The Goddess Habondia
Goddess of the South West on the Wheel of Andraste
Reproduced with kind permission of Michael Taylor
The Goddess at Lammas
Meet the Goddess Habondia (Pronounced Hahb-oen-dee’uh)
The hazy, lazy days of summer roll into Lammas. In the hedgerows berries are ripening, apples are ready for picking and the crops are ripe in the fields; the gathering of the harvest begins. The wood pigeons coo lazily in the trees, bees drone from flower to flower, life moves at a gentle sleepy pace. It is a time of abundance, fruitfulness and peaceful joy.
At Lammas we meet the Goddess Habondia. Great Mother Habondia, Goddess of the summer harvest, brings us Her bounty and with this bounty. She brings prosperity of the abundance in the fields at this time of the year.
Dame Habondia asks us to be generous, to share with those less fortunate, to be giving and kind, for She gives freely to us.
This time of the harvest, gratitude and giving extends to the joy and happiness that we find in our homes with our loved ones. Also known as Abondia, Abunciada and Habonde, Her name sounds like ‘abundance’ which She brings at this time of Lammas, around 1st August. She also brings us joy at this glorious time of the year, for we feel happier, contented and full and for this we should be grateful for Her bounty. Her colours are gold and orange.
Habondia was once sacred in every Celtic home. For Dame Habondia is also Goddess of the Hearth and Home, as well as fertility. However, She was called a Witch in Medieval folklore in an attempt to remove Her power from the minds of the rural folk, and so She is known as one of the Queens of the Witches and we can associate Magick with Her.
July 22nd is the Feast of Habondia. It is a celebration of the summer ripeness and the potency of the headiness of the season, perhaps including a sensual and sexual undertone because of the fertile time of the year. It was also a family festival for reunions, gatherings and bonding of the clans and tribes. At this feast of the summer harvest, Habondia’s blessings were called upon the ripe summer fruit and first harvest grains of the season.
Associated with Habondia
Feasting and Ale
After every Pagan ritual we have cakes and ale; the sharing of food and drink is as sacred as the rituals themselves. At harvest time, we share together the bounty of the land that has been gathered. A joyous occasion that is a happy way to honour the Goddess, as well as the fellowship of togetherness.
Magick is all around us. In ancient times people accepted this when surely life was magickal in its mystery too! When Dame Habondia was called Queen of the Witches by those hoping to besmirch Her name, they little realised that She would in fact be worshipped for this.
The Harvest and Cereal Crops
It is very obvious that the harvest is associated with Habondia, but this links with Magic too. For it would have seemed magickal that the seeds grew into corn, barley and wheat, and this provided food, the cereal crops that provide much nourishment.
The cornucopia or Horn of Plenty, is a symbol of abundance, fortune and nourishment, overflowing with produce, flowers or nuts, to this we could include spiritual abundance. It is commonly associated with the harvest. There are many interpretations of its origin; one of which is that the baby Zeus had great strength and unusual abilities and was looked after by His nursemaid who was the goat, Amalthea, known as nourishing Goddess, who fed him Her milk. Zeus accidently broke off one of Her horns which then had the power to provide unending nourishment.
The symbolism of the goat is agility and determination because of its ability to scale mountains. The Billy Goat is a symbol of fertility, virility and vitality, while the female goat is a symbol of nurturing and nourishment.
As we have seen, Zeus was suckled by the Goat Goddess, and from the She-Goat we get the word Nanny, someone we entrust with our children.
Cows and Sheep
Like the goat, these horned and hoofed creatures suckle and nourish their young, just as the Mother Goddess suckles us with love and nourishes us with the goodness of Her land.
Deer and Stags
Scottish and Irish fairy tales tell of women who transform into deer and deer into women. This may be a memory of the Shamanka who donned deerskins as she journeyed in the mystery rites of The Grain Goddess.
The Stag is the most powerful symbol of man’s virility and is appropriate at this fecund time of the year. But in the Stags harem it is the females, the Does, who chose who to take as a lover for they want only the best to sire their offspring. So we respect his power knowing that the Mother is all the more powerful, for she carries life in her belly. She nurtures life in caring for her children. She is the most powerful for She is Love.
Much has been said about the many bees that are dying and how much we depend upon them. They give us their honey and wax, and are little miracles, hard working as well as very skilled in their building of honeycomb and their hives. Bees are found in every continent except Antarctica, and human beekeeping, or apiculture, has been practised for millennia, and since at least the times of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. The food of the Gods is honey, which was, according to Greek myth, discovered by a nymph called Melissa. Bees were also associated with the Delphic Oracle and the prophetess was sometimes called a bee.
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Herbs of Habondia
Also known as Bee Bread and Herb of Courage, Borage has pretty star shaped flowers that are both pink and blue. If you carry the flowers it will bring you courage, aids psychic powers, and gives you strength. Used in incense it invokes the warrior within us, linking us with the male aspects of our personalities.
The Dog Rose is a plant of the Goddess, also known as Wild Briar or Horse Bramble, as well as Pigs Rose, amongst many names. Rose Hip wine is a drink of the season, and the hips are considered to be Her womb. They are rich in vitamin C and highly nutritious.
It is one of the oldest known plants in this country, also known as Finckle, or Seaside, Roman men took it to increase stamina and courage, whilst their ladies took it to keep them thin. It is beneficial when taken with Borage, for purification and protection, and can be used in incense.
Its ancient name is ‘Barebind’ or ‘Barebine’ which links it to barley. It was thought to be a favourite food of goats. If grown in the garden it is said to bring you luck and money. Honeysuckle reflects the flow of life and death, a herb of immortality.
Also known as Witch Herb, Old Man, Mother’s Wort, and Muggins, amongst many. Folklore believes it to be good for ‘women’s troubles’. Mugwort hung over the door acts as a protection charm, and it is believed to have magical properties that will ward off evil and disease. It is said to protect against wild beasts, lightning and poison, and placing a sprig in a shoe prevents tiredness on long journeys.
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Great Mother Habondia nurtures and cares for us. She is the loving, gentle hand that rocks the cradle. Her belly is full of new life, bringing us all the goodness of Her earth.
We give Her gratitude and in return She gives us Her love that is never ending.
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