Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Welcoming Our Guest: Kris Waldherr

Welcome to our honored guest blogger today – acclaimed artist and author, Kris Waldherr.

I am so excited that the wonderful artist and author, Kris Waldherr, has generously offered to be my guest writer today. If you aren’t already familiar with the lush beauty of her Goddess Tarot, you need to be!

If our Raleigh-Durham Tarot Meetup is any indication, The Goddess Tarot has some of the most loyal, passionate readers of any deck! I love its rich imagery, and its unique, beautiful symbiosis between the Tarot and Goddess spirituality is deeply healing, in my experience.

Tomorrow I will share a gorgeous video that features The Goddess Tarot, which is now available as “The most beautiful app in the app store™!” But meantime, I invite you to enjoy what Kris has written today, especially for us, as we journey on The Artist’s Way!

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As a long-time fan of The Artist’s Way, I’m thrilled to be posting about Chapter Seven. This section of Julia Cameron’s book encourages us to honor our dreams and talents—an important lesson for artists who seek to heal their creative souls.

Alice Walker has said, “Stories differ from advice in that once you get them, they become a fabric of your whole soul. That is why they heal you.” Along these lines, here are three goddesses from The Goddess Tarot whose stories offer us healing and encouragement as we journey toward greater artistic integrity.

Athena: Athena is probably the first goddess that I felt an intense connection with. I remember reading about her in grade school and loving that she was considered the wisest—and most powerful—of the Greek goddesses. Though Athena is keyed to Justice in The Goddess Tarot due to her ability to wage battle wisely, she was originally worshiped for her creative powers. (I suspect her role in ending the Trojan War may have rebranded her image as a warrior.)

As such, the goddess was honored as Athena Ergane —Athena Workerwoman— and was the patroness of spinning and weaving. She was also associated with the art of architecture.

One of Athena’s most important annual rituals celebrated and encouraged creativity within the community. Every year, the females of Athens would gather together to weave, sew, and embroider a new peplos, or woolen robe, for the statue of the goddess housed in the Parthenon. This richly detailed peplos incorporated scenes from Athena’s myth; it was begun nine months earlier at the Chalkeia, a celebration dedicated to Athena Ergane and Hephaestus, the god of forging.

Lakshmi: Encouraging prosperity in our lives is an intensely creative act. Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess associated with Fortune in The Goddess Tarot, illustrates the truism that wealth can be a reflection of the universe’s innate abundance. What I especially love about Lakshmi is that she encourages us to have it all; she says that it’s okay to enjoy prosperity, to be surrounded by beauty, and enjoy the material world.

As the sacred manifestation of prosperity, Lakshmi is one of the most popular of the Hindu gods and goddesses. She is even depicted upon coins. She is rumored to be fond of “bling”—statues of the goddess show her wearing gold and other precious gems. Some people believe that she lives in the sky with the most beautiful jewels of all, the stars. So when you look to the stars for inspiration, think of Lakshmi up there.

Freyja: My personal credo in life is “create beauty”. This belief informs everything I do as an artist, from books to iPhone apps and beyond. Alas, compared to the pragmatic needs of life—food, shelter, and so on—beauty is often viewed as unnecessary, even a bit suspect. But it is a powerful force of inspiration—how empty would our lives be without beauty!

Freyja, my final goddess featured here, illustrates the power of beauty to create healing and peace. Accordingly, she is associated with Power in The Goddess Tarot.

In Norse mythology, gods and goddesses are divided into two groups, known as the Vanir and the Aesir. The peaceful Vanir grew food from the earth and were worshiped during the agricultural Bronze Age; Freyja was their popular goddess of beauty and love.

Later, during the Iron Age, when human beings developed the first weapons and hunting tools, the combative Aesir were honored. No surprise here: The Aesir brought war into the serene world of the Vanir. But Freyja was able to settle this discord by surrendering herself up to the Aesir in exchange for their halting their battling ways. They readily accepted, thus proving the superiority of beauty over violence.

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  • August 22, 2009, 9:26 pm Debra She Who Seeks

    Great post, thank you! Your comments about Freyja and the relationship between pragmatic needs and beauty remind me of that old socialist IWW women's song "Bread and Roses" — "Hearts starve as well as bodies: give us bread, but give us roses!"

  • August 23, 2009, 12:14 pm Beth Owl's Daughter

    These are such inspiring words! Thank you for that powerful reminder, Debra…

    And thank you to Kris! I am inspired to build an altar in my creative space that has room for these Three.
    My own Goddess Tarot will certainly have a central place of honor, too!
    – Beth

  • August 23, 2009, 1:43 pm Tracie the Red

    I'm afraid I'm going to have to be the voice of dissent here.

    This characterization of the Aesir and Vanir here is entirely too simplistic; I have written a response here if anyone wishes to read it.

  • August 23, 2009, 2:09 pm Beth Owl's Daughter

    Wow! A very powerful response, Tracie.. That is a lot of information. I'm afraid I am not up on the Northern Gods and Goddesses at all so I am at a loss as to how to respond. Clearly, you are VERY knowledgeable and devoted.

    Thank you for your clarification and for sharing your extensive, rich background. I value this kind of information a lot!

    I only wish you would not have projected onto Kris' post your assessment of all that is shallow and wrong with Paganism and that which is "Wiccanesque" ..

    But truly, I am glad you spoke up. You have some very meaty information here about the Heathen histories and stories, and I thank you.

    – Beth

  • August 23, 2009, 6:57 pm Christina Ambrosino

    Great post and lovely site! what a great idea– I am fortunate enough to know Kris–a talented,gifted ,intuitive and caring soul! I was also lucky to have recently took a writing class with Julia Cameron–she was amazing.
    It is inspirational to meet other woman who are so generous of heart and spirit.

  • August 23, 2009, 10:00 pm Raven Odinsdottir

    As a fellow Heathen and daughter of Odin, Tracie has brought up some valid points. I think too, that the point was not so much a direct hit on Kris, but Kris' writings seemed to be the proverbial straw on the camel's back.

    As an Odinsdottir who first started out on the Pagan path as a Wiccan, I can understand the frustration some Heathens are quite vocal about. I know that, unwittingly, I "bastardised" the Gods' characters, lessons and there are just some parts of Asatru one can't and shouldn't "Wiccan-ise".

    Having said all that, I find nowhere in Kris' post is it intentional to be disrespectful or misleading about the Heathen Gods.

    – Raven

  • August 24, 2009, 4:51 am Diane

    As a Scandinavian, I found nothing amiss about Kris' treatment of the Norse goddess. I felt the theme of this post was The Artist's Way and this is how Kris seemed personally inspired by Freyja. Blog posts, by their very nature, are succinct and the Comments section an excellent tool to explore an idea further.

  • August 24, 2009, 8:22 am kriswaldherr

    I would like to respond to some of these comments. First off, I'm appreciative of all those who took a moment to write, and to Beth for inviting me to write about goddesses and The Artist's Way. However, nowhere in my post was meant any disrespect to any aspect of anyone's belief system.

    In the space of a blog post, it's impossible to get into anything deeply detailed about any one belief system, be they Heathen, Hindu, or Greek pantheism. Instead, my intention was to highlight the stories of three goddesses who might inspire those working The Artist's Way.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

  • August 24, 2009, 9:08 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Thank you so much, Kris. You've said it better than I could.

    Last night I had given this a lot more thought, and I had planned to post this morning that the scope here is not to delve into the complex and rich history of these Goddesses, but instead to introduce us to Them with the intention of shedding light on this particular path of discovery and healing.

    I do deeply honor the importance of historical accuracy, and know well that it is needed if we as Witches and Pagans are to be credible, and survive for future generations.

    But what you have so beautifully shared about these Three is illuminating and very important in the context of our work here.

    The bottom line is, I am deeply grateful for your post, because I, for one, have been inspired by it.

    I believe these Three, in the context of Tarot and The Artist's Way offer powerful guidance for us. As an artist, devotion to the service of Wisdom, Abundance, and Beauty through these particular Goddesses resonates deeply. Is this not truth as well?

    So thank you again for sharing your wisdom and insight. It has been a great gift for our Journey.

    – Beth