Barbie and the Heroine’s Journey – Storytelling for Everyone

By Kate Farrell

Wonder why the movie Barbie is a “particular ripple in the universe” as Greta Gerwig, its director, describes it? How did the movie hit deeper than the average chick flick and become a runaway box office success, breaking records worldwide?

Neither its political message of feminism nor its massive brand marketing are adequate explanations for the film’s widespread appeal.

To my discerning eye, Barbie, in its plot, characters, and tropes is the universal story of the heroine’s journey based on ancient folk and fairy tales. Beyond the plastic and tinsel pink, this layer of cultural bedrock persists in the film’s compelling understory.

I’m not alone in finding a mythical layer to this über commercial movie: Others have compared it to the Sumerian myth of Inanna or to the 17th century Milton’s poem, Paradise Lost (a retelling of Genesis). And in a BBC interview, Gerwig revealed that the sources of Barbie include medieval and Renaissance poetry.

Fragments of metaphor and archetypes, cinematic images of pop culture, all create a compelling mosaic that reassembles the shape of the feminine quest. What are those essential elements that draw us in?

To break it down to its most basic element: The feminine quest is all about mothers.

Most of the foundational folk and fairy tales begin with mothers: loving mothers, evil stepmothers, godmothers, magical mother figures, mothers-in-law.

When Barbie stops the dance in the nightly disco and says, “…ever think about dying?” she’s asking what the human mother, Gloria, is feeling. It’s a bleed over from the human world to Barbie Land as the human mother mourns her death or her loss of influence over her teenage daughter, Sasha. Barbie “feels” the mother’s grieving and must find the mother/daughter characters on the human side to resolve it.

It’s almost incredible that the movie begins with the first motif of the heroine’s journey found in most fairy tales: that the “good mother” dies. If you recall “Snow White” or “Cinderella” or “Vasilisa the Brave,” you’ll recognize that losing the loving, birth mother is the first challenge in these stories. And it is the rite of passage for all modern daughters, to separate from their mothers in order to discover their independence.

In the ancient tales of the feminine quest, you’ll also recall the “fairy godmother,” the older, magical mother, or the spiritual mother who appears to assist, mentor, or challenge the heroine. When Barbie meets the real Ruth Handler, the creator of the Barbie doll, on the park bench, she sees her inner beauty and her mother/daughter love—Ruth named Barbie for her daughter. Later, when Barbie meets the “ghost” of Ruth in another dimension, we see the magic of transformation, from doll to living woman, given by the old, ghost mother.

These are but a few parallels of the heroine’s journey found in this blockbuster movie!

Bay Area Writers: To learn how you can incorporate motifs and tropes, characters and plot lines of the heroine’s journey in your creative work, register for my upcoming 2-session workshop!

Mechanics Institute: Writing the Heroine’s Journey with Kate Farrell
Location: Meeting Room, 4th floor, Mechanics’ Institute, 57 Post St., San Francisco

TWO-Session Workshop, On-site
September 23, 2023, Saturday 11:00 – 2:00 pm 
October 7, 2023, Saturday 11:00 am– 1:00 pm
Cost: $40 Member, $50 Non-member, Limited Enrollment
Registration NOW Open! CLICK HERE!

You’ll learn how to use elements of the feminine quest in your journaling or creative writing for any genre—fiction, nonfiction, memoir, poetry and more!

Deconstructing the foundational Greek myth of “Psyche and Eros” as the basis for our discussion and writing, we’ll translate its archaic challenges into those facing modern women.

Hope to see you there, so sign up soon!


Learn more about Kate Farrell and STORY POWER:

Goddess Mokosh – Storytelling for Everyone

Slavic Earth Mother

Mother earth and house spirit, tender of sheep and spinner of fate, Mokosh is the supreme Slavic goddess. The origins of Mokosh as mother earth may date to pre-Indo-European times (6th–5th millennia BCE) when worldwide, woman-centered religions are thought to have existed.

Mokosh in Slavic Mythology

In Slavic mythology, Mokosh, sometimes transliterated as Mokoš and meaning “Friday,” is Moist Mother Earth and thus the most important (or sometimes only) goddess in the religion. As a creator, she is said to have been discovered sleeping in a cave by a flowering spring by the spring god Jarilo, with whom she created the fruits of the earth.

She is also the protector of spinning, tending sheep, and wool, patron of merchants and fishermen, who protects cattle from plague and people from drought, disease, drowning, and unclean spirits.

Appearance and Reputation

Surviving images of Mokosh are rare—although there were stone monuments to her beginning at least as long ago as the 7th century. A wooden cult figure in a wooded area in the Czech Republic is said to be a figure of her. Historical references say she had a large head and long arms, a reference to her connection with spiders and spinning. Symbols associated with her include spindles and cloth, the rhombus, and the Sacred Tree or Pillar.

Role in Mythology

Although the Great Goddess has a variety of consorts, both human and animal, in her role as a primary Slavic goddess, Mokosh is the moist earth goddess and is set against (and married to) Perun as the dry sky god. She is also linked to Veles, in an adulterous manner; and Jarilo, the spring god.

Some Slavic peasants felt it was wrong to spit on the earth or beat it. During the Spring, practitioners considered the earth pregnant: before March 25 (“Lady Day”), they would neither construct a building or a fence, drive a stake into the ground or sow seed. When peasant women gathered herbs they first lay prone and prayed to Mother Earth to bless any medicinal herbs.

Mokosh in Modern Time

With the coming of Christianity into the Slavic countries in the 11th century CE, Mokosh was converted to a saint, St. Paraskeva Pyanitsa (or possibly the Virgin Mary). Described as tall and thin with loose hair, St. Paraskeva Pyanitsa is known as “l’nianisa” (flax woman), connecting her to spinning. She is the patroness of merchants and traders and marriage, and she defends her followers from a range of diseases.

In common with many Indo-European religions (Paraskevi is Friday in modern Greek; Freya = Friday; Venus=Vendredi), Friday is associated with Mokosh and St. Paraskeva Pyanitsa, especially Fridays before important holidays. Her feast day is October 28; and no one may spin, weave, or mend on that day.



Hirst, K. Kris. “Mokosh, Slavic Mother Earth Goddess.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020,


Detelic, Mirjana. “St. Paraskeve in the Balkan Context.” Folklore 121.1 (2010): 94–105.

Dragnea, Mihai. “Slavic and Greek-Roman Mythology, Comparative Mythology.” Brukenthalia: Romanian Cultural History Review 3 (2007): 20–27.

Marjanic, Suzana. “The Dyadic Goddess and Duotheism in Nodilo’s the Ancient Faith of the Serbs and the Croats.” Studia Mythologica Slavica 6 (2003): 181–204.

Matossian, Mary Kilbourne. “In the Beginning, God Was a Woman.” Journal of Social History 6.3 (1973): 325–43.

Monaghan, Patricia. “Encyclopedia of Goddesses & Heroines.” Novato CA: New World Library, 2014.

Zaroff, Roman. “Organized Pagan Cult in Kievan Rus’. The Invention of Foreign Elite or Evolution of Local Tradition?” Studia Mythologica Slavica (1999).

The Pagan Christmas Tree – Storytelling for Everyone

Legend and Lore

Victorian Christmas Tree

The “first decorated indoor tree” was recorded in 1605, in Strasbourg, Germany, decorated with roses, apples, wafers and other sweets. Demand for Christmas trees was so high in the 15th century that laws were passed in Strasbourg cracking down on people cutting pine trees.

For many, it’s unthinkable to celebrate Christmas without a beautiful evergreen fir in the living room decorated with sparkling ornaments and wrapped presents. Like most Christmas traditions, including the celebration of Christmas itself, the origin of the Christmas tree can be traced to pagan traditions. 

In fact, were it not for Queen Victoria, the most powerful monarch of her time, decorated fir trees might have remained an obscure custom that only a couple of Germanic and Slavic countries practiced. Here’s a brief rundown of the Christmas tree’s intriguing history.

Long before Christianity appeared, people in the Northern Hemisphere used evergreen plants to decorate their homes, particularly the doors, to celebrate the Winter Solstice. On December 21 or December 22, the day is the shortest and the night the longest.

Traditionally, this time of the year is seen as the return in strength of the sun goddess (Sól/Sunna/Sunne, the common Sun goddess among the Germanic tribes, from Proto-Germanic Sōwilō, and was chased across the sky in her horse-drawn chariot by a wolf) had been weakened during winter.

The evergreen served as a reminder that the goddess would glow again and summer was to be expected.

The clergy banned these practices from the public life, considering them acts of heathenry. So, some collected evergreen branches or trees and brought them to their homes, in secret.

During these early days of the Christmas tree, many statesmen and members of the clergy condemned their use as a celebration of Christ. Lutheran minister Johann von Dannhauer, for instance, complained that the symbol distracted people from the true evergreen tree, Jesus Christ. 

The English Puritans condemned a number of customs associated with Christmas, such as the use of the Yule log, holly and mistletoe. Oliver Cromwell, the influential 17th-century British politician, preached against the “the heathen traditions” of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated “that sacred event.”


In mild climates, the Christmas rose flowers in winter, which accounts for its common name. This association with the Yuletide season was emphasized by medieval Nativity plays which presented a story similar to one associated with the poinsettia in later years.

The story tells of a young shepherd girl who was tending her family’s flock on Christmas eve. After witnessing the events of that night, she eagerly accompanied the other shepherds to visit the Holy Child. Distraught that she had no gift to offer, the girl began to cry.

An angel had pity on her led the girl outside where the cherub touched the cold ground. Immediately, a Christmas rose appeared and provided the girl with a gift to offer.

Because of this legend, it was long believed that the Christmas rose was a holy flower with mystical powers. It was often planted close to the entrance of a home in the belief that it would prevent evil spirits that might be passing by from entering the house.



Penelope in the Odyssey – Storytelling for Everyone

Greek Myth & Legend

Artist, Dora Wheeler, “Penelope Unraveling Her Work at Night”

Penelope in the Odyssey, the epic poem by Homer, is the faithful wife of Odysseus (or Ulysses for the Romans). Odysseus is the King of Ithaca, and he is the main protagonist in Homer’s poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Odysseus is a warrior in the Trojan War, and the Odyssey covers his return home after many long years.

In the first poem, the Iliad, Odysseus is away at war, fighting against the Trojans for ten long years. However, when he begins his journey home, many odd challenges come upon him, which take him another ten years to finally get back to his home.

The Faithful Wife

Odysseus leaves his wife Penelope of Ithaca and his son, Telemachus on their own and initiates the journey, during which he loses all his crewmates, and arrives on his own. Penelope waited faithfully for his return, as Telemachus had to help her fight against the many suitors who wanted her hand. During the twenty years of her husband being away, a total of 108 suitors came to try and get her to marry them.

Odysseus’ Trials and Fidelity

On his way back from the Trojan War, Odysseus ran into many troubles because of angering Poseidon, the god of the sea. He struggles through storms, capture, and magic. For seven years, he got stuck on an island with Calypso, where she fell in love with him and begged him to make love to her, promising that she would make him her husband.

Some stories say that he gave in, while others say that he remained faithful just as his wife had done. Athena helped him by asking Zeus, the sky god, to stop Poseidon’s anger and letting Odysseus get on his way.

Odysseus found himself with the Phoenicians who eventually delivered him to Ithaca, after he told them his story. While he was away, goddess Athena and his son came looking for him, but the suitors pining for Penelope planned to kill Telemachus on his ship as he returned.

Keeping Those Suitors at Bay

While Odysseus was away, Penelope had 108 suitors clamoring for her hand. However, due to the love she had for her husband, Penelope chose to remain faithful, strongly believing that Odysseus would return home one day.

For this reason, to avoid remarriage, she devised a few tricks keeping the marriages from taking place and from even meeting her suitors.

One of these tactics was to announce that she would marry if only she completed weaving a burial shroud for Odysseus’ father. For three years, she claimed she was weaving it, and so she couldn’t marry. At night, she tore the weaving apart so it had to be woven again.

However, with Athena’s help together with his son, Odysseus makes his escape from the island where he was kept with Calypso. He finally returns home, revealing himself to his recently returned son, and joins one of Penelope’s final competitions for her hand.

Fighting for Love and Finding Proof

Athena disguises Odysseus as a beggar so that Penelope can’t recognize him, as he joins the competition to marry her. The competition is as follows: The man who can string an arrow to Odysseus’ bow and shoot an arrow through twelve ax heads may have her as their wife.

She creates this competition on purpose, knowing it’s impossible for anyone to win except for her husband. Disguised as a beggar, Odysseus is able to see how things are in his household before his full return.

He wants to know if his wife has been faithful to him. He confirms that she has indeed been, and hence he joins the competition, easily stringing the bow and shooting through twelve ax heads.

Once he completes this task, he throws off his disguises, and with the help of his son, kills all 108 suitors. Telemachus even hangs twelve of the housemaids who had betrayed Penelope or had made love to the suitors themselves.

Odysseus reveals himself to Penelope; fearing that it is some type of a scam, she tries out one more trick on him. She tells her lady’s maid to move the bed that she and Odysseus had shared.

Odysseus had carpentered the bed himself, having the knowledge into the matter, he answered that it could not be moved, because one leg was a living olive tree. Penelope is convinced that her husband has finally returned, and they are reunited in happiness at long last.



Lasiren, Haitian Mermaid – Storytelling for Everyone

Fact or Legend

The Haitian mermaid, Lasiren, has a long tradition and plays an important role in the religious Haitian Vodou beliefs to this day. Many Haitian people frequently report on social media platforms like Twitter that they or their relatives saw mermaids in Haiti themselves.

This is fascinating because it demonstrates that the Haitian mermaid tradition is more alive than many other mermaid myths in different parts of the world. Research on mermaids in Haitian culture and their history shows enduring beliefs about the Haitian mermaid Lasiren (also called Lasirn, Lasirènn, La sirène).

The Haitian Mermaid is an Ocean Queen

Haitian mermaids are connected to one specific female Haitian water spirit called Lasiren. In Haitian folklore, Lasiren is the queen of the ocean and the maritime version of the spirits of love and beauty.

This mermaid queen is thought to live in a luxurious palace underwater but also comes to the surface regularly where she can be seen by humans. She is worshipped mainly in the form of a mermaid. Because of this connection to the ocean queen, when a mermaid is sighted in Haiti, it is often thought to be Lasiren.

It is however not quite clear if there are several different mermaids or if it’s all the same mermaid that people see. Some people say, there are actually many mermaids in the waters around Haiti. Some art also suggests that there is more than one by depicting several mermaids.

Lasiren Has Many Looks

Lasiren is known as the beautiful mermaid of Haiti. But there is not one specific description of what she exactly looks like, except that it is often said that she has long black hair. Most often she is depicted as a mermaid with a fishtail. Sometimes she is depicted as a beautiful human woman as well.

Agwé is Lasiren’s consort and the king of the ocean. Besides her consort, Lasiren is also known to have an affair with Ogou, who is the Lwa of war and power. This affair frequently leads to conflicts between the two male Lwas.

She Represents the Divine Feminine

In Haitian mythology, Lasiren represents the three faces of the feminine together with her two sisters Danto and Freda. The three faces of the feminine are mother, lover and goddess. Danto symbolized the calm and strong woman who is under control: the mother. Freda represents the sexy, passionate and temperamental side of the feminine: the lover. Lasiren, as the ocean queen, symbolizes the mystical and spiritual aspect of a woman.

Song to Lasiren

“The mermaid, the whale,
My hat falls into the sea.
I caress the mermaid,
My hat falls into the sea.
I lie down with the mermaid,
My hat falls into the sea.”

The line “my hat falls into the sea” stands for the feeling of getting such a sudden insight from Lasiren because the sea represents intuition and the unconscious. So, it basically means that your head (with hat) suddenly is being pulled into the ocean of intuition by Lasiren. Quite a beautiful way of thinking about insights. This again emphasizes Lasiren’s spiritual powers.

Lasiren’s Mirror Has Special Meaning

Like sirens in Europe, Lasiren also often carries a comb and a mirror, as a sign of vanity that is connected to her beauty. She is sometimes referred to as the Lwa of vanity because she is known to be concerned about her appearance.

But there is also another meaning behind the mirror: It helps to see and understand yourself more clearly because it can represent a sort of portal between the conscious and unconscious world. Thus she also expresses self-love.

The Haitian Mermaid Has Strong Ties to African Water Goddesses

Lasiren came to Haiti with the African people who were forcefully brought by the colonizers of America. She is often described as the Haitian version of the African water spirits Mami Wata or Yemaja.

Both of them share many similarities with Lasiren and are also worshipped as spirits in various parts of Africa and America. What is special about Lasiren is that she has both African as well as European influences.



Alexander, Skye (2012) Mermaids: The Myths, Legends, and Lore.

Cappucci, John (2015) Vodou Encyclopedia: Magic, Ritual, and Religion.

Video about Lasiren by a Haitian: Ted Vodou on Youtube.

Idun, Goddess of Youthfulness – Storytelling for Everyone

Norse Mythology

Idun (pronounced “IH-dune;” from Old Norse Iðunn, “The Rejuvenating One”) is a goddess who belongs to the Aesir tribe of deities. Her role in the pre-Christian mythology and religion of the Norse and other Germanic peoples is unfortunately obscure, but she features prominently in one of the best-known mythological tales.

Lovely and enchanting Idun was a Norse goddess of youthfulness and fertility. She held a key role in the Norse mythos, rejuvenating the gods by giving them magical apples that reversed the effects of aging. She carried her apples in a box made of ash called an eski—along with her fruit, this box served as one of her major symbols.

She was married to Bragi, a skald (bard/poet) who narrated sections of the Lokasenna, of the Poetic Edda, and the Skáldskaparmál of the Prose Edda. The tale of Idun’s abduction by the shapeshifting giant Thjazi remains one of the most famous in Norse mythology:

One day, Odin, Hoenir, and Loki went journeying in the mountainous regions of Asgard. When the hungry travelers happened upon a herd of oxen, they slaughtered one and attempted to cook it.

Every time they tried, however, a talking eagle used magic to prevent the fire from heating the juicy meat. The bird told the gods that if it did not receive its own portion, no one would eat. The gods agreed to share their meal, and the bird flew down to join them.

When the eagle came close enough to touch, Loki seized a branch and attempted to strike it. Loki was too slow, however, and the bird seized the branch (which Loki was still holding onto) in its talons and flew away.

When Loki begged for release, the eagle revealed itself to be the giant Thjazi and demanded that Idun and her magical apples be brought to him. Loki agreed to retrieve her, and the giant-turned-eagle returned him safely to the ground.

When Loki returned home, he lured Idun into a dark forest by telling her it was the location of a rare and precious fruit. Instead of a fruit, however, Idun found Thjazi waiting in his eagle form. The giant seized the young goddess and flew away with her to his home in Jotunheimr.

Without the restorative powers of the apples, the Norse gods withered and grew old: “But the Æsir became straitened at the disappearance of Idunn, and speedily they became hoary and old,” the Skáldskaparmál reads.

Loki was the last god to be seen with Idun, and the gods began to question and threaten him for information. As their threats escalated, Loki told them that if they released him and lent him Freya’s falcon cloak, he would fly away and return with the abducted goddess.

With cloak in hand, Loki flew to Jotunheimr where he found Idun alone in Thjazi’s hall. He transformed her into the shape of a nut and flew away with her. Thjazi quickly discovered Loki’s deception, and pursued the fleeing gods to the gates of Asgard. When the other gods saw Loki returning, they built a massive fire that reached into the heavens.

Loki veered away from the fire at the last moment, but Thjazi was not so lucky. The giant eagle hurtled into the inferno before crashing into the ground as little more than a burning husk.

“Then the Æsir were near at hand and slew Thjazi the giant within the Gate of the Æsir, and that slaying is exceeding famous.”



By Thomas Apel

Illustration by James Doyle Penrose, 1890

Author adminPosted on July 12, 2023July 12, 2023Categories Folktales, Legends, MythTags abduction, Germanic, goddess, magical apples, Norse, shape shifting, youthfulness

Goddess Demeter – Storytelling for Everyone

Greek Mythology

Demeter appeared most commonly as a grain goddess. The name Ioulo (from ioulos, “grain sheaf”) has been regarded as identifying her with the sheaf and as proving that the cult of Demeter originated in the worship of the grain mother.

Demeter, in Greek religion, daughter of the deities Cronus and Rhea, sister and consort of Zeus (the king of the gods), and goddess of agriculture. Her name indicates that she is a mother.

Demeter is rarely mentioned by Homer, nor is she included among the Olympian gods, but the roots of her legend are probably ancient. The legend centers on the story of her daughter Persephone, who is carried off by Hades, the god of the underworld. Demeter goes in search of Persephone and, during her journey, reveals her secret rites to the people of Eleusis, who had hospitably received her (see Eleusinian Mysteries).

Another important aspect of Demeter was that of a divinity of the underworld; she was worshiped as such at Sparta, and especially at the festival of Chthonia at Hermione in Argolis, where a cow was sacrificed by four old women.

The epithets Erinys (“Avenger”) and Melaina (“the Black One”) as applied to Demeter were localized in Arcadia and stress the darker side of her character.

Demeter also appeared as a goddess of health, birth, and marriage. A certain number of political and ethnic titles were assigned to her, the most important being Amphiktyonis, as patron goddess of the Amphictyonic League, subsequently well known in connection with the temple at Delphi.

Among the agrarian festivals held in honour of Demeter were the following: Haloa, apparently derived from halōs (“threshing floor”), begun at Athens and finished at Eleusis, where there was a threshing floor of Triptolemus, her first priest and inventor of agriculture; it was held in the month Poseideon (December).

Chloia, the festival of the grain beginning to sprout, held at Eleusis in the early spring (Anthesterion) in honour of Demeter Chloë (“the Green”), the goddess of growing vegetation.

Proerosia, at which prayers were offered for an  abundant harvest, before the land was plowed for sowing. It was also called Proarktouria, an indication that it was held before the rising of Arcturus. The festival took place, probably sometime in September, at Eleusis.  

Thalysia, a thanksgiving festival held in autumn after the harvest in the island of Cos. The Thesmophoria, a women’s festival meant to improve the fruitfulness of the seed grain. The Skirophoria held in midsummer, a companion festival.

Her attributes were connected chiefly with her character as goddess of agriculture and vegetation—ears of grain, the mystic basket filled with flowers, grain, and fruit of all kinds. The pig was her favourite animal, and as a chthonian (underworld) deity she was accompanied by a snake.

In Greek art Demeter resembled Hera, but she was more matronly and of milder expression; her form was broader and fuller. She was sometimes riding in a chariot drawn by horses or dragons, sometimes walking, or sometimes seated upon a throne, alone or with her daughter.

The Romans identified Demeter with Ceres.



Author adminPosted on July 11, 2022Categories Legends, Myth, Nature, SeasonsTags Ceres, Eleusinian Mysteries, grain, greek, harvest, mythology, Persephone, wheat

Mabon—Autumn Equinox – Storytelling for Everyone

Welsh Mythology

This festival is named after the God of Welsh mythology, Mabon. He is the Child of Light and the son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron.

Here is another point of perfect balance on the journey through the Wheel of the Year, its counterpart being Ostara or the Spring Equinox. Night and day are again of equal length and in perfect equilibrium – dark and light, masculine and feminine, inner and outer, in balance. But we are again on the cusp of transition and from now the year now begins to wane and from this moment darkness begins to defeat the light. 

The cycle of the natural world is moving towards completion, the Sun’s power is waning and from now on the nights grow longer and the days are are shorter and cooler. The sap of trees returns back to their roots deep in the earth, changing the green of summer to the fire of autumn, to the flaming reds, oranges and golds. We are returning to the dark from whence we came.

This is the Second Harvest, the Fruit Harvest and the Great Feast of Thanksgiving. The Goddess is radiant as Harvest Queen and the God finally dies with His gift of pure love with the cutting of the last grain. He will return. As the grain harvest is safely gathered in from Lammas and reaches completion, we enjoy the abundance of fruit and vegetables at this time. It is time to thank the waning Sun for the wealth of harvest bestowed upon us. It sometimes seems that each Festival requires the making of celebration and the giving of thanks, but this really is so, each turn of the Wheel brings both inner and outer gifts and insights.

So, Mabon is a celebration and also a time of rest after the labour of harvest. In terms of life path it is the moment of reaping what you have sown, time to look at the hopes and aspirations of Imbolc and Ostara and reflect on how they have manifested. It is time to complete projects, to clear out and let go that which is no longer wanted or needed as we prepare for descent, so that the winter can offer a time for reflection and peace. And it is time to plant seeds of new ideas and hopes which will lie dormant but nourished in the dark, until the return of Spring.

Symbols & Rituals of Mabon

The Cornucopia
The Cornucopia, or Horn of Plenty, is a traditional symbol for Mabon. It is a wonderful symbol for the wealth of harvest and is beautifully balanced symbol which is both male (phallic) and female (hollow and receptive)

The Apple
The apple is the symbol of the Fruit Harvest. The apple figures significantly in many sacred traditions. It is a symbol for life and immortality, for healing, renewal, regeneration and wholeness. It is associated with beauty, long life and restored youth. The Ogham name for apple is Quert and Quert is the epitome of health and vitality. The apple is at the heart of the Ogham grove and is the source of life.

For Pagans, the apple contains a ‘secret’: Cut an apple width ways and it reveals a pentagram containing seeds. It is a much loved symbol of Paganism. The five points represent the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water with Spirit at the top, and thus also the directions of East, South, West, North and Within.

A circle around the pentagram represents the eternal circle/cycle of life and nature, and of wholeness. In ritual and ceremony the pentacle corresponds to the element of Earth. It is believed to be a protection against evil for both the person and the home, worn as an amulet or used to guard entrances to the home through windows and doors.

Colours of Mabon
From green to red, orange, yellow, brown and gold.

The Mabon Altar
Your altar should be dressed in the very best produce you can find from field, forest and market, from garden and the wild. Apples, pears, damsons, sloes, rose hips, elderberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries, the possibilities are large. If you collect from the wild, be not greedy – always leave plenty of fruit and berries for the birds and wee creatures.

Make an outdoor shrine for the nature spirits in thanks for the bounty they help to provide. Leave one of each flower, fruit and vegetable that you have, as a gift.

Great Feast of Thanksgiving

Celebrate with a feast for friends and family using as much fruit & veg, locally grown, as you can.

Go Walking
Go for a walk and collect as much of nature’s wild abundance as you can, while respecting the need to leave enough for everyone else including the nature spirits. You will find wild damsons, sloes, rosehips, elderberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries and more. Remember the fruit is the carrier of the precious seed.

Clear Out and Complete
We think of Spring as the time to clear out but now is the perfect time to complete unfinished projects and clear your home of unwanted stuff. Prepare to hibernate.

Plant Bulbs
This is an excellent time to plant tree seeds and shrubs.They have all of winter in the darkness to establish and germinate. Plant bulbs which will hide in the earth until early Spring beckons. Make each one a hope, idea or aspiration for Spring and wait until their little green buds show above ground – to remind you.


Eostre, Germanic Goddess – Storytelling for Everyone

Easter Lore

Art by Helena Nelson-Reed

Ostara, or Eostre or Eastre, is the Germanic Goddess of spring and dawn. She is only mentioned once in scholarly writings of the period: Bede the monk states that during Eostremonath (the old Anglo-Saxon names for April), the pagan Anglo-Saxons help festivals in her honor. Two hundred years later in Germany, in his Life of Charlemagne, a monk named Einhard gives the old name for April as Ostaramonath.

The goddess is also mentioned in a number of inscriptions in Germany, and the modern holiday of Easter—originally the name for the spring Equinox, but later subsumed to the Paschal calendar for the Christian resurrection holiday—is named for her.

The name “Eostre” (Old Germanic “Ostara”), is related to that of Eos, the Greek goddess of dawn, and both can be traced back to a Proto-Indo-European goddess of dawn, thousands of years ago.

Her truth, however, is evident every year. She is the first warm spring winds, the birds that return, the trees that bud and curl forth leaves and flowers. She is the awakening earth, rabbits and hares, the eggs that appear after a winter of no light.

City folk may not know that chickens who are kept in natural lighting quit laying in the winter, when the days are short, and begin again as the days lengthen. March/April is their peak time of year, and those eggs were a valued and welcome protein source for our winter-starved ancestors. Ostara’s legacy is in all those colored eggs which many of us still hang on trees every year.

Jakob Grimm, in his Teutonic Mythology, maintained that “Ostara, Eástre, was goddess of the growing light of spring.” Holy water in the form of the dew, or water collected from brooks, was gathered at this time; washing with it was said to restore youth. Beautiful maidens in sheer white were said to seen frolicking in the country side.

Ostara is usually depicted as a young maiden. As Ember Cooke writes, “…old enough to bear children, but not a mother.” She is wreathed in flowers or new greenery, and often dances. She is often joyous, but can just as easily turn suddenly solemn, like the spring weather that can quickly turn to rain. Like Spring itself, she is capricious, innocent and knowing by turns.

Ostara gives the gift of newness, which is especially important for those of us who are old and cynical in spirit. If you have lost hope over the winter, ask her for a new infusion of it. If you have lost sight of the goal, ask her for fresh eyes to look upon the problem anew.

If you are tired of the world, ask her to show you the small joys that are still around every corner, in every field of flowers that stubbornly make their way up from the earth.

In Celtic tradition, the hare is sacred to the Goddess and is the totem animal of lunar goddesses such as Hecate, Freyja and Holda, since the hare is a symbol for the moon. The Goddess most closely associated with the hare is Eostre, or Ostara. The date of the Christian Easter is determined by the phase of the moon. The nocturnal hare, so closely associated with the moon which dies every morning and is resurrected every evening, also represents the rebirth of nature in Spring.

Over the centuries the symbol of the hare at Ostara has become the Easter Bunny who brings eggs to children on Easter morning, the Christian day of rebirth and resurrection. Hare hunting was taboo, but because the date of Easter is determined by the moon together with the hare’s strong lunar associations, hare-hunting was a common Easter activity in England.



Author adminPosted on April 2, 2021Categories Legends, MythTags Celtic, Easter, Germanic

Jade Rabbit – Storytelling for Everyone

Chinese Legend

Cute, fluffy, and white, the Jade Rabbit is no ordinary bunny. Calling the moon its home, the Jade Rabbit is a mystical and enchanting East Asian legend. When the bunny isn’t busy making immortality elixirs, it keeps the beautiful goddess Chang’e company in the Moon Palace.

In East Asia, the Jade Rabbit is a widespread cultural symbol, and the various legends associated with this Eastern bunny differ from country to country. This is how one Chinese legend, an ancient Buddhist story, goes:

The Jade Emperor disguised himself into a poor, starving old man and begged for food from monkey, otter, jackal, and rabbit. Monkey gathered fruit from the trees, and otter gathered fish from the river. Jackal stole a lizard and a pot of milk curds.

Rabbit though, could only gather grass. Knowing well enough that grass can’t be offered as food to humans, rabbit decided to offer its own body, sacrificing itself in the fire the man had started. Somehow, though, rabbit wasn’t burned.

The old man suddenly revealed himself to be the great Jade Emperor! Touched deeply by rabbit’s selfless sacrifice, he sent it to the moon to become the immortal Jade Rabbit. There, it finds the Jade Rabbit busy at work—pounding herbal medicine into magical elixir with its mortar and pestle.

It is said that if you look up at the moon, you can see an outline of the Jade Rabbit pounding with a pestle. More than just cute, fluffy, and white, the Jade Rabbit is a sign of selflessness, piety, and sacrifice.

Maybe that’s why the Jade Rabbit is on the moon—so that no matter where we are on Earth, we always have the bright symbol of righteousness and self-sacrifice to look up to.

The next time you look up at the moon, recall the Jade Rabbit who has nothing to give but himself—for others.



Note: Ancient China was a land where gods and mortals lived in tandem and created a divinely inspired culture. And so it was that early Chinese history and mythology are wholly intertwined. Our new “Mythistory” series introduces you to the main characters of the marvelous legends of China.

Author adminPosted on January 25, 2023January 25, 2023Categories Animal, Fables, Legends, Myth, NatureTags Asian, Buddhism, East Asian, moon, rabbit, sacrifice