Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki: The Goddess in the British Mysteries
This article has been gifted to the Fellowship of Isis Central website by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki. It was presented at the FOI London Gathering in May, 2014. Thanks to Maria-Teresa Harmer for this.
The Goddess in The British Mysteries
©2014 Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki
As I stand here and look at this assembly I am aware that I am seeing the Goddess multiplied. She exists within every woman here, and, in a different way even the men because you are “of woman born.”
In the coming lectures and talks today you will hear of many different goddesses, some you will know others may be new to you but all are THE GODDESS. She is the Feminine Power of this planet, and she can be found in the female of every living species. Overall she IS Nature pure and simple. Over thousands of years we have called her by different names, seen her in different traditions, different colours of skin, and represented at the different ages of maiden, wife, and crone.
She is Universal, seen and acknowledged in every part of the world, though in some areas her human vessels are demeaned, looked down on, and even sexually mutilated. Woman has been portrayed as the Enticer, the Whore, the bringer of pain and sorrow to mankind, the one who got us thrown out of paradise. Yet she is also the Giver of Life, the Comforter, and many a man has died in battle with her name upon his lips.
Yes, the Goddess is a power to be reckoned with, revered and adored, but also be aware of her wrath. We have not done a good job of looking after Her physical manifestation of The Earth, or the life forms with whom we share it.
But the premise I want to put before you today is that of the Goddess Within by using some of the lesser-known aspects. How we can explore the way in which we, as women, display Her to others in the way we act, speak, live, and interact with family, friends, and others around us. We as women are each one of us, ambassadors of the Feminine Principal. In every part of our lives we enact some aspect of the Goddess, and that includes both sides of her nature, the dark and the light. We can be the life giving mother, the comforting wife, the wise Elder and we can be the Harlot, the sacred Whore, and the total Bitch. We are the virginal Maid, the Competent Housewife, and the Layer out of the Dead each in turn. No wonder men find us hard to understand.
Like our menfolk we show the four elements within us, We are the life giving Ocean, the fertile, Earth, the sexual fire that entices and seduces, and the siren’s song that calls to the Male Principle and demands the sacrifice of their life giving SEED. The Goddess is all things to all men. But what is She to us, her daughters? How can we present Her to the world, our personal world , the space in which we live, move, and have our being? Can we make of ourselves a mirror, a reflection of Feminine Power to which others can relate ? And if so, how can this be done?
I would suggest that first we must FIND her within ourselves. We can sometimes be so determined to establish an equality with the Male Principle, that we can lose sight of the internal Feminine. We cannot in all truthfulness, show the inner goddess to the outside world unless we know where to find Her within our own psyche. Then we face the sticky question of …What Goddess? Which Goddess? How does one find and name the inner Goddess? There are so many to choose from. I must confess that when faced with this same question I found it an almost impossible task. Then, having rummaged through a seemingly unending supply of books I was brought to a halt by a somewhat exasperated voice from my sub conscious saying…“Go back to the beginning. There is after all a BASIC Feminine Principle from which all others spring. Every aspect is but one facet of the whole, and that whole is the basis, the foundation, the UNITY of them all. Every woman is capable of displaying every facet of that Primal Goddess. The Names given to Her are but verbal symbols of those facets, meaningless by themselves, but meaningful when combined with the action or emotion of the moment.”
Having been firmly put in my place it was then a matter of looking at those facets and matching them with our human emotions and the events in our lives. Because this conference is about the Goddess in Britain I looked among the older Goddess forms of our land, looking for the earliest & least known, as opposed to the usual names and attributions.
Having chosen a selection I began to see how we as women do indeed reflect the Goddess in her many facets in our daily lives. As we do with all God-Forms in many traditions we connect them to various events, objects, seasons, symbols, and types of actions and emotions. We speak of Venus as the Goddess of Love… but relegate the equally beautiful Persephone to being the Goddess of the Dead. Athene is seen as the Goddess of Wisdom but she is also a Battle Goddess…which has always seemed to be a bit paradoxical to me. So I looked again at the names I had selected and started to work out the ways in which we could achieve a personal integration with the goddess by using her names and attributes as key words to unlock these feminine powers within ourselves. They are all ways we know and that we use in our magical work all the time.
Invocation, visualization and the internalisation of symbols. These combined with the use of emotion as the fuel, can make it possible to focus a particular facet of the goddess on any given situation by passing them through the energy centres of the body.
We all know, understand, and use these centres in our magical work. But using them to focus A particular Goddess could prove to be a way of increasing the level of that power. Think of using a magnifying glass glass to focus the suns rays on a piece of paper…..within seconds the paper begins to burn…..because of the increase of power passing through the glass. The power lies in the Focussing of one kind of power to induce another and re-active power, and by combining them we can create a third power, a union of the first two, but with an added power that is purely its ow.
Each centre or chakra is linked to a type of power, or emotion. The head is aligned to wisdom, the 3rd eye to intuition and inner sight, the throat to teaching, speaking, and the power of The Word. The heart is seen as the conduit of love, compassion, and caring, the solar plexus is a centre of energy physical, mental and spiritual. The moon centre is for dreams, sex, and astral work of a magical nature. The foot is where we touch the earth mother blessing Her with every step..
By using these, each centre, as a magnifying glass to focus a particular aspect of the goddess power I think we could reasonably expect to increase its voltage and if it was focused on a situation or an object such as a talisman or used as a healing agent it could become a very powerful tool.
Like all magical tools it is possible that this could be used in an adverse way. This is something we have all been taught to avoid…. And it Harm None Is as important now as it was in ancient times… and probably even more so.
But Seeking new ways to use the gifts we have been given is what growth and evolution is all about. S0, how would it work?? I have spent 50 years looking for ways that would enable us to use our inner powers more effectively so this was like a challenge. Armed with a selection of the most ancient of the British goddesses I have tried to put together a way in which we can harness the dormant power that each one has displayed in the past. I began with Adsulata. She is a very ancient British goddess, and it is thought she originally came from Brittany…little Britain. She was seen then as a Sun goddess in her own right, long before the Celts decided that the Sun was exclusively male. She held rule over Purification and Solar Magic concerning the growth of food plants. One of the ways to purify an object is to place it in sunlight, moving it as the sun moves and making sure it is always in the full force of its light. Therefore the centre we would use to focus it is the Solar plexus. As the warmth of the sun is also concerned with healing and energising we have three ways to use it, To Purify, to Encourage Growth, and to Heal.
Adsulata is virtually unknown, and as no representation of her is extant we have free rein to visualize her as we will. So lets assume she is young, full of energy, fair of skin and hair, smiling and carefree in the early morning and through the day, but growing less so as the sun descends. At night her power is diminished. Her robe is of deep gold silk with slippers to match and a golden circlet holds her hair back from her face. Her symbol can be seen as a solar disk with rays emanating from it embroidered on the front of her robe.
As an invocation we might use the following.
ADSULATA SOLAR MAID,
HEAR OUR PRAYER AND GRANT US AID
PASS TO US THY HEALING POWER
IN THIS TIME AND IN THIS HOUR
GRANT US GRACE THAT WE MAY BE
BLESSED AND HALLOWED THREE TIMES THREE.
This could be chanted as we build her image first in the mind and then drawn down to its place in the Solar Plexus. Once there and held steady we can change the chant to a repetition of her name, drawing on her power as a healer and letting it flow through the image and into the person to be healed or even a picture of the person. Gradually build the feeling of warmth and heat and feel it pulsating as it passes through you. I would estimate this could be held safely for between 3 & 5 minutes and no more. Too much power can destroy instead of healing. However it could be repeated 2/3 times during the day… say, morning, noon, and before sunset. The same sequence can be used to purify an object or even a person …but the chant must be altered to suit the purpose. (third line could be: pass To Us Thy Cleansing Power) Along with the image keep up that inner feeling of heat and growth.
Another Goddess we might use in this way is Coventina, a Scottish Deity described as one of the most potent of river goddesses. Originally out of Gaul she became accepted by the Britanni 400 years BC. She holds rule over many things including Time, New beginnings, Divination, Life cycles, and Inspiration. All of them things that mesh with the idea of Time…the flow and ebb of all things. The few images we have of her shows her reclining on a floating leaf. I think her links with water and the flow of time would make the Moon Centre the point of power here.
She has long dark hair that flows behind her on the water. Her leaf boat drifts along the moon path reflected in the river. As she floats she sings and weaves dreams for lovers. Dreams that involve times, and events, weddings, births, new beginnings and gentle endings. She can be asked for ideas, plans, inspiration for paintings, stories, poems etc.
Her chant might go like this:
GODDESS OF TIME AND DREAMS AND PLANS
WEAVING THEM ALL WITH SILVER HANDS.
HELP ME TO SEE WHAT LIES AHEAD
A WEDDING, NEW LOVE, OR A BIRTHING BED
GRANT ME A VISION THAT I MAY SEE
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR ME.
I emphasise that these spell chants are just things I have made up for this talk… and you can of course substitute your own.
As before you can build either your own image of the goddess or the one I have given you here and draw it down into the moon center. Understand that the more you can do yourself the stronger the effect will be. Imagine the ebb and flow of the river as it obeys the will of the moon and feel that power flowing through your own moon centre having first passed it through the goddess image. As you chant hold in your mind the vision you want, or the plan you have put together maybe you are looking for inspiration or for something to be made clear to you. Her symbol is a leaf floating on water, it acts as a carrier.. so pour the power into the leaf and let it reflect back to you the vision or idea you need.
The whole idea here is to build the image of the goddess behind and above you, with her symbol. Empower the figure with the chant, using the rhythm to call up the required emotional need within you. Channel the goddess power into the selected centre where it is focused by your intent and strengthened by the centers own power, and then directed mentally on to the intent. The sequence follows a well-defined path.
1) Identify the need or intent, 2) select the Goddess aligned to the power needed to bring about your intent, and the spiritual centre to be used as the focusing agent. 3) Fill yourself with the emotion needed to attract the attention of the Goddess. 4) The Chant, repeated and filled with that emotional fuel, 5) draw the power of the Goddess down through her symbol and into the centre. 6) you can either have the intent externalized as an object… a photo, a coin, a drawing or a written statement, OR you can hold the intent as a symbol actually in the centre being used. 7) bathe the intent with the focused power and hold it for several minutes.
I have found that holding it for 2/3 minutes and letting it go, then repeating the sequence 3/4 times through the day is better and more powerful, and less tiring than trying to hold it for 20/30 minutes. The concentration is apt to slip if used for too long a time.
Lets look at the Goddess Druantia. She has been described as the Goddess of the Druids and also as a FIR Goddess. This makes sense as she rules Fertility, passion, sexuality, trees, and creativity. The Fir cone is often used as a sexual symbol partly because of it phallic shape and also because of its ability to open from the tightly closed form to the explosive scattering of its seeds. We might see her as a British version of Venus/Aphrodite.
The moon centre is the obvious choice to receive and hold her power
The Fir cone can be used as a form or she can be seen as a beautiful woman carrying a branch of fir. Her chant might goes as follows
LADY OF PASSION, STAR CROWNED, MOON SHOD
ENCHANTRESS OF THE HORNED GOD.
FILL MY HEART AND FILL MY ARMS
TEACH ME HOW TO USE THY CHARMS
BRING TO ME A LOVER TRUE
THIS IS ALL I ASK OF YOU.
Not the best spell rhyme I can think of but it will do.
The ancient Goddess of the British Isles can offer all the power we need. The very fact that they have not been used or called upon for so long means their power once woken is very strong and easily tapped into. One of my favourites is Ardwinna.
She is described as a woodland and animal Goddess who rides a wild boar. She demands a fine for any animal killed on her land or within her sphere of influence. However she asks for an animal sacrifice on her feast day… but then took the sacrifice to be one of her retinue. She was also seen as the Goddess who granted Familiars, to witches, and to those who looked after her woods she granted the favour of long life.
Scota is a Goddess found mostly in Ireland and Scotland. Described as an Underworld Goddess and often as a Battle Goddess who haunted the battlefields and carried away the souls of dead warriors to a heaven similar to that of the Odinic Valhalla. She can be invoked for courage to face an awkward event, a battle of wills, or to diffuse a situation that could cause tempers to get out of hand. Use the Throat centre here, as “Fair words will often prevail”.
Henwell is a sow Goddess much like her Welsh counterpart Cerridwen. She brought abundance to the land by creating “Litters” of food animals and also of growing things throughout the land. Her power of “Increase” can be used for wealth for something needed, for a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes…However, my advice, to ask for “What is needed, rather than what is wanted… you are more likely to get it.…
Latis was a Goddess of Ale and mead. Evidence of her worship still remains in a place called Birdsowald… but I have not been able to find out more on this. She rules the wheel of the year, the time of Samhain and was invoked to comfort mourners. Use the heart centre here.
Nemetona was the Guardian of sacred places, circles and groves. Her shrine was in Bath, where she was shown seated and attended by three hooded figures, possibly the Fates. If you invoke her she will guard your temple or sacred place from evil. Use the throat centre for this.
These are but a few of the forgotten goddesses of Britain, but though their names may not be spoken so often in our day, they remain in the sub conscious of our race and our land. There they remain until they are awakened to take their place again in our history.
I hope that I have been able to renew their presence if only for a while, but I assure you their power is still as strong and as vital as ever. They are part of our heritage and always will be.
I know how tedious making notes can be… and how easy it is to miss something when trying to write quickly. So I am giving this paper to Caroline and if any of you would like a copy please ask here. All I ask is that if your use it, please respect my copyright…
About the Author: Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki (born on June 11, 1929) is one of the foremost figures in the modern day esoteric community. She is an respected author, psychic and esoteric practitioner. During the 1960s, she and her husband Michael Nowicki joined the Fraternity of the Inner Light, which was founded by Dion Fortune. Dolores worked with Walter Ernest Butler and with Gareth Knight and the Helios Course in Practical Qabalah, which formed the foundation for the Servants of the Light mystery school. She became Director of Studies of the Servants of the Light upon the retirement of W. E. Butler in 1976. She still holds that position today. Her full biography is available on the SOL website at this link: http://www.servantsofthelight.org/aboutSOL/bio-Dolores.html
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