The Goddess Damara
Goddess of the South East on the Wheel of Andraste
Artwork by Willow Wand
The Goddess at Beltane
Meet the Goddess Damara at Beltane
The Wheel of the Year turns and spring gives way to summer as Mayday comes and the fiery Goddess of energy burns brightly with the Beltane fires as She becomes the Goddess of May.
We meet Damara (pronounced ‘duh-MAR-uh’) an ancient Celtic Fertility Goddess of the British Isles, who brings abundance to the fields and fertility to the herd, as well as to the home. Her symbols are unsurprisingly flowers and greenery. For this is such a beautiful time of the year as flowers are abundant, the Earth is vibrant with growth, while the leaves on the trees are now fully formed as their blossoms gladden our hearts.
She brings fertility to the herds in the fields and new calves and foals are being born, for She protects and nurtures them. All new life is now abundant in Her nature.
Damara looks after our homes and all the people that are in them. She brings peace and harmony to families, especially families with children. Within quarrelsome households, Her presence calms and soothes. She will hold you in Her loving embrace as you resolve matters that have been causing strife, urging you to seek solutions. She brings us kindness, expecting us to be kind to others. Hers is a generosity of spirit that She asks us to copy. She is abundant love, a gentle loving Goddess who asks us to maintain our purity and innocence and to keep our sense of wonder and faith in the world around us.
Damara encourages our inner child, asking us to use our imagination as we used to do, urging us to renew our childish love of life, to remember the adventures we had when we were young when the world was waiting to be discovered.
She rules over youth and youthfulness, protecting children and young people, She helps young girls and boys as they approach puberty, Her encompassing love nurturing them as they make their scary journey into adulthood.
Damara is Queen of the Fairies and all Fey folk. She is Lady of May, when the world is fresh and new and Fey folk are about. You might even see fairy rings in the garden at this time.
Bringing in the May is to bring in Damara’s blessings. In English villages on 13th May, known as Garland Day, children welcome the arrival of May by weaving flower garlands and leaving them throughout the village, sometimes leaving them anonymously on people’s doorstops. It was believed that by doing this they will receive the good tidings of Damara with a bountiful harvest. The first variation of Garland Day was in the village of Abbotsbury.
Her colours are, red, pink and green.
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Represent transformation, change and growth. At this time of the year the land is transforming as new life is growing. Many ancient civilisations believed that Butterflies were symbols of the human soul. Irish folklore holds that the Butterfly is associated with the fire of the Gods, so it is appropriate for this time as Beltane means God’s fire.
In almost every part of the world the Dragonfly symbolises change as well as change within; a change of self-realisation both of mental and emotional maturity and an understanding of the deeper meaning of life.
Dragonflies can be seen scurrying across water, representing going beyond what’s on the surface and looking into deeper implications and aspects of life.
A Ladybird brings good luck and if you count the spots you will know how many months or years you will have to wait. There are 46 different species of Ladybirds in the UK. It was named as the 'beetle of our Lady', after the Ladybirds ate the bugs that were destroying crops in Europe in the Middle Ages. In August 2009 hordes of Ladybirds descended on the Norfolk coast.
Collared Doves mate for life, so it is no surprise that they represent love and devotion. They also represent grace, holiness, sacrifice, divinity, and hopefulness. The Dove’s association with love is also of a higher love, a love that is as large as the Goddess, the love that sees into the heart of the pure potential that is revealed by looking into the soul through the eyes of love, an unconditional love, and this is how Damara loves us.
The Dove can be associated with death, being a symbol of the soul’s release from the physical, a sign of its return to the celestial realms. Collared Doves were first found in Norfolk on the 1950s.
Associated with Damara
Sending Gardenias is sending a message of secret love. They are an expression of joy and their white petals symbolise purity, innocence, modesty and sincerity.
Violets are a symbol of constancy of love and fertility. They are associated with journeys to the Otherworld.
Faeries and Fey folk
From now until Midsummer is a time of Faeries and the Fey folk. The growing abundance in the hedgerows and fields create a magickal world for them to live in. These charming little creatures bring out the child in all of us, yet we must treat them carefully and remember to leave them offerings and respect them, for theirs is a powerful magick.
Tansy is sacred to Mary, and associated with immortality and eternal youth. It can be used in spell work for potions for longevity.
The Daisy is associated with purity, innocence and faithful love. The folk name for Daisy is ‘Measure of Love’ coming from the well known custom of pulling off the petals saying, ‘he loves me, he loves me not’.
Meadow Star (aka Eleven-o'clock Lady, Grass Lily, Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, Nap at Noon, Sleepy Dick, Summer Snowflake, Wonder Flower, Dogs Onions)
This British wild flower is native only in the East of England and Europe, but has widely naturalised throughout Britain. It can be found on grassy banks, meadows, open woodland. It is sensitive to levels of sun light, the flowers curl up in their petals if overcast by midday. The beautiful white star shaped flowers appear between April and June. Magickal uses are that it can be used in spells and potions to promote love, fertility, and protection. The perfect flower for Damara at Beltane
Maypoles were erected in village greens, around which young people would dance winding their coloured ribbons. The Maypole would remain until the next Beltane, where the old Maypole would be cut and burned on the Beltane fires. It is a phallic symbol with its base firmly planted within the earth, representing fertilising the Mother.
Sitar and Harp
Both of these instruments are redolent with Fairy music, and appropriate for Damara and the season. Harps have long been associated with Fairies, and were instruments played by Bards in ancient times.
Herbs of Damara
Clover is a herb for Beltane; a four-leaved clover allows you to see Faeries, yet you can use it magickally to ward off mischievous faeries.
It is a plant of the Triple Goddess, a plant of the otherworld, teas and tisanes and allows contact with the wild folk, especially at Beltane as it opens the doorway between the seasons.
Another herb for Beltane, also known as Piss the Bed, Lion’s Teeth, Golden Suns and Clocks and Watches amongst many.
It is associated with Sun’s energies and it is a plant of bright energy and vitality, as this season of Beltane is.
Traditionally, dandelion wine is made on 23rd April, St George’s Day. St. George may be a Christian version of a much earlier deity who overcome the dragon of winter and brought in the summer at Beltane.
Also known as Witches Fingers, Fairy Petticoats, Floppy-dock and Fox Bells, among others. It is associated with Faeries and growing the plant will protect the home and garden. Use in incenses to contact Faeries, providing your intentions are pure. Warning - Foxglove is highly poisonous!
The plant of Beltane, bringing luck when brought into the home on May day, also known as Hagthorn and Moon Flower. It is also associated with Faerie as well as Witches.
Any human sleeping under hawthorn, especially on the eve of May day, would be in danger of being taken by Faeries as Faeries are very protective of the hawthorn. The Celts would punish by death the felling of hawthorn and when it blossomed was their sign that summer had begun. The scent of the flowers is the scent of female sexuality, the sexual flowering of the Goddess.
Sweet Woodruff, Sweetgrass or Musk of the Woods, Woodruff is a plant for Beltane. Carrying leaves bring victory, reward and prosperity.
In Germany the plant is used to make a drink called ‘maibowle’ or May Bowl, traditionally drunk on 1st May.
Woodruff marks the beginning of summer, and was used in garlands and posies during the Beltane festivities. Perhaps we should consider its use in garlands for Garland Day, 13th May. It sweetly scents rooms, bringing joy to the atmosphere and the leaves can be used to ward off moths when placed in wardrobes and linen cupboards.
We all know that the rose is a symbol of love. It also symbolises the sacred marriage of the Goddess and God at Beltane. They speak to us of the divine love of the Lord and Lady.
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Damara is a sweet youthful Goddess of May, innocent and gentle. She brings to families Her love and joyfulness of life. She brings love, deep unconditional love, not only for others, but love for oneself, and as such She is a powerful, strong Goddess, for love is the most powerful and strongest of all emotions. She will never ignore your call for help and understanding, She will always be with you if you need Her.
Copyright © EAGT 2022
Reproduced with kind permission of Michael Taylor