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Daughters of Dea #1 -- Feast of the Dead (historic first) Issue
October 29, 2007
Welcome to the first issue of Daughters of Dea
Congratulations on being one of the very first to subscribe to Daughters of Dea.
In honour of the High Feast of the Dead we are reproducing a story that deals with the themes of death and werde (for the Feast of the Dead begins the month of Werde).
The Feast, however is not simply about death, but also about the continuity of life - the continuity of individual life from one birth to another; the continuity of our present life with our Honoured Ancestresses; the continuity between human life and the Life Divine.
Long, long ago, in old Trintitia, when the world was younger than it is now, though not so young as it had been beforetimes, there lived a noble lady who was beloved of all her people, for that she was most goodly and sweet of nature. Strict she was and just, yet she had a good word to say for every maid no matter what her faults.
Also she was most free with her riches and would allow none to suffer hardship so long as she had power to prevent It. Now as It came about, this lady, even In the noon and summertide of her life, was stricken by sickness and died. And when the time of her death-feast was come, the skies rended them open and the rain fell down until it seemed that the first flood was come upon the earth again.
Now this lady had a daughter even so fair as herself that went by the name of Samhain; and upon the death of her mother, this Samhain was sent to live with an old lady that was as black and sour of disposition as her mother had been bright and lovely; and when, but a year after, she died also, there was none to be sorry for it. But upon her death-feast came the fairest and most glorious three days that ever Sai Raya breathed out of her breast.
Samhain was much perplexed by this. "Is there no justice in the heavens?" she cried. And she made an avow that she would not sleep three nights in the one bed, nor eat three meals off the one board until she had discovered the meaning of this matter.
So off she set upon her travelling. She went a long way and she went a short way, up mountains and down valleys, until she came to a humble cottage with an old maid sitting outside. A maid so old is like to be wise, thought she, and so she reverenced deeply unto her and asked of her the question that occupied her thoughts.
"Nought do I wit of that," replied the maid, "but sithen it is so wide that thou do wander, it may be that thou can find the answer to another question also. I was once a very rich merchant maid, but although I have worked both hard and diligently all the days of my life, I am now as poor as the greatest idler of the town. Canst thou find why this may be?"
"Most surely, if I may I shall, ma'am," replied Samhain, and took up her way again.
She went a long way and she went a short way, up mountains and down valleys, until she came to a fine and well-wrought house and a maid of middle years sitting without; and she asked her question of this maid.
"Nought do I wit of this matter," she replied, "but sithen it is so wide that thou do wander, it may be that thou canst find the answer to another question also.
"In my kitchen Is a great fireplace, yet no fire bath ever burned therein. I have used timber and tinder and every manner of matter; I have cleaned the stones and swept the chimney and have hired the very best of servant-maids, but no fire will ever burn in that fireplace. Canst thou discover why this may be?"
"Most surely, if I may I shall, ma'am," replied Samhain, and took up her way again.
She went a long way and she went a short way, up mountains and down valleys, until she came upon a most resplendent palace, whose white towers glistered in the noon-day sun. And therewithout she saw a little child, all alone at her play.
"It is said that the wisdom of a little child may sometimes surpass all the learning of the profoundest scholars," thought Samhain, and so she asked her question of this child.
"Nought do I wit of this matter, she replied, "but sithen it is so wide that you do wander, it may be that you can find the answer to another question also.
"I am a princess of this palace, and my sister is the heir to the throne, and she was wont to play with me here in the green woods. But lately she is fallen into a sickness, and though the Queen my mother hath summoned all the physicians in the land and a great number from other lands also, there is none can tell so much as the name of her sickness. Can you discover aught of this?"
"Most surely, If I may I shall, Your Highness," replied Samhain, and took up her way again.
She went a long way and she went a short way, up mountains and down valleys, until she came to a great river that barred her way, as far as the eye could see. So Samhain made herself a raft of logs and branches, and managed to push herself across the river with a long stick. A difficult crossing she had of it, and before she reached at last the other side she was well wetted and weary to the very bone, but still she walked onward in hopes to find lodging for the night.
After a time she came upon a fine-looking house whose front door stood wide open and a blazing fire burned upon the hearth. Beside the fire were two Inviting chairs, but there was no one there to bid her welcome.
Samhain walked in and sat herself upon one of the chairs, and after a little time there came from one of the inner rooms a full beautiful and elegant lady who greeted Samhain and offered her food and drink. A most excellent companion she proved to be, and the two of them talked late into the evening. At last, seeing that she was tired, the lady showed Samhain to her bed. But tired as she was, Samhain did not sleep, for her room adjoined the main room, and the door between them was left open, and she found herself fascinated by the lady, who sat up beside the fire. So it was that, though she seemed deep in slumber, she was but half asleep, and quickly came full awake when the lady began to move.
She put her hands into the great cauldron that bubbled over the fire, and then did she sink in her arms even up to the shoulder, and at last plunged her whole self within the boiling liquid. When she had boiled for long enough to slay herself nine times over, she stepped out again, as fresh as a lamb in spring.
Then she set up a noose from the ceiling and hanged herself by the neck. For a time she kicked in the air, and then fell still. Samhain thought most surely she was dead this time, but after a time she cut herself down and threw the noose in the fire. Then, with that same knife, she stabbed herself to the very heart, so that dark blood spread out across the front of her dress, and she fell prone upon the floor.
This time Samhain thought there was no doubt but that she had slain herself. But after a little time she rose up fresh and clean, and threw a velvet cloak over her shoulders, trimmed about with fur, and walked about the room as one issuing commands.
After this, she put on a white robe and began to study in a great book. Then she came through the open door unto the room where Samhain lay, feigning to be asleep.
"Dost thou sleep, or dost thou wake?" she asked, but Samhain answered nothing.
"I know well thou wakest," said she. Now arise thee up and thou shalt have the answer that thou seekst."
Samhain arose. "Hast thou heard tell of Werde, Queen of Destiny?Ē asked she.
"Aye, full oft have I" replied Samhain.
"I am that Werde," quoth the lady. "Marked thou the time that I lay in the cauldron? Every babe born in that time shall have such a death.
"Marked thou the time that I hanged by the neck? Every babe born in that time shall have such a death.
"Marked thou the time that I lay bleeding upon the ground? Every babe born in that time shall have such a death.
"Marked thou the time that I was dressed in velvet and fur? Every babe born in that time shall have such a life.
"Marked thou the time that I studied in the book? Every babe born in that time shall have such a life."
Then Samhain asked the question she had come so far to discover.
"Your mother," quoth Queen Werde, "was a fair and good maid. Her life was full of goodness and empty of illness. All the purgatory she had for her sins lasted but those three stormy days of her death-feast.
"The old woman was a close-fisted, cheerless, dishonest and miserable maid. All the good she earned in her whole life was those three days of sunshine at her death-feast.
"You may tell the old maid that when she was a rich merchant many poor beggars came to her door and she did turn them away with curses and no charity. Not until she shall give away even what little she hath now will her fortune be restored. You may tell the maid of middle years that the stones of which her hearth is built were bought with money made by usury of poor farmers that had suffered three bad harvests. Not until all the money is returned will a fire ever burn in her hearth.
"You may tell the little princess that not all the worldly doctors upon the earth can ever tell the name of the sickness, for it is a sickness of the spirit. Her mother has taught her not the ways of Truth and the love of Dea, and how may a queen lawfully rule that knoweth not these things? Let her be taught and quickly she shall be well. Fortunate they whose sickness of the heart becomes a sickness of the body in this life, that It may be amended before the death."
Then Queen Werde gave Samhain three brazen apples, saying: "I shall direct thee to a bridge across the river, else thou shall never come home alive, for the way shall be guarded by the old maid to whom thou went after your motherís death, in the form of a three-headed wolf.
"When thou see her, thou must throw one of these apples into each of her mouths. If thou miss, she will surely devour thee."
When she came to the bridge, Samhain met with the terrible and demonic form of the old maid and she was seized with terror, but she threw each apple neatly into each mouth and got herself across the bridge just a heartbeat before the wolf had swallowed them and was after her again, but once across the bridge, her pursuer could follow no further.
She told each of the people that she met on the way what Queen Werde had told her to say.
The old maid gave away all the little she had left in the world, and within a month one of her ships, thought lost at sea these many years, returned, laden with silks and spices. And when she was rich again, she sent to Samhain a silken gown every year of her life until she died.
The maid of middle years gave to the poor farmers all that she had taken and more, and soon a bright fire was blazing in her hearth. She gave to Samhain the finest white mare in the western world.
The princess's mother had her child instructed in the ways of Truth and the love of Dea, and before long she was playing with her sister In the green wood again.
The Queen was so pleased with Samhain that she adopted the orphan girl as her own child, and when she was of age, she gave her the half of her realm ó for who could be better able to rule a realm than the maid who had talked with Queen Werde herself?
This story can be read on more than one level. At its simplest it teaches certain important lessons about the nature of werde.
The question that prompts the whole quest, and its answer, make clear that things are not always what they seem. What appears to be injustice, in the ultimate scheme of things, in fact never is; and conversely, we may never assume that a person is bad simply because she is having bad fortune. It is true that bad luck can only be the result of evil deeds, but there may be more to matters than meets the eye.
Also, as Queen Werde says, bad luck in this life may be a good fortune if it leads us to seek out the underlying spiritual causes and put them to rights.
The deaths and lives portrayed by Queen Werde on the one hand, and the answers to the three maids' questions on the other, show the two complementary aspects of personal werde - in some respects it is fixed and ineluctable - an inescapable fate laid down for us by our own actions in previous lives. In other respects it is a process of becoming which we can alter if we will learn its lessons and act upon them.
On another level, the story deals with the other-world journey which is an essential element of the initiatic path.
The significance of crossing the river is clear in the light of the symbolism of the the Bridge (to which we shall devote an article). We may note that this tale is a close cousin to "The Devilís Ferryboat", a folktale known throughout Europe under various names, which concerns the descent into the inferior psychic regions in order to gather the scattered fragments of the soul (a theme discussed in detail in The Secret of the Three Caskets.
The two aspects of the story (moral and metaphysical) are closely united In the incident of the three-headed wolf. On the one hand the old maid has taken on a demonic form in after-life as a consequence of her wickedness during life. On another she is now one of the "guardians of the gateway" which bar the path and test the qualification of the aspirant on the initiatic path. For her werde is to be defeated by Samhain, and Samhain's is to cross the Gateway.
Advertising at the Chapel
We talk to honoured Mitzi Marenkhe-chei, advertising manager for the Chapel of Our Mother God.
Daughters of Dea: Rayati. Thank you for giving us your time for this interview.
Marenkhe-chei: Rayati. The honour is all mine.
Daughters of Dea: Some people have been surprised to see a certain amount of advertising on the Chapel site. Can you explain why it is there?
Marenkhe-chei: Certainly. In the first place, our mission is to make information about Our Mother God freely available to everyone. So as far as possible, we need to make it absolutely free.
A number of sites about related subjects publish books, and most of the information they offer is in those books. With the exception of The Feminine Universe, which was published ten years ago and really is the classic work on the feminine Tradition, everything on this very extensive and growing site is free. We don't hold anything back to sell in book form. Somehow we have to pay for the expenses involved in doing that, and the best way at present is through accepting some advertising on the site.
Daughters of Dea: You have worked with Aristasian sites that don't take any advertising. How do they manage?
Marenkhe-chei: This brings us to the philosophy of the sites in question. The Aristasian sites have been anxious to keep very pure from any taint of Tellurian patriarchal culture, so they don't accept advertising.
That means, of course, that the sites don't take any money at all. Those sites have quite a high traffic, and consequently they have to pay for fairly high bandwidth. Now, as a result of this, they need to actively discourage what they call "vagrant traffic" - people who aren't really looking for Aristasia.
Commercial sites try to optimise keywords and such to bring the maximum traffic to the site. Aristasian sites have been doing the opposite. They need to keep their traffic restricted, because the more they get the more it costs.
We didn't want the Chapel site to be in that position. We want people to come. All sorts of people. The more the better. The message of our loving Mother God is an important message. We are a missionary site. We don't say that everyone should worship Dea - but everyone should hear Her good news and have the opportunity to love Her.
Now for that, we need to maximise our traffic, and we can only do that if it pays us something. Otherwise the more we succeed the deeper we go into debt.
Daughters of Dea: Please tell us what is your advertising policy. What sort of advertisements do you accept?
Marenkhe-chei: Currently the advertisements are served automatically by our partners at Google and Adbrite. We don't get to choose the ads. We do have them on very "family friendly" settings, because people don't come to a Chapel to find something offensive.
Other than that, right now we don't try to influence the advertisements very much. Why? Because, to be honest, if we started cutting out aspects of modern patriarchal culture that we don't approve of there might not be a lot left! We feel readers understand that the advertisement sections are not editorial content and see them as something apart from the actual purpose of the site.
We do hope to see advertising that is useful and relevant to our readers, and over time we hope to build partnerships with businesses offering literature, statuary and other products that we can fully recommend to our readers. We already have some that we are very happy with. That trend will increase.
Right now, though, Alexa is ranking us in the top two percent of all websites. We are getting a very large traffic for a site of this type, and I don't think traditional Deanic religion has ever had so wide and successful an outreach.
Our advertising campaign may not be the most glamorous aspect of our work, but it is making this tremendous and growing outreach possible. And that, from our point of view, is what it is there for.
Praise be to Dea.
Daughters of Dea: Praise be to Dea, and thank you, honoured Marenkhe-chei.
Marenkhe-chei: No, thank You
The Feast of the Dead
There will be an online Deanic Service for this High Festival on Saturday the 3rd of November at 11pm GMT. That is:
On the west coast of North America, 4 p.m. On the east coast of North America, 7 p.m. In the British Isles & Portugal, 11 p.m. In western Europe, 12 midnight.
The Service will be audible and will be held at The White Rose Room. You do not need to register. Simply come at the time of the Service.
This is an Aristasian Service but it is open to all female devotees of Our Mother God. As with all Aristasian events it is all-female.
The next High Feast after this will be Nativity.
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