Thursday, October 30, 2008
From Barbara Walker's "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets." Lily The flower of Lilith, Sumero-Babylonian Goddess of creation; the lilu or "lotus" of her genital magic. The lily often represented the virgin aspect of the Triple Goddess, while the rose represented her maternal aspect. The lily was sacred to Astarte, who was also Lilith; northern Europeans called her Ostara or Eostre, the Goddess of "Easter" lilies.(1) Because of its pagan associations with virgin motherhood, the lily was used to symbolize impregnantion of the virgin Mary. Some authorities claimed the lily in Gabriel's hand filtered God's semen which entered Mary's body through her ear.(2) [Huh?] Mary's cult also inherited the lily of the Blessed Virgin Juno, who conceived her savior-son Mars with her own magic lily, without any male aid.(3) This myth reflected an early belief in the self-fertilizing power of the yoni (vulva), which the lily symbolized and Juno personified. Her name descended from the pre-Roman Uni, a Triple Goddess represented by the three-lobed lily or fleur-de-lis, her name stemming from the Sanskrit yoni, source of the Uni-verse. In 656 A.D., the 10th Council of Toledo officially adopted the holy day of Juno's miraculous conception of Mars into the Christian canon, renaming it the Festival of the Mother of God, or Lady Day, insisting that it commemorated Mary's miraculous conception of Jesus with the aid of a lily.(4) Christian artists showed the angel Gabriel holding out to Mary a scepter surmounted by a fleur-de-lis on a lily stalk. A scroll usually issued from Gabriel's mouth, with the words Ave Maria gratia plena, the seminal "Word," which made Mary "full." Aphrodite's dove, that other yonic symbol, hovered above the scene.(5) Celtic and Gallo-Roman tribes called the virgin mother Lily Maid. Her yonic emblem appeared not only as the French fleu-de-lis but also as the Irish shamrock, which was not originally Irish but a sacred symbol among Indus Valley people some 6000 years before the Christian era. Christianized France identified the Lily Maid with the virgin Mary, but she was never completely dissociated from the pagan image of Juno. Among the people, Lady Day was known as Notre Dame de Mars.(6) The Easter lily was the medieval pas-flower, from Latin passus, to step or pass over, cognate of pascha, the Passover. The lily was also called Pash-flower, Paschal flower, Pasque flower, or Passion flower. Pagans understood that it represented the spring passion of the god, like Heracles, for union in love-death with the Virgin Queen of Heaven, Hera-Hebe, or Juno, or Venus, all of whom claimed the lily. When Hera's milk spurted from her breasts to form the Milky Way, the drops that fell to the ground became lilies.(7) Sometimes, the Easter flower was not a white lily but a scarlet or purple anemone, emblem of Adonis's passion and called identical with his bride Venus.(8) Notes: (1) H. Smith, 201. (2) Simmons, 103. (3) Larousse, 202. (4) Brewster, 146. (5) Cavendish, V.H.H., 68. (6) Brewster, 146. (7) Guthrie, 71. (8) Agrippa, 103.