Amethyst Tumbled

The perfect all-around healing stone, amethysts are useful for promoting peace, healing, and relaxation. Even the most heavily faceted refined amethyst can’t claim to have as many faces as it has uses!

Ancient Uses for Amethyst

Because of its beauty, amethysts have long been used for a variety of decorative applications, including:

  • Ancient Egyptian jewelry and sculpture
  • Greco-Roman adornments, such as rings
  • Gemstone drinking cups
  • Adornments in crowns and elaborate formalwear

While some of these uses were purely decorative, many had superstitious or religious meaning.

A Rocky Hangover Cure

In Greece and Rome, amethyst was heavily associated with the god of partying, wine, and ecstasy; the Greeks referred to this god as Dionysus, while Romans called him Bacchus.

Because of the link with the de facto party god, both ancient Greek and Roman artisans would frequently stud their chalices, goblets, and cups with the gemstone. In doing this, they believed that they could prevent themselves from becoming drunk. Even the name of the gemstone reflects this belief. The word “amethyst” is derived from the Koine Greek word for “unintoxicated”, amethystos.

Of course, it’s now known that amethyst won’t do anything to prevent you from getting drunk. However, we’re certain that its inclusion added some bling to many ancient parties.

Gems of Pleasure

Ancient Egyptians seemed to have a similar idea upon discovering the gorgeous purple stone. In this context, amethyst was seen in two ways. On a material level, the stone was a symbol of wealth and power. Symbolically, they were utilized in rituals for increasing virility and ensuring love.

As an aphrodisiac, amethyst was used for both the living and the dead. On the mortal plane, people of status wore amethyst rings, necklaces, and headpieces. For the dead, the gemstone was carved into prayer beads. The deeper purple the gemstone, the more potent its power was believed to be.

Purple Divinity

Another ancient association for amethyst is its literal biblical status. As per the book of Exodus, the purple gemstone was one of twelve to adorn the breastplates of high-ranking priests. Because of this, amethyst is frequently seen in Christian art. In this setting, the stone holds no real functional significance; rather, Christian use of amethyst is meant as an outward symbol of one’s devotion to Christ.

The Origins of Amethyst

While the popularity of amethyst can be attributed purely to its good looks, there may be a bit more to the story than that. Like all other gemstones, this beautiful relic of the earth is forged from the fires of the earth’s ancient past.

More precisely, amethyst is derived from a mixture of water, iron, and a bit of gamma radiation. This isn’t to say that the stones, themselves, are radioactive, though! By the time the gemstone is mined, it’s free of this energy. Nonetheless, that power has cemented the color of the stone. While there’s a bit of nitty-gritty science behind all of this, the basic gist of the idea is that the radioactivity reacts with the iron in the deposits that form the stone. The more iron there is in the deposit, the richer the color will be.

Indulge Yourself

So, why are we telling you all of this?

The answer is simple: this week, Goddess Elite is having a sale on all of our amethyst products! From gorgeous raw stones to towers and everything in between, it’s all 20% off. This sale only lasts until the end of the week, though, so be sure to take advantage of it before it ends.

Raw Stones

Crystals, with their shining, gorgeous beauty, have always fascinated humans. From precious gemstones to unique natural formations, nature has a way of turning the most mundane of elements into something beautiful.

People have prized these gems for an unimaginably long time. We’ve carved pendants from their shimmering, glasslike bodies and created mystical, ritualistic uses for them. Chief among these uses is the complex web of meaning and symbolism behind healing stones.

A Brief Review

Incorporating crystals into rituals of healing is nothing new. It’s likely that every civilization has, at one point or another, held their own unique take on crystal-based healing. Prominent examples of sophisticated crystalline beliefs can be found in Buddhist, Hindu, First Nation, and occult European texts.

Today, the New Age beliefs of the 1970’s and 80’s are the most influential source for crystal-based healing. This intellectual approach combined elements of historic practices, indigenous beliefs, and modern creativity. Since then, these ideas have been adapted and tweaked by a variety of groups and individuals.

3 Beautiful Healing Stones to Know About

Today, there are countless variations of healing crystal compilations and dictionaries available. While there’s no singular, central consensus, there are a few gemstones with meanings that are so ubiquitous that it’s worth knowing about them.

Malachite: Transformation

As gorgeous as it is useful, malachite is a wonderful way to get your new year started! At its core, Malachite promotes transformation. It cleanses, promotes renewal of your chakras, and balances your mind. While the mineral may come in a variety of colors depending on what it is combined with, the most famous variety is green.

Sapphire: Discipline and Awareness

Historically associated with romance, devotion, and religious clergy, the gorgeous, deep blue hue of a sapphire is perfect for improving your discipline and mental focus. Its visual beauty is matched by its dynamic nature; a variety of problems and ailments can be eased by the presence of sapphire. Some of the most prominent effects are:

  • Relief from headaches, vertigo, and visual problems
  • Increased mental awareness
  • Awareness and acceptance of beauty
  • Improved intuition

Lapis Lazuli: Power and Creativity

Yet another gorgeous blue stone, lapis lazuli is a luxurious and useful stone to have as an accessory. Its beautiful, deep color allowed for the stone to be pulverized and used in paints and dyes. In other instances, astute gem aficionados cut and polished the blue gem for jewelry and sculpting. Its inspiring beauty has made it the central fixture of many works of art, including Hayao Miyazaki’s anime classic, Castle in the Sky.

On a spiritual level, lapis lazuli is revered for its ability to open the mind to new possibilities. In addition to vitality and romance, this gemstone also promotes creativity and thoughtfulness.

Find Your Own Gem!

To celebrate the properties and beauty of these gemstones, Goddess Elite is offering a weeklong sale on all of our raw gemstones. We have a variety of minerals, sizes, and prices to choose from, and they’re all 20% off until the end of the week!

While books and websites (just like this one!) may have their own interpretations, the most important thing to remember about crystals is that their meaning is not set in stone. You can define your world and see it as you want; whether or not you wish to conform to rigid structures is up to you! Regardless of what you decide to do, Goddess Elite will always be here to provide you with the highest quality minerals, gems, and formations.

Point

Throughout history, humans have created things that reflect the world around them. Whether that object is a recreation of reality or an abstraction, its ultimate purpose is rooted in an appreciation for the world around us.

In its most basic form, stripped of detail and definition, our world is a combination of simple shapes. Through the course of civilization, these shapes have often been ascribed different meanings. Circles, for example, are commonly seen as signs of repetitive cycles.

Aside from circles, however, two shapes stand out among the rest for their importance: pyramids and towers.

Icons of Power

At its core, most art is rooted in a need to either preserve an idea or convey a message. In many cases, that “message” tends to be “I am in charge”. There are a few variations of this, —”I am the divine”, “I am the best”, or “I beat up those other guys”, for instance—but the underlying message is one of superiority.

The Point of the Issue

Obelisks, such as the Washington Monument, are some of the oldest forms of shaped monumental architecture. Though modern associations may call to mind something a bit more childish, it wasn’t so long ago that these pointed towers were erected as symbols of imperial conquest.

Even further back in the timeline, obelisks were built as a way to convene with the heavens. Almost four thousand years ago, these towers were painstakingly hewn from stone by Ancient Egyptians as a way to remind viewers of the almighty wrath of Ra, the sun god.

At the same time, these monuments were also made to mark tombs. In their mourning, these Ancient Egyptians crafted towering pillars to connect their dead with the rays of sun from the heavens.

Stability and Might

Another iconic shape of the ancient and modern world is the classical pyramid. Four triangles, attached to a square base, form one of the most instantly recognizable representations of endurance and stability mankind has ever created. Studies have shown that the shape of these structures is the secret to their long standing existence. When building with heavy stone, pyramids are the most stable shape to use.

Beyond their sheer practicality, pyramids also served as a reference to the divine might of gods. The triangular shapes recall the sun’s rays, while the sheer height of these monuments emphasizes the power of the leader. Interestingly, the same solar symbolism can be found across the globe, in South American civilizations, such as the Inca and Maya.

Claiming Your Power

Today, it’s much harder to find massive pyramids and obelisks in the wild. People simply aren’t building these monumental structures anymore. Their symbolism, however, remains the same. In fact, you can claim the same power and prestige in your own life by welcoming some of the same shapes into your home.

To make it easier, Goddess Elite is excited to announce that all of our crystal points, pyramids, and towers are on sale for 20% off! We’re also happy to aid your selection process by providing a quick overview of these shapes.

Crystal Points

Resembling a small double-sided obelisk, these thin gemstones are often used to charge, generate, and direct energy within crystal grids. Useful for central placement within grids, the points of these gemstones are used as energy thoroughfares.

Pyramids

The stable pyramid is a twofold shape: it grounds and manifests energies and desires. At its base, a crystal pyramid creates a rooted, firm foundation for your idea. This intention rises and is channeled to the universe through the pointed peak.

Towers

Like points, towers are meant to channel energy. Shape-wise, towers are identical to obelisks. Unlike points, however, these single-tipped gemstones are used to direct energy from the earth to the heavens.

Regardless of which shape you pick, you’re guaranteed to find only the highest quality gemstones at Goddess Elite. From gorgeous Yooperlite Towers to calming Amethyst Pyramids, our promise to deliver only the best items to our customers remains firm. Our sale on these items will run until the end of the week, so be sure to drop by and check out our offerings in-person or online!

With the holiday season officially upon us, many people are now searching for gifts for their friends and family. To help you along, Goddess Elite is delighted to offer a deal worth talking about: 25% off all of our gift kits. Each kit is carefully packed with hand-picked items to fit the theme. From candles and gemstones to tarot cards, there’s a lot to love in these little packages!

But where did the tradition of giving gifts in the middle of winter come from?

A Holiday Older than Rome

As the midpoint of the most brutal season of the year, the winter solstice has been seen as sacred throughout human history. As the days grow longer, people grow merrier. For this reason, the winter solstice has been branded by people throughout history and across the world as a symbol of rebirth, beginnings, and light.

In ancient times, Scandanavians would cut down a log and burn it on this night, believing that each spark symbolized a new life in the coming year. Celtic myth said that the day was born from the battle between darkness and light.

A Feast for Time

Built on the foundations of prehistoric spoken tradition, Rome’s Saturnalia festival was held annually on the winter solstice. Later expanded into a weeklong affair, typically beginning December 17 and ending December 25, the feast was dedicated to Saturn, the god of time and harvest.

Marked by citywide festivities, nobody had to work during Saturnalia. Everyone, instead, enjoyed time with family, friends, and neighbors. Colorful clothing was worn and common activities included singing, playing music, dancing, gambling, and (everyone’s favorite) feasting. By later years of the Roman Empire, the celebration had come to include gift-giving.

On the final day of Saturnalia, people often gifted symbolic belongings to their friends and family. Such symbolic offerings included tapered wax candles, meant to symbolize the return of light, and small terracotta figurines.

As time marched on, Christians of the period began to integrate the festivities into their own Christmas traditions, resulting in the celebrations we know today.

Not all of Saturnalia’s festivities were absorbed into Christmas, though. Some of its unique qualities include a sort of social inversion, which is typically associated with Mardi Gras or Halloween today. Slaves were treated like royalty and mischievous individuals were allowed to cut loose and cause good-natured chaos in the household.

A Celebration for Everyone

Yuletide festivities aren’t just limited to western traditions, of course. Practically every culture on the planet has a way to mark the peak of winter. In Asia, China celebrates Dong Zhi (“the arrival of winter”) with scrumptious seasonal treats. Iran has Shab-e.

Native North American cultures with solstice traditions include Arizona’s Hopi tribes, who celebrate Soyal. In South America, many of the festivals and traditions are influenced by Mayan and Incan practices. Inti Raymi, for example, is a Peruvian festival centered around sacrifice and feasting. (Southern hemisphere winter falls in June, however, which means these festivities are celebrated then.)

Almost all of these traditions are linked by the same thread: a celebration of survival, new life, and the coming year. As much as time and technology have changed our lifestyles, some things remain the same.

Today, gifts are less symbolic and more personalized or practical. As you celebrate your yule, however you may do so, take a moment to remember that, thousands of years ago, your ancestors were sitting down and doing the same thing. They, however, didn’t have the benefit or convenience of Goddess Elite’s amazing store for their gift shopping!

With the holidays just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start shopping for gifts and treats. Whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or something entirely different, this time of the year is all about giving.

To help you check everyone off of your wishlist, Goddess Elite is overjoyed to announce that we’re offering discounts on all of our wonderful T-shirts. From now until the end of this week, all of our wonderful shirts are 20% off! From gorgeous, functional garments—like our Lotus Blossom Draped Cardigan—to fun and quirky items, —such as our Quarantine Shirt—we have something for everyone on your list. We also carry jewelry and accessories to match your new looks.

Due to the pandemic, it’s worth noting that we may sell out of these items and be unable to replenish our stock in time for your festive occasion. For this reason, we recommend that you rush in and take advantage of these deals now, before someone else pounces first!

While we accept orders on our website, we’d also love to see you in person!

If you live near Cleveland, Ohio, you can pay us an in-person visit.

We’re located at 28888 Lorain Road, North Olmsted (44070), and our physical doors are open from 12–7PM on Tuesdays through Saturdays and 12–6PM on Sundays.

If you don’t know the right size or item to pick, now is also the perfect time to consider purchasing a gift card. Classic, functional, and perfect for anyone, our gift cards can be used to purchase anything on our site or, of course, in our store. This allows your friends and loved ones to pick what they want, avoiding the embarrassment of double-gifting.

Shopping for the Solstice

With all this talk of merriment, you may be wondering: how did winter gift-giving get started?

As hunter-gatherers, early humans worshipped the sun. Because winter is marked by shorter days, resulting in less time for hunting, many cultures developed traditions to mark its beginning, midpoint, and conclusion. As a date that marks the midpoint of winter, (or its beginning, depending on who you ask) the winter solstice came to hold particular significance.

In Europe, some of the most influential celebrations of the solstice come from Celtic traditions. Beginning a few days prior to the solstice and ending a few days after, their festivities included activities such as:

  • Lighting bonfires
  • Drinking and eating
  • Telling stories
  • Cutting and gifting mistletoe (seen as a symbol of life)

Another influential culture was, of course, the Romans. For seven days, beginning on December 17th, the famed empire would enjoy the festival of Saturnalia. Outside of the universally beloved pastimes of drinking and eating, their celebrations included:

  • Holding large parades
  • Giving and receiving presents
  • Lighting candles
  • Decorating homes and businesses with greenery and foliage

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because most of these activities have become part of the quintessential Christmas experience.

Sometime during 325 CE, Pope Julius I decided to crown December 25th as the day Christ was born. The factual evidence for this claim is dubious; it’s more likely that Jesus’s birthday would fall in the spring. Nonetheless, this declaration allowed for Christianity to integrate and adapt to popular Pagan traditions, thereby increasing its spread.

While the popularity of Christianity boomed after this, an important and intriguing development also happened: the celebrations became intertwined with Pagan culture. Since then, Western colonization and proselytization have spread the practice across the globe. The holiday has come to be marked by traditions that, at their heart, were never meant to be part of the festivities at all!

How’s that for some fun dinner discussion?

In modern society, most people associate tarot with occult practices. From fortune telling to casting spells, most modern tarot decks cater to a more otherworldly audience than they used to.

Where Did Tarot Come From?

Tarot cards are surprisingly old. Tarot cards originated in Europe. (Whether or not they’re truly an Italian invention is up for debate.) While some of the oldest examples of tarot cards hail from the 14th century, it wasn’t until the 15th century that they were organized into the format we know today. However, these cards weren’t for fortune telling; people used these early decks to play games!

Like any game, tarot games had a variety of rules. Exactly how the game was played was up to the host. Who you played with, where you were playing, and whether or not you were gambling were all factors in determining the rules. However, regardless of the specifics, all tarot games revolved around collecting points based on your hand.

Though functionally different from today’s decks, these antique tarot cards shared one similarity with modern decks: variety. Even 600 years ago, people clamored for decks that suited their personality. While most folks were limited to simple decks, the poshest of people enjoyed elaborate custom-made cards. Gold leaf details, hand-painted colors, and expensive pigments distinguished these elite playing cards from the average deck.

When Did Tarot’s Meaning Change?

If tarot cards were originally meant as novelty playthings, when and how did they become an essential occult tool? Though people used tarot decks for divination and cartomancy from the 14th–17th centuries, it wasn’t until the late 1700s that the practice really took off. Part of this shift can be credited to Europe’s obsession with all things spooky at the time.

In the 1790s, creative French “historians” began publishing intriguing claims about tarot cards. These books spread a variety of false, albeit extremely interesting, tall tales about the origins of the beloved playing cards. Riding the Ancient Egyptian craze that gripped Europe, the books claimed that tarot cards were originally relics of a divine Egyptian practice.

In 1789, Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Alliette published what may be the first set of tarot cards explicitly designed for divination. To coincide with his new deck, in 1791, he released a book with instructions on using the humble playing cards to see the future. He, too, propped up his strange system with vague claims of tarot cards’ relationship to Ancient Egypt. Under the pen name of Etteilla, Alliette proposed that tarot cards were inspired by and derived from the Book of Thoth.

Of course, none of these claims are actually true, and most of the “historical” books from that time are riddled with errors. However, their narratives caught the European population’s attention. Increased demands for divination-based tarot decks led to a boom in occult sales. Different systems also rose to prominence in this period, including many oracle decks and the Lenormand system.

Séances, TikTok, and Tarot Today

If you fast-forward a bit through history, you’ll eventually hit the Spiritualism movement. Driven by a craving to interact with the unseen, people in the late 19th to early 20th centuries engaged in everything from true experimentation to laughably bogus séances. Naturally, this meant that people needed supplies.

With tarot decks in high demand, many unique designs were born; some of these have become iconic. One of these timeless decks is the Rider-Waite set, which has since become a beloved classic tarot deck. Since then, designs have branched out beyond the standard. In addition to spin-offs of this classic, —such as the Smith-Waite deck—artists have published unique, modern designs.

There’s no doubt that the publishers of this classic deck would be baffled by packs like the TikTok Tarot deck, but its existence is a testament to the enduring popularity of card-based divination.

photo of the mineral selenite in sticks

Selenite is a stone of mental and energetic clarity that is associated with the wind, as well as the third eye, crown, and etheric chakras. It is said to cleanse all negative energies and removes blockages from both physical and etheric bodies. 

Selenite is a form of gypsum and much softer than other healing stones you might have in your collection; because of this, it can easily be scratched and should be kept dry.

 

The Story Behind Selenite

 

illustration of Greek moon goddess SeleneSelenite got its name because of its connection with the Moon Goddess, Selene, of Greek Mythology. It was associated with her and powers similar to hers due to its white glow and moon-like nature. 

Selene is an extremely beautiful woman with long hair who wears a crown with a crescent moon on it. She drives her moon chariot across the heavens. Selene has the power to induce sleep and to give light to the night. She also controls time, and like the moon itself, she is ever-changing.

 

Emotional Cleansing & Clarity

 

Selenite’s ability to be a cleanse in all areas of one’s life is spectacular. This crystal should be in every home and workplace.

Use this healing stone when life throws you mixed messages; when you don’t know what step to take next in your work or home life; it starts its healing slowly, first unburdening us by helping us think crystal-clear thoughts.

Selenite helps to dispel confusion, purifies auric fields, eliminates unwanted forces from the home, and promotes a calm mind during meditation. It is thought that Selenite assists us in communication with whatever higher power we seek. It is also used to assist communication with spirit guides. For some, this spiritual communication means deep introspection during times of decision-making and lends itself to help you gain clarity.

It’s a stone that invites you to be open and honest with yourself. Selenite helps us feel liberated by bringing forgiveness to situations that are no longer serving us. Selenite helps us do the emotional work of letting go so that we are able to rise up and embrace our fullest power.

 

Healing With Selenite

 

Selenite stone healing properties are connected with our spine, skin, and even our nails. It is said that it can help to realign our vertebrae, help with nail growth and strengthening, as well as keep our skin healthy, hydrated, and clear.

Since it is connected with the moon, and the moon governs the sign of Cancer, it’s only natural that it is a great help for matters of the heart. Its healing properties are strong when it comes to matters of emotions, and it works to help relieve all kinds of emotional stress, strain, and anxiety.

Selenite works especially well when we wear it on our person or when we keep it close at all times, especially when we go to sleep. It is said that people who suffer from insomnia, night terrors, sleep paralysis, and nightmares have slept better and easier when they have a Selenite beneath their pillow.

 

Cleansing & Charging Selenite

 

A variety of options exist for Selenite cleansing and charging, but there is one caveat:

 

Selenite should never be placed in water unless it is your intention to dissolve it.

 

Selenite does not hold any negative energies and never needs to be charged. You can use this stone to keep the rest of your stone collection charged and free of congested energy. There are bowls, plates, knives, slabs, and wands.

Selenite does not need to be cleansed, but because of its association with the Moon’s energy, many like to give it a boost in the light of a full moon.

Keep a wand of Selenite, along with a stick of Palo Santo near your tarot/oracle/Lenormand cards, especially if you are reading for the public. Clients and others touch the cards and leave residual energies, however, you can keep your cards cleansed and protected just by having these two cleansing pieces on your deck(s) in between readings and when not in use.

Selenite is a universal cleanser. Simply placing your crystals, jewelry, or any objects that need cleansing on a slab will do the trick.

 

Imbolc Wheel of the Year

A minor Pagan holiday, Imbolc falls halfway between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Spring Equinox (Ostara).

 

After months of turning inward, of hibernation & of rest, life is beginning to stir again. Imbolc marks that moment we say goodbye to the harshest days of winter and welcome the light and warmth to come. Daylight is increasing and spring is in the air. While too early for planting gardens, Imbolc was a time to start thinking about what you wanted to plant and harvest in the coming year. Traditionally, Imbolc begins at sundown on February 1st & continues through February 2nd.

In modern-day living, Imbolc is a great time to reflect and think about where you want to go in the coming months.

 

Imbolc History and Meaning

 

Imbolc means “in the belly” and celebrates the pagan Celtic goddess Brigid, who is the goddess of inspiration and creativity, healing, smithcraft, and poetry.

In ancient times, it was celebrated as a time to reaffirm life and start thinking about the coming season.

As Christianity spread from Rome to Northern Europe and the British Isles, Imbolc was adopted as Candlemass and is still celebrated on February 2.

 

 

Imbolc Symbols

 

Deities: Brigid, Aphrodite, Eros, and Hestia

Symbols: candles, cauldron, chalice, cow, sheep, and swan

Colors: White, Red, Pink, and Black

Stones: Amethyst, bloodstone, garnet, onyx, ruby, and turquoise

Foods: Baked goods, winter vegetables, seeds, dried fruit, butter, milk, cheese, lamb, and mutton

Flowers & Plants: Snowdrops, angelica, basil, bay laurel, and celandine

 

imbolc celebrations wheel of the year

Ways to Celebrate

 

If you’re waiting patiently for winter to be over so you can get out into nature again and feel the warm sun on your face, Imbolc marks that moment we say goodbye to the harshest days of winter and welcome the light and warmth to come. Since Imbolc occurs during the post-holiday season, it is a great time to embrace simple celebrations.

  • Host a candlelight dinner for a few of your favorite people
  • Decorate your favorite room with candles in the evening
  • Meditate and journal about the things you want to accomplish in the coming year
  • Invoke Brigid for creative inspiration
  • Craft a Brigid’s Cross
  • Burn some red candles
  • Start planting seedlings indoors for your garden 
  • Take some time to go outside and enjoy the lengthening days and increased sunlight

 

Brightest Imbolc blessings to you!

We at Goddess Elite hope all your plans and dreams come to life and that this year takes you to exciting, powerful places. We have all the tools you need to help you manifest your best life, let us know how we can assist you. 

 

La Befana Italian Epiphany witch

La Befana, known as the ‘Good Witch of Christmas’, is Italy’s most well-known and interesting Christmas character.

 

Who is La Befana?

 

La BefanaIn Italian folklore, La Befana is the old lady who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy. Her name may have come from the festival of Epiphany or even from the Roman goddess, Strina, who presided over the New Year’s gifts.

Another popular fairytale version, the story says that the three Wise Men stopped to get directions and invited the old woman, who resembled a Strega, (a witchy woman), to join them on their journey to bring gifts to Baby Jesus. She initially refused, due to being too busy with housework, but then tried to follow them. Unable to find Jesus, the kind-hearted Befana gave the toys to other children.

Other stories suggest that this folktale may actually date back to the Roman Pagan Festival of Saturnalia, the multiple week festival starting just before the Winter Solstice. At the end of Saturnalia, Romans would go to the Temple of Juno on the Capitoline Hill to have their fortunes read by an old crone. This story most likely evolved into the tale of La Befana.

 

 

La Befana and The Feast of Epiphany

 

The Feast of the Epiphany, an important post-Christmas date on the Christian calendar, is celebrated on January 6 as a national holiday in Italy.

The tradition of La Befana, who arrives on the night before Epiphany, plays a big part in this celebration.

This holiday also marks the end of Christmas festivities in Italy, after which the children go back to school, the adults go back to work, and the Christmas decorations all come down.

The Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the twelfth day of Christmas when the three Wise Men arrived at the manger bearing gifts for Baby Jesus.

 

But for Italian children, it’s the day when they finally get their holiday presents!

 

La Befana arrives on her broomstick during the night of January 5 with toys and sweets for the good children and lumps of coal (usually a sweet candy, like black licorice) for the bad children. 

Children are not allowed to see La Befana because the parents need the children in bed while they put out the gifts, sweep the floors, and drink the wine on the eve of the Feast of Epiphany. 

Normally there are many local festivals throughout Italy celebrating La Befana – however, with Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns currently in effect throughout Italy, there will be none this year. 

 

 

hekates night goddess of witches

Night of Hekate

 

Hekate (also spelled ‘Hecate’) is the Greek Goddess associated with magic, witchcraft, necromancy, the underworld, and childbirth.

 

Hekate's night November 16She is the goddess of the three paths, goddess of the crossroads, both physical and spiritual. As a Triple Goddess, Hekate rules the realms of Earth, Sea, and Sky, the conjunction of past, present, and future, as well as the Moon, Earth, and Underworld.

Hekate is considered by many as the protectress of the oppressed, the marginalized, and witches. As the Goddess of the in-between, the liminal spaces, the boundaries, and the transitional times of life including birth and death, she carries a torch for illumination. This illumination is not just of the dark, but of our personal pathways, especially our shadow side, guiding us through our choices at the crossroads and the path we eventually choose.

Hekate’s time is that of the Dark Moon, the time of release and renewal.

She is also honored on the 30th of each month, at the Dark Moon, and at the beginning of sunset on November 16th (and until sunset the next day) each year, known as The Night of Hekate.

 

Hekate’s Night Ritual

 

Hekate’s ancient devotees held dinners in her honor known as Hekate Suppers.

On Hekate’s Night, food offerings consisting of any of the following that Hekate (and her dogs) love are served:

  • wine
  • honey
  • crescent-shaped bread and pastries
  • eggs
  • garlic
  • fish
  • mushrooms

 

These offerings of food are both consumed by those celebrating and left out by the front door (the “crossroad” between indoors and outdoors, between one’s private space and public spaces) or at a crossroad, on a (perishable) plate or flat stone, as an offering to Hekate as she roamed the Earth by night with her sacred dogs, and to invite her blessings for those who dwell inside.

Make your invocation and petition, this is a good time to ask for her assistance to release something from your life, and then walk away without looking back. Encountering or hearing a dog is an indication that your petition has been heard by Hekate and her sacred dogs.

On this night, it is good to acknowledge Hekate’s strength. Recognize her as the ultimate protector of all realms of existence.