Did you know that today is International Vulture Awareness Day? Many of these beautiful birds are now threatened or facing extinction, and population numbers are declining the world over. The Egyptian Vulture, which was known in Ancient Egypt, is on the endangered list. The Griffon Vulture, also known in Ancient Egypt, is the only one on the list that is of ‘least concern’.
The first Saturday of September every year is International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD). Started in 2006 by the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Programme and the Hawk Conservancy Trust, plus a range of partners and associates, IVAD has become a global event supported by the IUCN SSC Vulture Specialist Group; in 2016, 164 organisations from 47 countries participated. IVAD aims to create awareness about vultures as a whole, garner support among the public about the plight of vultures globally and highlight the work done by conservationists to protect these birds and their habitats.
Vultures are a characteristic, distinctive and spectacular component of the biodiversity of the environments they inhabit. They also provide critically important ecosystem services by cleaning up carcasses and other organic waste in the environment; they are nature’s garbage collectors and this translates into significant economic benefits. Studies have shown that in areas where there are no vultures, carcasses take up to three or four times longer to decompose. This has huge implications for the spread of diseases in both wild and domestic animals, as well as elevating pathogenic risks to humans.
You can find more information on the International Vulture Awareness Day website
They have kids activities and also colouring pages of different vultures on their downloads page, and you can also download this cute ‘Vultures of the World’ PDF
Two species of vulture were known in Ancient Egypt – the Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) and the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus). The Griffon vulture is the one most commonly depicted. On its own it represents the phonetic value of A, and was used to write the word mut, meaning ‘mother’. With the largest wingspan of any bird in Ancient Egypt the outspread wings of the vulture were seen as offering protection¹, and became a popular motif in Egytian art and jewellery. As vulture Goddesses Nekhbet and Mut became symbols of maternal love and protection. In the Late Period the vulture was: ‘…a symbol of the female principle and stood in juxtaposition to the beetle as the embodiment of the male principle.’²
The vulture headdress was seen as a ‘symbol and ideogram of motherhood’³ and also associated any Queen who wore it with Mut as consort of the state God, Amun, and also with Nekhbet as protectress of Upper Egypt¹.
A while ago I was gifted a deck of Hachette Egyptian tarot-type cards by a man whose witchy shop I used to visit. Unfortunately the shop had to close down, but I remember that little place of magic and mystery fondly. Anyway, back to the cards: I haven’t used them in a long time, and last night I felt drawn to use them again. The card that came up was Sobek. I wondered why the Great Crocodile had paid me a visit, and then I remembered that there is a Sobek devotional looking for submissions. So I have taken Sobek’s hint to share the link, and I will await to see if He inspires me to create an entry of my own.
We’re a month in and I’ve had some submissions so far, but I would love to have more. If anyone’s thinking of submitting something, please send it in! This devotional can’t happen without your submissions, so please get in touch. sobekdevotionalATgmail.com
via PSA: Send me things for the Sobek Devotional! — Per Sebek
Despite the more obvious practices of Seidhr, spells, enchantments, divination and shapeshifting, there is another powerful magic in the Iron Wood: the women Themselves.
The women are the fiercer, more powerful sex among the Jotnar – think of Angerboda and Skadi, of Groa and Gerda. But this strength isn’t just physical, and nor is it purely ‘magical’. Their true power lies in Their personal power, Their Sovreignty, Their sacred expression of Their Selves. They are empowered women, the ones who stand up for Their needs and desires, standing Their ground, asserting Their boundaries.
To the writers of the time these powerful, self-assured women must have been seen as a real threat to the ‘way of the world’. These are independent Goddesses who know Their needs and magics and are respected for it. How much of the ‘terrible and terrifying’ description of Them is really true, and how much is the filter of the writer?
While these amazingly strong Goddesses can be fierce and awe-inspiring, is there a chance They have been somewhat misrepresented? How much of Their true nature has been rewritten or lost? Just as Sigyn is reduced to the long-suffering wife of Loki in the Eddas, with the gift of her magic as galdr fetter hinted at in one epithet, how much of the Jotnar and Iron Wood has been lost?
In being drawn back to the ways of nature, the Earth and the crystal, plant and animal kingdoms I feel my inner ‘wild woman’ calling. This is part of me I have been too afraid to claim, but now I’m tentatively curious. Whereas Angerboda used to terrify me I can now be in Her presence with a great deal of respect for Her power. I know She values physical strength, but She also values strength of will and heart.
Beside Her more obvious Iron Wood connections, to me She is a Goddess of empowerment. Part of Her gift is bringing us into our own power. While this manifests differently in each of us – due to different personalities, abilities and paths to follow – She is the embodied Powerful Feminine.
Although Hers can be a tough love, She does love… and fiercely. She is loyal and true to Her Self and to those She loves. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
There are many theories about whether the Set-beast is based on a real animal, whether it is a compilation of creatures (like Ammit), or a completely mythological being.
While watching the ‘Grasslands’ episode of Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Planet Earth II’ I came face to face with an Ice Age relic: the Saiga Antelope. Just look at that nose! How can you not see a resemblance to the Egyptian God Set when you look at it?
By Vladimir Yu. Arkhipov, Arkhivov – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8955913
It is a very human trait to fear death and the darkness, but many ancient and indigenous cultures understand that there is a greater cycle to life. In doing so they respect these forces and understand their place in the world, and in the universe(s) we live in.
Many Deities and Spirits have an element of darkness within them, like the Tao symbol, with Yin and Yang each having a seed of the other within. Some are darker than others, some are more of the light, but each have elements of both that can teach us.
For what is life if not day and night, light and shade? Even those destructive moments strip away the old to leave the potential for a new way of life. As the moon shines in the night it lights our way through the darkness of the nocturnal hours, just as those who are darker in nature can teach us to find and follow our own pathway – ‘to thine own self be true’. Many of these so-called darker Deities have protective aspects, and can teach triumph through adversity. often they embody our own worst fears, ones we must ultimately face, or else how can we truly enjoy life in all its aspects?
Give the dark the respect it is due, and you may just find the seed of light – the moon – to guide you through it. Continue reading
This month, in a change from the usual format, I’m looking at ouroboros items. All can be found on Etsy. Click on the link below the picture to be taken to the product page.
by OrionCarvings in Chile – Product Link
by FrostFerrumForge in Finland – Product Link
by TreeTerracom in Canada – Product Link
by Vocisconnesse in Italy – Product Link
by ArtifactoryStore in Russia – Product Link
by ModestBirdy in Hungary – Product Link
by SeeSpotRunFindings in USA – Product Link
by extase in Canada – Product Link
by AyeshaJones in Wales, UK – Product Link
by DeBaunFineCeramics in USA – Product Link
by Dwarvesong in USA – Product Link
by FogliaViola in Italy – Product Link
Excavations of a well in Trondheim, Norway, have revealed the skeleton of a man. Archaeologists say this may be evidence that the saga of King Sverre is actually based on historical events.
Paige Carpenter is an illustrator from Texas, USA, who takes her inspiration from a variety of sources. On her website it says: “She loves Norse mythology, reading, gardening, and of course, creating art.” The works that I love the most are her depictions of the Norse deities. She has a soft style to her pencil and charcoal pieces, which is particularly lovely in her beautiful depiction of Laufey holding baby Loki. Her watercolor pieces are vibrant, but have an almost velvety texture.
I cannot tell you how ridiculously excited I was when I found her depictions not only of Loki, but also Laufey and Helblindi. These two, along with Farbauti and Loki’s other siblings are so rarely depicted, and when they are they usually have a Marvel influence. It’s really refreshing to see a traditional-style illustrator showing us her view of them.
Paige’s Website: www.paigecarpenter.com
(Click on the images to be taken to the image page)
Kissed by Fire
The Unquiet Thought
Loki Casting Fire
Thunder and Fire
Ivaldi’s Youngest Daughter
Today I am introducing PantheonSkulptur. Stina lives in Sweden and makes resin statues of the Norse Gods and goddesses, which she then gilds with brass leaf.
The Freya, Frigga, Thor, Skadi and Jord/Gerd statues have already sold, but maybe if you messaged Stina she would be able to make another.
Edit: Hella statue is now mine. Channelling Gollum: come to me my preciousss.
Dung beetles are guided by taking note of where they are in relation to the stars. This is a great link to Khepera, the scarab beetle who rolls Ra’s Sun disc through the sky each day.