
corresponding to biblical "flowers" (Leviticus 15). A girl "bore the Kula
flower" at first menstruation, which assimilated her to the clan spirit
dwelling in maternal bloodlines.1 In Fiji, the same word described a
newly circumcised adolescent boy, whose flow of genital blood was
supposed to connect him to the tribe and give him fertility magic like
that of the kula girl.2


Egyptian word for the holy blood of Isis, which made pharaohs and
other selected heroes immortal; counterpart of the Hindu soma, the
divine fluid of sovereignty and eternal life, manifested in many ways,
but basically derived from the Goddess's menstrual blood. As the
Egyptian Great Mother's "wise blood," sa was said to contain the
spirit of all intelligence.1


"The Great," Hathor as the Goddess of childbirth and nursing; as
Mother of the Nile, she sometimes wore a hippopotamus head. At other
times she wore the lion head of destruction. Her images were
associated with the hieroglyphic sign sa, meaning the uterine blood of
the Goddess which could bestow eternal life.1 See Menstrual


"Supernatural red wine" of Mother Hera, which gave the Greek
gods immortality.1 In the Vedas it was soma, in Persia haoma, in Egypt
sa: always associated with the moon and the maternal "blood of life,"
i.e., menstrual blood.2 Merlin's older name of Ambrosius suggests a
link with such pagan symbols of immortality achieved through
association with life-giving feminine blood. See Merlin; Thomas


Biblical mistranslation of sappur, literally "holy blood": the lapis
lazuli, called the substance of the throne of God.1 Originally it was
divine blue blood in the cauldron of the Crone, Siris, Babylonian
"Cosmic Mother." 2


To the druids, holly was the plant of death and regeneration, sacred
to Mother Holle, or Hel, the underworld Goddess.1 Germanic witches
who worshipped her favored holly wood for magic wands. Red holly
berries showed the female blood-of-life color, corresponding to white
mistletoe berries associated with male elements of semen and death.
In the divine marriage celebrated at Yule, they were displayed together.
The "holy" holly was linguistically linked with Hel' s yonic "hole"
(Germanic Hohle, a cave or grave). It was the most sacred of trees,
according to a carol sung by medieval pagans at Yuletide, saying holly
"bears the crown." 2
In the Dionysian cult, female holly was paired with the god's male
symbol, ivy.3 Green boughs of both were used to adorn doorways at
the solstitial festival. Tertullian condemned the custom, saying any
Christian who has "renounced temples" should not make a temple of
his own house door.4 Nevertheless, house-decorating with holly, ivy, or
mistletoe at the solstitial festival went serenely on. The Council of
Bracara ruled that no Christian should bring holly into his house for
Christmas, because it was a custom of "heathen people." 5 Heathen
or not, it was inextricably linked with Yuletide celebrations and could
not be eradicated.
Even the sexual symbolism of the holly was remembered, in a way,
up to the 17th century. Christmas games included a mock battle of
the sexes, in which the master and mistress of the hquse engaged:
"Great is the contention of holly and ivy, whether master or dame
wears the breeches." 6 The kiss under the mistletoe originally represented
sexual union, a peaceful resolution of the battle.


Eve's fruit of knowledge used to be the Goddess's sacred heart of
immortality, all over the Indo-European culture complex. The Goddess's
many western paradises grew the apples of eternal life. The
Celts called the western paradise Avalon, "Apple-land," a country ruled
by Morgan, the queen of the dead. Irish kings received the Goddess's
magic apples of immortality and went away to live with her under the
sunset. King Arthur was taken to Avalon by the Triple Goddess in
person, as three fairy queens.
Scandinavians thought apples essential to resurrection, and placed
vessels of them in graves. 1 The Norse Goddess ldun kept the magic
apple-land in the west, where the gods received the fruit that kept them
deathless.2 Apples carried souls from one body to the next. Sigurd's
or Siegfried's great-grandmother conceived by eating an apple.3 The
Yule pig was roasted with an apple in its mouth, to serve as a heart in
the next life (see Boar).
Greeks said Mother Hera kept the magic apple garden in the west,
where the Tree of Life was guarded by her sacred serpent. Graves
points out that the whole story of Eve, Adam, and the serpent in the
tree was deliberately misinterpreted from icons showing the Great
Goddess offering life to her worshipper, in the form of an apple, with
the tree and its serpent in the background. Similarly, Hellenes
misinterpreted icons of the hero-victim receiving an apple from the
Triple Goddess, before his journey to paradise, as the Judgment
of Paris: a picture of a young man receiving the apple from three
Goddesses, not vice versa. 4
Romans gave the apple-mother the name of Pomona, which was
probably inherited from the Etruscans. She symbolized all fruition. A
Roman banquet always progressed ab ovo usque mala, from eggs to
apples-beginning with the symbol of creation and ending with the
symbol of completion. It was recorded that King Herod finished every
meal in the Roman style, with an apple.5
One reason for the extreme reverence paid to this fruit is revealed
by cutting it transversely, as the gypsies and witches did. Hidden in
the apple's core was the magic pentacle, or sign of Kore (Core). Just as
Kore the Virgin was hidden in the heart of Mother Earth (Demeter)
and represented the World Soul, so her pentacle was hidden in the
The five-pointed star in a circle was the Egyptian hieroglyph for
the underworld womb, where resurrection was brought about by the
mother-heart of "transformations."6 In Christian iconography also, this
apple-sign represented the Virgin concealed within the Mother, like
Kore within Demeter. (See Anne, Saint.)
Among gypsies, "occult couples" carefully cut the apple to reveal
its pentacle and ate it together as magical nourishment during Tantric
intercourse.7 A gypsy maiden was supposed to bring about her partner's
mystic union with the soul of the earth through her own body; thus
she was a Shakti, and the apple was her sexual symbol. It was a custom
for a gypsy girl to choose her lover by tossing an apple at him, just as
Kali-Shakti chose Shiva to be her doomed bridegroom.8
In Celtic paganism the Goddess's apple similarly signified a sacred
marriage and a journey to the land of death. Queen Guinevere, who
was really the Triple Goddess, according to the Welsh Triads, gave a
magic apple to "the Irish knight Sir Patrice," actually St. Patrick,
formerly the father-god or Pater.9 (See Patrick, Saint.) The Irish
knight died; Guinevere was denounced as a witch and condemned to
the stake, from which Lancelot rescued her. Her offense was choosing a
sacred king in the ancient ceremonial style. Pre-Christian legends
show that each king who ruled Britain had to be chosen by the Triple
Goddess, and later slain by her Crone form, Morgan, lady of the
blood-red pentacle and keeper of the Apple-Isle in the west. 10
Halloween apple-games descended from Celtic feasts of Samhain,
the Feast of the Dead at the end of October. Catching at apples
suspended from strings, or bobbing in water, may have invoked hanged
or drowned witches. The games hinted at cheating Death in the form
of Cerridwen, another name for Morgan as a Sow-goddess. At the end
of the game, all players ran away "to escape from the black shorttailed
sow." 11
Halloween apples were also used for divination, as if they were
oracular ghosts called up from the underworld. Such magic was
especially associated with women, harking back to the pagan tradition of
female control of the spirits in that world. The Volsung cycle showed
that a man must be provided with "apples of Hel" by his wife, whose
gift had the power to preserve him when he died and descended
under the earth. 12 Thus, Halloween apples were often linked with
marriage. One who peeled an apple before a candlelit mirror on
Halloween would see the image of a future spouse.13
Apple blossoms were wedding flowers because they represented
the Virgin form of the Goddess whose maturity produced the fruit.
As the pagan symbols were Christianized, Apple-Eve-Mother-Goddess
was said to be reborn as her own younger aspect, Rose-Mary-Virgin-Goddess:
the five-petaled rose and apple blossom often mystically
combined. The red and white Alchemical Rose was an allegory of the
Virgin Mother. 14 Some mystics said Mary, called the Holy Rose,
had invented alchemy. 15
However, the dangerous aspect of apples associated with the
Goddess as Mother Death were never forgotten. Since she was not
only the Virgin and the Mother but also Hel, or Hecate, her apples
were often depicted in Christian folklore as poisoned. Churchmen
declared that a witch could cause demonic possession through her gift of
an apple to her intended victim. 16 Old women were slain for giving
an apple to a child or other person who later became afflicted with fits.
Marginal note:
clan of demigods
favored by Odin,
who used a magic apple
to impregnate the
mother of the original
Volsung. His
descendant Sigurd is
better known as
Siegfried, hero of the
Germanic Ring of
the Nibelung.

Like many slang expressions, the use of" cherry" for "virginity" may
be traced to a mythic past. Like other red fruits, such as the apple and
pomegranate, the cherry symbolized the Virgin Goddess: bearing her
sacred blood color and bearing its seed within, like a womb.
Maya, the virgin mother of Buddha, embraced the cherry tree Sala
while giving birth to her divine child.1 Some said the tree recognized
her divinity and bent its branches down to offer its fruit. The story was
carried to Europe and spawned the medieval Cherry Tree Carol, in
which Maya became Mary.
Gypsies applied the love-magic of the cherry to many magic
charms, especially those associated with virginity. When a gypsy girl
desired to attract a lover, she drilled holes through fourteen cherry
stones on the fourteen nights of the waxing moon, and wore them on
a cord around her left thigh (the "female" side).2 The obvious elements
of this magic were penetration of the cherry, and building up to the
full moon, indicating growth or pregnancy.
French traditions of courtly love perhaps made "cherry" (cerise)
synonymous with "beloved" (cherie). Cherry-red was often considered
the color of love.


Sacred cherry tree, symbol of virginity, under which the Virgin Maya
gave birth to Buddha; celebrated in a similar Christian legend by the
Cherry Tree Carol. See Cherry. The "feminine" qualities of redness,
roundness, and fruition made the cherry everywhere sacred to the
Goddess, along with other red fruits like the apple and pomegranate.


Rimmon, "pomegranate," was a biblical name of the Goddess's genital
shrine (2 Kings 5:18), from rim, "to give birth."1 The pomegranate
with its red juice and many seeds was a prime symbol of uterine fertility.
Therefore pomegranates were eaten by souls in the underworld, to
bring about rebirth. Hellenic mythographers said both Kore and
Eurydice were detained in the underworld because they ate pomegranate
seeds there. Nana, virgin mother of the savior Attis, conceived
him by eating either a pomegranate seed or an almond, another yonic
The Bible says the pillars of Solomon's temple were ornamented
with the female-genital symbols of lilies and pomegranates ( 1 Kings
7:18-20). Solomon himself impersonated the phallic god Baal-Rimmon,
"Lord of the Pomegranate," when he was united with his divine
bride, the mysterious Shulamite, and drank the juice of her pomegranate
(Song of Solomon 8:2).
Argive Hera was worshipped as Our Lady With the Pomegranate
at Capaccio Vecchio near Paestum, formerly a Sybarite colony called
Poseidonia. In ancient times the people laid at the Goddess's feet
offerings of little boats filled with flowers, as she sat enthroned with her
child on one arm, a pomegranate in her other hand, inviting contempla·
tion of the miracle of her bringing forth life. About the 12th century
A.D. the people of Paestum built her a new shrine, to which pilgrimages
are made to this day. There sits Our Lady With the Pomegranate still,
enthroned with her child on one arm, a pomegranate in her other
hand. 2 The people lay at her feet offerings of little boats filled with
Hera was Mother Earth, and the suit of pentacles in the Tarot
pack represented the earth element. Therefore it is not surprising to
find this suit transformed in some medieval packs into a Suit of
Pomegranates, the fruit always opened in an oval orifice to show its
moist red interior.3


Female genital symbol, in China regarded as the source of the
ambrosia of life which gave gods their immortality; corresponding to the
apple in western Europe. Great Mother Hsi Wang Mu ruled the
magic peach garden in the west, where the gods were reborn.1
Peach Blossom meant a virgin in Taoist symbolism, while the fruit
stood for a mature woman whose juices were essential to man's
health. China's patron saint of longevity Shou Lou was an old man with
a high bulging forehead, bursting with "yin juice" he had absorbed
and sent up to his head through sexual coupling with many women. To
reveal his mystical secret, Shou Lou always held up a peach with one
of his fingers stuck into its cleft. 2
Chinese wizards made magic wands from peach twigs. These
might be compared to magic wands made in the west from other
woods sacred to the Goddess, such as witch hazel, witch-willow, apple
boughs, or holly.3
Western writers sometimes confused the Oriental peach with the
apricot, because abricotwas once a European word for the vulva.
Sculptures from the pagan period at Nimes showed examples of this
fruit in conjunction with phalli.4


"Lady-Queen of the West," Chinese Great Mother who kept the
fruit of immortality in a magic orchard in the Far West, as did Idun,
Pomona, Hera, Morgan, etc. Instead of apples, Hsi Wang Mu raised
peaches, the Chinese symbol of the yoni. Once every 3000 years she
gave the gods peaches from her Tree of Life.1 See Peach.


Hindu Goddess of Sovereignty, by whose authority lndra claimed to
be king of the gods. Lakshmi gave him a drink of Soma or "wise blood"
from her own body, so he could produce the illusion of birth-giving
and wear the many-colored veils of Maya.1 All the oldest Indo-European
gods had similar claims to sovereignty through feminine
essences. See Menstrual Blood.


"Power," title of the Hindu Goddess as the wife of Indra, who
received his essence of divinity from her.1 She was probably related to
the Egyptian Goddess as Sakhmis or Sekhmet, "the Powerful One,"
one of the titles of Hathor as the blood-drinking battle-goddess or divine
lioness, Lady of Victory.2 The name Saci or Saki was also applied to
the Arabic spirit of the Cupbearer who gave gods and men the wine of
life, as Indra received the Goddess's blood-wine of sovereignty.


"The Enchantress," a Vedic nymph whose "white bowl" or belly-cauldron
was said to be the source of Soma, the gods' elixir of
immortality. See Cauldron; Menstrual Blood.


Chinese Moon-goddess, sole keeper of the ambrosia of immortality
(menstrual blood). Her husband, the Excellent Archer, became intensely
jealous of her monopoly of life-magic and quarreled with her.
So she left him, as Lilith left Adam, and went to live in the moon
forever, dispensing her precious elixir to women only.1

Siduri Sabitu

Babylonian Goddess of the wine of eternal life. She advised Gilgamesh
to give up his quest for immortality, for the gods kept her "wine"
for themselves and refused to share it with humans. 1 She became the
Saki of Arabian Sufi mystics, serving the wine of paradise to the


Arabic "Cupbearer," based on the Hindu Goddess as Saci or Power,
whose wine meant life and energy for all the gods. Saki was sometimes
female, like the Greek gods' cupbearer Hebe; sometimes male, like
Hebe's replacement Ganymede, the boy lover of Zeus. According to
Arabian symbolism, death came for each man when Saki turned
down his empty cup; his life was "drained to the lees."


"Wine Goddess," title of a priestess mentioned by Apuleius. She
represented the Goddess as Dispenser of Immortality, keeping gods and
men alive with her magic ambrosia. 1 Among her many other names
were Hebe, Ariadne, Siduri, or Saki.


"Most Holy" or "High Fruitful Mother," the younger form of the
Cretan Moon-goddess, worshipped at Amathus as a consort of
Dionysus.1 Hellenic myth disparaged her and made her a mere mortal
maiden who helped Theseus survive the Cretan Labyrinth, ran away
with him, and was abandoned when he wearied of her. However, her
subsequent mating with the god showed that she was the rightful
bride of gods to begin with.2


Women's festival of Demeter Thesmophoros, "Demeter-Who-Established-
the-Customs." Women mixed the seed corn with their
menstrual blood to give it life; sacrificed pigs; and carried in procession
seed vessels, serpents, and cakes formed like female genitals.1 On
the third day, sacrificed victims came forth from the earth-womb in
the Kalligeneia, "Fair Birth." 2 Victims were identified with the savior
Dionysus, a Holy Child laid in a manger, later to die and give his
blood as sacred wine for the worshippers to drink, thus assuring their


Virgin form of Hera, the Greek Mother of the Gods; a variant of
Eve, who was Hebat in Anatolia, Heveh or Hawwa in Mesopotamia,
Hvov in Persia. Greek myths said Hebe was cupbearer to the gods,
dispenser of their ambrosia of immortality. Without her, the gods would
grow old and die, the same doom that threatened the Norse gods
when they lost Freya.1
Like Eve, in her Mother aspect Hebe governed the Tree of Life
with its magic apples, source of the gods' everlasting life, which they
jealously guarded from mankind (Genesis 3:22). Heroes like Heracles
could become immortal gods by marrying Hebe and living in her
garden of paradise, where they could feed on the apples of the holy
tree.2 Such myths show that Hebe was only Hera virginized, for Hera
was the owner of the serpent-guarded apple tree in the far-western
paradise, known to the Greeks as the garden of the Hesperides.
After Hellenic Greeks introduced a social system of patriarchy and
the fashion of romantic-homosexual love, Father Zeus evicted Hebe
from her traditional post and replaced her with his own male concubine,
Ganymede. Thus the Virgin Goddess was supplanted by the Youth,
the gods' new cupbearer, taken to heaven and dwelling in the stars as
the constellation Aquarius.3

Hera's name was sometimes rendered "Lady," and may have meant
He Era, the Earth. An earlier version was Rhea, the pre-Hellenic Great
Mother mythologized as the mother of the Greeks' Hera. Both were
forms of the Great Goddess of early Aegean civilization, who predated
the appearance of gods on the scene.1
Hera's name could alsa have been a cognate of Hiera, "Holy
One," a title of ancient goddess-queens who ruled in her name. An
Amazon queen named Hiera of Mysia led her army against the Greeks
in defense of matriarchal Troy. Philostratus said Homer refused to
mention Hiera in the Iliad because she was so great as to outshine
Homer's heroine, Helen.2
There were many other, more far-flung cognates and counterparts
of Hera. In Babylon she was "Erua, the queen, who controls birth." 3
She chose kings, gave them sovereignty by marrying them, and deposed
them. As the eponymous Goddess of ancient Ireland she was "the
Lady Eire," or Eriu.4 Like Hera, the Lady Eire controlled the western
apple-garden of immortality.
Hera was the Mother of the Gods, even of the Olympian gods, to
whom she gave the ambrosia of eternal life. Hellenic writers tried to
make her subordinate to Zeus, though she was much older than he, and
had married him against her will. Their constant mythological quarrels
reflected conflicts between early patriarchal and matriarchal cults.
As the primordial feminine trinity, Hera appeared as Hebe, Hera, and
Hecate-new moon, full moon, old moon-otherwise personified as
the Virgin of spring, the Mother of summer, and the destroying
Crone of autumn. Pausanias said Hera was worshipped as Child, Bride,
and Widow.5 In her Argive temple, she passed through endless cycles
as her virginity was annually renewed, like that of Aphrodite, 'by
immersion in a holy spring.6
Hera received sacrifices of "heroes," or "Hera-sacred men,"
whose myths dated from a primitive time when men were slain as her
martyr-bridegrooms. In ancient Greece the term "hero" was synonymous
with "ghost"-one who had gone to the Goddess.7 Herodotus
told the story of two of these heroes, Cleobis and Biton, chosen to draw
the Mother's chariot in a procession. Afterward they "fell asleep" in
her temple and never woke again. This holy death reflected great honor
on their family; Solon called Cleobis and Biton "the happiest of
men." 8 Like Christian martyrs, they achieved the "crown."
Hera's cult spread at an early date throughout pagan Europe, the
whole continent having been named after one of her incarnations,
Europa. Saxons worshipped her at Heresburg (Hera's Mount), where
the phallic "column of the world" called Hermeseul was planted in
the Earth-goddess's yoni.9 Late in the 8th century A.D., the temple was
destroyed and the phallic pillar overthrown by the armies of Charlemagne.
However, the sanctuary was not forgotten. The Salic Law
referred to "witches" called hereburgium or herburgium, those who
worship at the Heresburg. 10 They were equated with those who
"carried the cauldron" to religious meetings in honor of the Goddess-
such meetings as the clergy styled witches' sabbats. Legends of
Hera's magic garden in the west, where the apples of immortality
grew, passed into the medieval lore of Fairyland.


Classic myth made Medusa the terrible Gorgon whose look turned
men to stone. The Argives said Medusa was a Libyan queen beheaded
by their ancestral hero Perseus, who brought her head (or ceremonial
mask) back to Athens.1
Actually, Medusa was the serpent-goddess of the Libyan Amazons,
representing "female wisdom" (Sanskrit medha, Greek metis,
Egyptian met or Maat). She was the Destroyer aspect of the Triple
Goddess called Neith in Egypt, Ath-enna or Athene in North Africa.
Her inscription at Sais called her "mother of all the gods, whom she
bore before childbirth existed." She was the past, present, and future:
"All that has been, that is, and that will be." 2 So famous was this
description of her that Christians later copied it on behalf of Jehovah
(Revelation 1:8).
She said: "No mortal has yet been able to lift the veil that covers
me," because she was Death, and to see her face to face was to die-that
is, to be "turned to stone" as a funerary statue. She was veiled also
because she was the Future, which always wears a veil. Another
meaning of her hidden, dangerous face was the menstrual taboo.
Primitive folk often believe the look of a menstruous woman can turn
a man to stone.3 Medusa had magic blood that could create and destroy
life; thus she represented the dreaded life- and death-giving moonblood
of women (see Menstrual Blood).4
The Perseus story was invented to account for the appearance of
Medusa's face on Athene's aegis, inherited from the pre-Hellenic
period when Athene was actually the same Goddess (also mythologized
as Metis, her alleged "mother"). The Athenians pretended their
municipal Goddess was the "wisdom" of Zeus, born from his head. But
older myths said Athene was born of the Three Queens of Libya-that
is, the Triple Goddess, of whom Metis-Medusa was the Destroyer
aspect.5 A female face surrounded by serpent-hair was an ancient,
widely recognized symbol of divine female wisdom, and equally of the
"wise blood" that supposedly gave women their divine powers.



"Wisdom," mythical mother of Athene, assimilated to the Zeus cult
by the claim that Zeus impregnated her, then swallowed her, so her
wisdom-principle became part of himself. Thus he was able to give
birth to Metis's child Athene from his own head. Older versions of the
myth show that Metis was really Medusa, whose Gorgon face and
snake hair symbolized Female Wisdom. Athene was the virgin form of
the same Goddess, born not from Zeus's head but from the triple
Gorgon in the land of Libyan Amazons, who worshipped Medusa-Metis
as the Mother of Fate.1 A later, Gnostic-Christian version of
the same Goddess was Sophia, whose name also meant "Wisdom."


"Anointed One," a title of many Middle-Eastern sacrificial godsAttis,
Adonis, Tammuz, Osiris-derived from Oriental cults of the
sacred marriage. In the east, the god's lingam or the erect penis of his
statue was anointed with holy oil (Greek chrism) for easier penetration
of his bride, the Goddess, impersonated by one of the temple virgins. 1
Before anointing with oil, the god's phallus was often reddened to the
color of life with pigment, wine, or blood-specifically, the menstrual
blood of his bride. 2 Because kingship once depended on the sacred
marriage, anointing became the official rite of investiture for surrogate
kings as well as real kings. It carried a promise of godhood.
The words of the psalmist, "Thou anointest my head with oil,"
evolved from the ancient custom of anointing the god-king's penis,
for which " head" was a common euphemism. At royal weddings the
king's head was crowned with a wreath of flowers, as in the Hindu
svayamara ceremony-and flowers, in biblical language, symbolized
menstrual blood (Leviticus 15:24). Among the pagans, the temple
virgin deflowering herself on the god's carved phallus would place a
wreath of flowers on his head at the same time. 3 Eventually the
anointing of the phallus was displaced to the head because the marriage
rite was omitted from public sacrifices of the Savior, Redeemer, Son
of God, etc. Like the New Testament Christ, he was "anointed" only
for his burying: the marriage with the earth (John 12:7). Jesus
became a Christos when he was christ-ened for burial by Mary, the
magdalene or temple maiden (Matthew 26:12), who also announced
his resurrection (Mark 15:47).
Among the Essenes, a Christos was a priest, specifically designated
Sin Bearer or Redeemer: one who atoned for others' sins. 4 Among
the Slavs, Christos or Krstnik meant a sacrificial hero and also an
"accursed one," due to the ancient practice of laying a formal curse
on the Sin Bearer before he was sacrified.5 See Firstborn; Kingship.


Celtic Fairy Queen, whose name meant "mead" -a red drink
representing sovereignty which she gave to each of her many consorts.1
Like the "claret" in the lap of Thomas Rhymer's Fairy Queen, this
seems to have been a concoction of the queen's own menstrual blood
as the feminine wine of wisdom. Mab's legends date from the
matriarchal age, when queens chose and invested their own kings. See
Thomas Rhymer.


Norse name of the Earth-goddess or primal "giantess" from whose
underground cauldron Odin stole the wise blood of immortality,
magic, and feminine mana, to make himself a supreme god.1 Though
her myth underwent several revisions, Gunnlöd was another form of
the Triple Goddess, keeping three cauldrons (or wombs) in the
bowels of the earth, which meant in herself.

Miniato, Saint

Spurious Christian saint worshipped at Florence, constructed out of
an old Roman title for any god painted with minium, a red pigment
signifying holy blood and divine sovereignty. The faces of gods were
reddened during sacred processions and festivals. Military heroes at their
triumphal parades also had their faces painted with minium.1 "Miniato"
meant simply one who was so reddened. The same custom of
ceremonial face-reddening was found among the ancient Celts, and
also in traditional Chinese drama, where a reddened face betokened a
sacred person. 2 See Menstrual Blood.


From Old English bletsain, earlier bleodswean, "to sanctify with
shedding of blood." 1 It was the custom to consecrate altars by sprinkling
them with blood, and to "bless" individuals by marking them with
blood, as is still the custom of foxhunters who "blood" new members of
the club after a kill. According to Tacitus, the Celts "deemed it
indeed a duty to cover their altars with the blood of captives." 2 The
Romans did the same in essence, though their altars were "blessed" with
the blood of sacrificial animals.
Catholics now bless altars by sprinkling them with salt, an ancient
custom of the Jews, based on the primitive idea that blood and salt
were magical equivalents because they tasted alike. Egyptian altars were
dedicated with salt. In Egypt, dedi was the magic salt that made Nile
water become "as human blood." 3 (See Menstrual Blood; Salt.)
Blessing a person by drawing a cross on his head and breast
originated with the Mithraic rite of the Taurobolium, when the cross
(an emblem of Mithra) was marked thus on participants with the bull's
blood, so they became official witnesses of the ceremony of rebirth.
To be blessed meant to be saved, through the magic of blood, as the
Christian Gospels also admitted: "Almost all things are by the law
purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission"
(Hebrews 9:22).


Human or animal, the sacrificial victims of ancient cultures were
almost invariably male. Worshippers of Shiva sacrificed only male
animals; the god himself ordered that female animals must never be
slain.1 Males were expendable, for there were always too many for a
proper breeding stock.
The same was true even of human sacrifices, which were men, not
women. "The fertility of a group is determined by the number of its
adult women, rather than by its adult men." 2 Therefore male blood
only was poured out on the earliest altars, in imitation of the female
blood that gave "life." That is why totemic animal-ancestors were more
often paternal than maternal. The animals' blood and flesh, ingested
by women, was thought to beget human offspring; and the rule was
"Whatever is killed becomes father." 3 The victim was also god, and
Amazonian Sacae or Scythians founded the Sacaea festivals of
Babylon, where condemned criminals died as sacrificial surrogates for
the king, to mitigate the earlier custom of king-killing. The chosen
victim was a sacred king, identified with the real king in every possible
way. He wore the king's robes, sat on the king's throne, lay with the
royal concubines, wielded the scepter. After five days he was stripped,
scourged, then hanged or impaled "between heaven and earth," in a
prototype of the crucifixion ceremony later extended to sacred kings
of the Jews.4 The object of scourging and piercing was to make the
pseudo-king shed tears and blood for fertility magic.5 Babylonian
scriptures said, "If the king does not weep when struck, the omen is bad
for the year." 6 The king or pseudo-king "became God" as soon as he
was dead. He ascended into heaven and united himself with the
Heavenly Father, i.e., the original totem father, or first victim.7
Probably the promise of apotheosis and privileged immortality induced
victims to accept death willingly, even as the same kind of promise
attracted Christian martyrs.
When ritual murder of kings or human king-surrogates came to be
considered crude and uncivilized, then animal victims took their
place. Ceremonies were invented to identify the animal with the man.
The Egyptians, for instance, "put off their dead with counterfeits,
offered an animal to their gods instead of a man, but they symbolized
their intended act by marking the creature to be slain with a seal
bearing the image of a man bound and kneeling, with a sword at his
throat." 8
Pigs were often set aside as sacer victims in Egypt, India, and the
Middle East, which explains why their flesh was taboo to the Jews.
The sacrificial boar-god Vishnu had many western counterparts, such as
Ares, the boarskin-clad consort of Aphrodite, whose children Phobos
(Fear), Deimos (Horror), and Harmonia (Peace) may have represented
the three stages of the sacred drama-from the victim's point of
Meat was not to be wasted, so early theologians were anxious to
invent ways to pretend the sacrifice was politely offered to the deity,
while they actually kept it for their own consumption. The usual
method was to offer the deity only inedible portions of the animal, or
portions that couldn't be readily collected and used, such as blood.
"Kosher killing," draining the blood from a sacrificed animal, was not
a Jewish idea. It was a common Oriental method of offering the
animal's blood to the Great Earth Mother while the worshipper kept
the meat for himself.10 The Jews, like the Hindus, taught that the
animal's soul was in its blood (Leviticus 17:11).
Greeks assumed their gods resented being deprived of the best part
of the sacrifice, but they avoided guilt by blaming Zeus's ancient rival,
the titan Prometheus. When the first sacrificial bull was butchered,
Prometheus sorted it into a portion of bones concealed under fat, and
another portion of meat hidden under the entrails, and invited Zeus to
choose his portion on behalf of all the gods. Zeus chose the fat, and
later raged helplessly when he found he had been tricked.11 But this
became the standard fare for the gods, even Yahweh: "the fat of the
beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord"
(Leviticus 7:25).
Jews were even more parsimonious with their offerings than the
Greeks. Sometimes Yahweh didn't even get the fat of the beast. All
he got was a smell of it. Levite priests legalized the "wave offering,"
which meant the goodies were waved in front of the altar, then eaten
by the priests: "the breast may be waved for a wave offering before the
Lord ... but the breast shall be Aaron's and his sons'" (Leviticus
7:30-31 ). The Jews however did retain a custom of human sacrifice, for
special occasions, longer than any other people in the sphere of
influence of the Roman empire.12 Out of this tradition arose the figure
of the dying Christos in Jerusalem.
Concerning the biblical concept of sacrifice, E. C. Stanton wrote:
"The people have always been deluded with the idea that what they
gave to the church and the priesthood was given unto the Lord, as if the
maker of the universe needed anything at our hands. How incongruous
the idea of an Infinite being who made all the planets and the
inhabitants thereof commanding his creatures to kill and burn animals
for offerings to him. It is truly pitiful to see the deceptions that have
been played upon the people in all ages and countries by the priests
in the name of religion." 13


The primal notion that all life depends on the magic of menstrual
blood-or "the blood of Moon," as some primitives say-evolved a
corresponding notion that the dead crave blood in order to make
themselves live again. 1 Greeks believed the shades of the dead could be
recalled from the underworld by offerings of blood, which they
greatly desired; therefore blood was the essential ingredient of necromancy.
Homer's Odysseus consulted the dead with a necromantic
ceremony: "I took the sheep and cut their throats over the trench, and
the dark blood flowed forth, and lo, the spirits of the dead that be
departed gathered them from out ofErebus."2
Ever since Homer's time, western nations had the fixed idea that
blood could recall the dead to life, at least temporarily. Regular
supplies of blood would impart a kind of life to the "un-dead," that is,
vampires. They were called forth by the moon, their original Mother,
who also called forth the blood that made the living. Since the moon
was the original home of the dead and the source of rebirth, it was
closely associated with vampires. Breton churchmen, still not altogether
certain of the physiology of conception in the Middle Ages, claimed
that a woman who exposed her naked body to moonlight would
conceive and bear a vampire child.5 Yet common folk continued to
express in their customs the older belief that the souls of all children
waited in the moon to be reborn. Scottish girls refused to be married
at any time except during the full moon, for fear they otherwise might
not have children. New brides in the Orkneys went to a circle of
megalithic stones locally called the Temple of the Moon to pray for
The idea that the moon provided vital force for both the living and
the dead persisted through the centuries, and reappeared as emphatically
as ever in popular vampire literature only a hundred years ago.
Boucicault' s The Vampire instructed his servants to carry his body to
a high mountain where it could be touched by the first rays of the rising
moon. When this was done, the vampire sprang back to life, saying,
"Fountain of my life: once more thy rays restore me. Death! I defy
thee!" 7 An English friar once said, "The moon is the mother of all
humors," and the body's most important life-giving "humor" was
Therefore, vampires walked wherever the moon shone and they
might find blood; the church taught this, and no laymen dared to
doubt it. Balkan countries had certain wizards who specialized in
bottling vampires, a technique they probably learned from Arabian
magicians who put djinn (Latin geni1) into bottles or lamps, like the
lamp of Aladdin. When a Bulgarian village panicked over a purported
outbreak of vampirism, the specialist was called. He would solemnly
identify the offender's grave, bait his bottle with blood, catch the
restless spirit, cork him up, and burn the bottle.9
The Rev. Montague Summers mentions a sure cure for vampirism,
which would have been simple, and eliminated all the dramatic,
time-consuming, ultimately ineffective classical measures such as exorcisms,
crucifixes, garlic, silver bullets, stakes through hearts, and so
on. This simple solution was to place a consecrated host in a vampire's
grave, which would immobilize him forever. However, Summers
said, this remedy "was not to be essayed, since it savors of rashness and
profanation of God's Body." 10 Summers, an earnest believer, evidently
thought it was better to let a community be ravaged by
marauding vampires than to profane Eucharistic bread.
Summers also attacked the rational doubts of Dom Calmet,
who wrestled with the physical improbabilities of vampirism two
centuries earlier, asking questions that no one ever bothered to answer:
How can a corpse which is covered with four or five feet of earth, which
has no room even to move or to stretch a limb, which is wrapped in
linen cerements, enclosed in a collin of wood, how can it, I say, seek the
upper air and return to the world walking upon the earth so as to cause
those extraordinary effects which are attributed to it? And after all that
how can it go back again into the grave, when it will be found fresh,
incorrupt, full of blood exactly like a living body? Can it be maintained
that these corpses pass through the earth without disturbing it, just as
water and the damps which penetrate the soil or which exhale therefrom
without perceptibly dividing or cleaving the ground? It were indeed to
be wished that in the histories of the Return of Vampires which have been
related, a certain amount of attention had been given to this point, and
that the difficulty had been something elucidated. JJ
Rev. Summers quickly disposed ofDom Calmet's questions in
the accepted theological manner, not by answering them but by
denouncing the asking of them:
These difficulties which Dom Calmet with little perception has raised . ..
are not only superficial but also smack of heterodoxy . ... [O}ne can
hardly brush aside the vast vampire tradition . ... Can the Devil endow a
body with those qualities of subtilty, rarification, increase, and diminishing,
so that it may pass through doors and windows? I answer that there is
no doubt the Demon can do this, and to deny the proposition is hardly
orthodox. 12
From the church's "vast vampire tradition," Summers concluded:
'There can be no doubt that the vampire does act under satanic
influence and by satanic direction." 13 This assertion was made not in
the 12th or 13th century, but in the year 1928.
A thinly disguised reason for the never-failing popularity of vampire
stories was, of course, their suggestion of sinful sex. Kissing and
biting ran close together in both mental and actual behavior; and the
attack of a male or female vampire on a victim of the opposite sex
surely bore some resemblance to a love-bite. One of the all-time classics
of vampire literature, Prest's Varney the Vampire, titillated Victorian
male readers with scenes more suggestive of rape than of demonology:
That young and beautiful girl exposed to so much terror . ... Her
beautiful rounded limbs quivered with the agony of her soul. The
glassy horrible eyes of the figure ran over that angelic form with a hideous
satisfaction-horrible profanation. He drags her head to the bed's edge.
He forces it back by the long hair still entwined in his grasp. With a plunge
he seizes her neck in his lang/ike teeth. 14
The church sanctioned vampire superstitions in order to draw
converts through fear, and church rituals officially established the
burning or piercing of suspected vampires in their graves. Even in the
present century this was still done by priests in the Balkans. 15 JeanJacques
Rousseau showed the evidence for the existence of vampires
resting on much the same foundations as the evidence for the existence
of God: "If there ever was in the world a warranted and proven
history, it is that of vampires; nothing is lacking, official reports,
testimonials of persons of standing, of surgeons, of clergymen, of
judges; the judicial evidence is all-embracing." 16
The most famous fictional vampire of them all, Count Dracula,
did have a real history. He was a feudal baron of sadistic temperament,
Vlad the lmpaler, of the Little Dragon clan: that is, Dracule. He
liked to impale his enemies on stakes, while he cut, roasted, and ate
pieces of flesh from their still-living bodies.17 The fear engendered by
this monster was such that his serfs believed he would return to
plague them even after his death. Of course no such revenant has ever
reappeared, but the Count's clan nickname, at least, seems truly
Marginal note:
The Greek word for
a vampire was sarcomenos,
"flesh made
by the moon." l The
word "vampire" was
Slavic, possibly traceable
to central Asia,
thence to India. The Siamese
still call a
lunar sabbath day vampra.
As in early
Greece, there were two
vampra sabbaths in
each lunar month, at
the new moon and
full moon, with lesser
sabbaths on the quarters
to make four
seven-day weeks.4


Being one of the few preservatives the ancients knew, along with salt,
honey was widely regarded as a substance of resurrection-magic. In Asia
Minor from 3500 to 1750 B.C. the dead were embalmed in honey
and placed in fetal position in burial vases or pithoi, ready for rebirth.
"To fall into a jar of honey" became a common metaphor for "to
die." 1 The pithos represented the womb of the Goddess under her
name of Pandora, "All-giver," and honey became her sacred essence.
Myths present many symbolic assurances that the Goddess would
restore life to the dead through her magic "bee-balm." Worshippers
of Demeter called her "the pure mother bee," and at her Thesmophoria
festivals displayed honey-cakes shaped like female genitals.
The symbol of Aphrodite at Eryx was a golden honeycomb.2 Her
priestess bore the name of Melissa, "Queen Bee," the same as the
Jewish Queen Deborah, priestess of Asherah, whose name also meant
"bee." 3
The bee was rightly looked upon as a symbol of the feminine potency of
nature. ... In the Syracusan Thesmophoria, the participants carried
mylloi, cakes made of honey and sesame in the shape of the female sex
organ. ... Menzel draws an apt parallel between this custom and the
Hindu usage of daubing the woman s genitals with honey at the marriage
Bees are still called hymenoptera, "veil-winged," after the hymen
or veil that covered the inner sanctum of the Goddess's temples,
the veil having its physical counterpart in women's bodies. Defloration
was a ritual penetration of the veil under the "hymeneal" rules of
the Goddess, herself entitled Hymen in the character of patroness of
the wedding night and "honey-moon."
The honeymoon spanned a lunar month, usually in May, the
month of pairings, named after the Goddess as the Virgin Maya.5 In
an  archaic period, sacred kings seem to have been destroyed after a 28-
day honeyrnoon with the Goddess, spanning a lunar cycle, as the
queen bee destroys her drone-bridegroom-by tearing out his genitals.6
As applied to ordinary weddings rather than sacrificial dramas, the
honeymoon of a lunar month would include a menstrual period, the
real source of what was euphemistically called moon-honey. A bridegroom
contacted the source of life by copulating with his bride during
menstruation, according to the oldest Oriental belief. Even the Great
God Shiva was helpless unjess his phallus was baptized in blood from
the vagina of Kali-Maya, his Shakti and mother, in the Tantric ritual
known as Maharuti.7
A combination of honey and menstrual blood was once considered
the universal elixir of life, the "nectar" manufactured by
Aphrodite and her sacred bees, which kept the very gods alive. Similarly,
the great secret of Norse mythology was that the gods' nectar of
wisdom, inspiration, literacy, magic, and eternal life was a combination
of honey and "wise blood" from the great Cauldron in the belly of
Mother Earth-though a late patriarchal revision claimed this hydromel
or "honey-liquid" was a mixture of honey with the blood of a male
sacrificial victim known as Wisest of Men.8
Even the most patriarchal cults seemed unable to dispense with the
life-giving feminine fluids. Celibate priests of Mithra, who excluded
women from their temples, nevertheless worshipped the Moon-goddess
Diana or Luna who "made the honey which was used in the
purifications."9 Of course it was the Moon-goddess who also made the
"wise blood" of female lunar cycles. Porphyry reported a popular
belief in his day that bees were reincarnations of the lunar nymphs.10
Finnish myth speaks of the hero Lemminkainen, torn to pieces like
a sacrificial victim and sent to Manala, the underground realm of the
death-goddess Mana. His own mother restored him to life with her
magic honey, assisted by her familiar spirit, Mehilainen the Bee. 11
Early Christian Ophites celebrated a Tantric-style "love feast"
which included the tasting of menstrual blood, and it was said of them
that they mingled blood with honey. 12 Thus they combined two of the
three substances-the third being salt-most often associated with
resurrection or rebirth.


"Queen Bee," a ruler of Israel in the matriarchal period, bearing the
same name as the Goddess incarnate in early Mycenaean and Anatolian
rulers as "the Pure Mother Bee." 1 Deborah lived under a sacred
palm tree that also bore her name, and was identified with the maternal
Tree of Life, like Xikum, the Tree of Ishtar. The Bible called her a
"prophetess" or "judge" to disguise the fact that she was one of the
governing matriarchs of a former age (Judges 4:4).
One of Deborah's alternate names was Jael, "the Goddess Jah,"
possibly the same one patriarchal Persians called Jahi the Whore, an
earlier feminine form of Yahweh. 2


"Bee," title of Aphrodite's high priestess at the honeycomb-shrine of
Mount Eryx, where the Goddess's fetish was a golden honeycomb.
Corresponding to Israel's priestess Deborah, whose name also means
"Bee." See Aphrodite; Honey.


One of the few substances known to the ancients that could preserve
foodstuffs and dead bodies was salt. Egyptian mummies were preserved
in a brine solution called natron, "birth-fluid." Salt was accepted as a
substitute for the Mother's regenerative blood; it came from the seawomb
and had the savor of blood. Therefore salt became a symbolic

instrument of kinship, like maternal blood. The Roman rite of confarreatio
(patrician marriage) had the bride and groom share a cake of
flour and salt, which stood for flesh and blood respectively, and
magically transformed them-like those who in older times shared
real flesh and blood-into blood kin, unable to harm one another. 1
The Arabs signified a similar bond of good faith by sharing a meal
of bread and salt, which created the binding portion of any covenant.
The Bible speaks of a "covenant of salt" (Numbers 18:19) as one that
cannot be broken, even when it is a covenant between man and God.
Salt was an acceptable substitute for blood also in dedicating an altar,
either Jewish or Christian (see Blessing).
A common Semitic metaphor for enlightened seers was "salt of the
earth," i.e., true blood of the Earth Mother. The term was applied to
Christ's followers (Matthew 5:31) to suggest that they could prophesy
Christian uses of salt were copied largely from Roman pagans, who
used salt to bless every public sacrifice. "Immolate" came from mola,
the flesh-and-blood-symbolic combination of salt and flour prepared by
the Vestal Virgins to sprinkle over every beast that was led to
sacrifice. 2
Church bells were solemnly anointed with salt and water, wiped
with linen, blessed, and christened. God was requested to give the
bells power to dispel demons by their sound, and to send thunder and
lightning far away from the vicinity of the church-though bellringing
was never very successful in the latter endeavor, since church
bell-towers were struck by lightning more often than any other
structure. 3
Christian infant baptism often involved rubbing the infant with salt
to repel demons. It was said that heretics carefully rubbed the salt off.4
Superstitious fear of spilling salt was directly related to the idea of
spilling blood. Throwing a pinch of salt over the shoulder to take off
the curse was a symbolic way of putting bloodshed "behind," or turning
one's back on it.
Natural salt pillars in the vicinity of the Dead Sea proved profitable
to enterprising medieval Saracens, who learned that Christians would
pay good money to be guided to the exact spot where "Lot's wife"
stood, to behold a biblical miracle with their own eyes. Eroded by
wind, the salt pillars often assumed fantastic shapes. One may well have
been shaped like a woman; if not, a few touches of the chisel could
make it so.
Cabalistic tradition suggests that the biblical Lot's wife was really a form
of the Triple Goddess. Hebrew MLH, "salt," is a sacred word
because its numerical value is that of God's name of power, YHWH,
multiplied three times.5 The same word is also a root of Malkuth, the
cabalistic Queen Mother Earth.


Salted flour prepared by Vestal Virgins to sprinkle over every animal
offered in public sacrifice in Rome.1 Mola was credited with miraculous
powers, as was the salt that Christians later used to dedicate altars.


"Birth fluid," the brine in which Egyptian mummies were pickled.
Curing in salt water was a magical imitation of fetal existence. The
mummy was supposed to be awaiting rebirth from the Goddess's


Archaic word for a woman, especially one past middle age. The
original word was godsib, "one related to the gods," i.e., a god-mother.
In pre-Christian times, elder women were considered divine because
they retained their "wise blood" after menopause. (See Menstrual
In Christian times, "gossip" came to mean any godmother; e.g.
Queen Elizabeth I was the gossip at the baptism of her godson James
VI of Scotland.1
A group of elder women were called "gossips" as a term of respect
at first, after the peasant habit of calling any older woman "mother"
or "grandmother." The modern meaning of "gossip" arose from the
conversation of "gossips," or old wives' tales.

Menstrual Calendar

Two conflicting calendars were used through most of the Christian
era in Europe: the church's official, solar, "Julian" calendar, and the
peasants' unofficial, lunar, Goddess-given menstrual calendar. The
thirteen annuallunations of the latter produced one of the contrasting
answers to the nursery-rhyme riddle: "How many months be in the
year? There be thirteen, I say." Christians produced another answer:
"There be but twelve, I say." The lunar calendar's thirteen 28-day
months had four 7-day weeks a piece, marking new, waxing, full, and
waning moon-sabbaths in the ancient form. Weeks are still lunar, but
they no longer fit neatly into the solar month system. Thirteen lunar
months gave 364 days per year (13 X 28), with one extra day to
make 365. Nursery rhymes, fairy tales, witch charms, ballads and other
repositories of pagan tradition nearly always describe the full annual
cycle as "a year and a day."
It has been shown that calendar consciousness developed first in
women, because of their natural menstrual body calendar, correlated
with observations of the moon's phases. Chinese women established a
lunar calendar 3000 years ago, dividing the celestial sphere into 28
stellar "mansions" through which the moon passed. Among the
Maya of central America, every woman knew "the great Maya calendar
had first been based on her menstrual cycles." 1 Romans called the
calculation of time mensuration, i.e., knowledge of the menses. Gaelic
words for "menstruation" and "calendar" are the same: miosach and
miosachan. The new-moon sabbaths of ancient Latium were kalends,
possibly related to the Aryan name of Kali. For fear of disrupting the
Goddess's transitions, activities of some kinds were forbidden on the
seventh day of each lunar phase; thus sabbaths became "unlucky" or
taboo. Because it was the time-honored custom, even the biblical God
was forced to "rest" on the seventh day.
One of the prototypes of Yahweh was the Babylonian god Marduk,
who divided the maternal "waters" into those above and below
the firmament (Genesis 1: 7). Marduk claimed to be the creator, but was
not yet so patriarchal as to abandon his Mother's lunar calendar.
Babylonian priests said Marduk established holy days and seasons by the
moon.2 Yet older traditions said the menstrual calendar was instituted
in Babylon by the god Nabu-Rimmani, the biblical Baai-Rimmon, a
phallic deity united with the Great Mother's yoni in the form of a
pomegranate. 3
The Chinese explained their menstrual calendar with the myth of
the holy calendar plant, lik-kiep, on which a pod grew every day for
14 days, then a pod fell off every day for 14 days. When the months became
confused by solar reckoning, the Chinese added extra days
when "a pod withered without falling off." 4
According to another story, the menstrual calendar was called
Hsiu, "Houses." The Moon Mother rested each night of the lunar
month in a different one of her 28 houses, which were kept by the 28
warrior-hero consorts she had placed in heaven to attend her.5
The ancient Hebrews took their calendar from Chaldea, legendary
home of Abraham, whose older name was Ab-sin, "Moon-father." 6
Chaldeans were credited with the invention of astrology, now largely
based on the movements of the sun; but the Chaldeans didn't study
the sun. They were "Moon-worshippers," believing the moon determined
the fates of men by her movements through various "houses"
of the zodiac. The same lunar myths were found in Egypt, northern
Europe, Greece, and Rome. Latin kings were sacrificed at the threeday
dark of the moon period called ides, to insure the Goddess's safe
return from the underworld. Greeks similarly made offerings at the
Great Sabbath called Noumenia (New Moon). The other Great Sabbath
was Dichomenia (Full Moon), when the Goddess stood at the
peak of her cycle. 7
Early attempts at calendar reform left Greek city-states quarreling
among themselves about sabbaths and intercalary days. Aristophanes'
s The Clouds makes the Moon-goddess complain that her
reckoning of the days was not being correctly followed. 8 Time-spans
in myths became confused. Adonis was born after "ten months' gestation,"
which really meant ten lunar months, the normal 280 days.9
According to the Book of Maccabees, every gestation lasted ten
months.10 This wasn't ignorance; it was just lunar reckoning.
Even the saints' days of the medieval church were established by
menology, literally "knowledge of the moon." The church's so-called
movable feasts were movable because they were determined by lunar
cycles, not solar ones; thus they drifted erratically through the months
of the canonical calendar. The most important of them, Easter, is still
determined by the moon (first Sunday after the first full moon after
the spring equinox), at a time when the Goddess slew and re-conceived
the Savior or vegetation god for a new season. 11
More confusion was created by the fact that menstrual calendars
reckoned the day from noon to noon, with the midnight hour in the
central position; but solar calendars reckoned the day from midnight to
midnight. The Saxon word den (day) really meant "night." In
Shakespeare's time, people said goodnight by wishing each other good
den, literally good moon-day. Old French nursery rhymes greeted
the moon rising in the evening with "Good morning, Madame
Moon." 12 The meridian or high point of noon used to indicate the
full moon overhead at midnight: hence its name Meri-Dia or MaryDiana,
the Moon-goddess. Superstitious folk talked of the
daemonium meridian urn, devil of the meridian, a diabolization of the
Goddess.13 She was probably the second of the Slavic trinity of Fates
(Zorya), called "She of the Evening, She of Midnight, and She of
Morning," in that order. 14
Pagans held their festivals at night, by moonlight: a custom that
might be traced as far back as ancient Egypt, where major religious
ceremonies were nocturnal, as listed in the Book of the Dead:
The night of the battle and of the overthrow of the Sebau-field in Tattu
... , the night of making to stand up the double Tet in Sekhem ... , the
night of establishing Horus in the heritage of the things of his father in
Rekhti . .. , the night when Isis maketh lamentation at the side of her
brother Osiris in A btu ... , the night of the Haker festival when a division
is made between the dead ana the spirits who are on the path of the dead
... , the night of the judgment of those who are to be annih1lated at the
great festival ofthe ploughing and the turning up of the earth. 15
Pre-Christian Europe also gave night precedence over day . .
Germanic tribes, Celts, Gauls, druids, the ancient Irish calculated
"months, years, and birthdays in such a way as to make the night
precede the day." 16 Caesar noted that the Celts measured time by
nights instead of by days.'7
Christian holy days were copied from pagan ones, displaced by 12
hours in their solar reckoning; therefore the older, heathen version of
each festival was celebrated on the "Eve" of its Christian counterpart.
From this arose the so-called devilish rites of May Eve, Midsummer
Eve, Lammas Eve, All Hallow's Eve, and Christmas Eve which was
taken from the pagan Yule, and to a late date was still called the
Night of the Mother.'s
Witch persecutors pretended the witches copied their sabbats from
Christian feast days in deliberate mockery of the church; but in fact
the copying had gone in the other direction. The church took over the
pagan feasts of Halloween, May Day, Lammas, lmbolg, Midsummer,
Easter, Yule, and so on, then claimed to have invented them.
However, of the two rival festivals on the same day, the Christian one
was invariably the newcomer.19
May Eve was the Saxons' Walpurgisnacht, the Celts' Beltain,
announcing the opening of the Merry Month of sexual license and
"wearing of the green" in honor of the earth's new spring garment. The
occasion was still marked by pagan ceremonies in the late 16th
century.20 (See May.) Midsummer Eve merged with St. John's Day,
but the solstitial rites remained more pagan than Christian. Lammas
Eve was a witches' Great Sabbat because it was formerly the pagan
Feast of Bread (Hlaf..mass) in honor of the Corn-mother.21 Halloween
was All Hallows' or All Souls' eve, from the Celtic Samhain or
Feast of the Dead, when pagan ancestors came forth from their fairymounds,
and Christians called them "demons" who attended the
witches' feasts. 22
The thirteen months of the menstruat calendar also led to
pagan reverence for the number 13, and Christian detestation of it.
Witches' "covens" were supposed to be groups of l3 like the moonworshipping
dancers of the Moorish zabat (sabbat), to whom thirteen
expressed the three-in-one nature of the lunar Goddess.23
Some said thirteen was a bad number because Christ was the
thirteenth in the group of apostles, thus the thirteenth member of any
group would be condemned to death. Actually, it was the church's
opposition to pagan symbolism that brought opprobrium on the
number 13. Some even feared to speak its true name, and it was
euphemized as a "baker's dozen," or sometimes "devil's dozen." 24
The heathen tradition persisted in such symbols as the Thirteen
Treasures of Britain, probably lunar-month signs taken from a primitive
list of zodiacal constellations. They were defined as a sword, basket,
drinking horn, chariot, halter, knife, cauldron, whetstone, garment,
pan, platter, chessboard, and mantle.25 The thirteen menstrual months
were symbolized in the Tarxien temple on Malta as a sow with 13
teats, like the Celts' Sow-goddess Cerridwen.26 Thirteen "moons" of
the menstrual calendar were suggested also by the English Twelfth
Night custom ofkindling twelve small fires and one large one, to
represent the moon of the New Year. 27
In general, the symbols of ancient matriarchy came to be known as
night, the moon, and the number 13, while those of patriarchy were
day, the sun, and the number 12.


Roman Goddess of measurement, numbers, calendars, calculations,
tables, and record-keeping; derived from the Moon-goddess as inventor
of numerical systems. Probably a title for the archaic Minerva as the
moon, "measurer of Time."


"Holy Month," the month of birth, ninth month of the Saxon lunar
calendar which was based on female biological cycles.

From Barbara Walker's Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

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