Monday, July 16, 2018

Josephine Wall - Mother of Fantasy Art

shared from original post in La Vie Sirene

I thought to start off this month’s issue with information on Gaia, the Greek goddess considered to be the personification of earth itself.  In searching for Gaia art I was thrilled to find a few breathtaking Gaia images by one of my favorite artists, Josephine Wall.  Her paintings are a perfect example of how pictures can convey more meaning than words could ever hope to.  Or so I thought.  Reading her descriptions of Gaia filled me with as much wonder as her evocative imagery, and I realized no research or historical explanation or new age narrative could better express the concept of Gaia than Josephine’s own brief captions. 

I craved more Jospehineness and was delighted to find an online video interview with her. Upon watching it I was so overcome by her humility and nurturing kindness that I dashed off an email to Josephine asking her if I could send her a few brief interview questions about Gaia.  Her email response was more intimate and meaningful than any interview could be.  I am so humbly grateful to share her words and art with you here today.

~J.S. Devvre
Josephine’s image of choice for both her website banner & Facebook page cover image

Hello Joy,

        So lovely to hear from you, and I am honoured that you want to interview me..!!  I am always amazed that people want to do this, as all I am doing is 'playing' every day, and fulfilling my heartfelt desire to be creative..!!  I am very happy that you like my work, and thank you for your very kind comments.  I will do my best to answer your questions.

Breath of Gaia
“Gaia, the Greek Goddess, is Mother Earth, the bringer of life and beauty.  Where Gaia breathes, she brings new life to a sleeping earth.  Renewal springs forth along Gaia's every path.”
    I am not sure which interview you watched, but I am always an optimistic, and happy person which you seemed to have picked up.  I am never happier than when I am standing in front of my easel with a painting underway, a brush in my hand, and a selection of my favourite colours to choose from.  I do however enjoy time with my family - following my second marriage I now have 5 children and 11 grandchildren which give me great joy.  I also have a source of models beyond my wildest dreams - little ones to put wings on, and to be riding mythical animals such as unicorns..!!  I also love countryside walks ( I find nature a source of inspiration ), dancing and gardening are my other hobbies amongst others.

        I am a great believer in the power of nature, and Gaia as the Earth Mother is symbolic of most of what I hold dear - that there is a power beyond mortal control, and I hope that she will make sure we will take care of our precious planet - the Earth will endure despite man..!!  She hopes that we will learn from our mistakes and repair the damage we have already done.

Sadness of Gaia
“The Earth Goddess looks on sadly, aware that our human weaknesses will mean many years of education to prevent the ruin of our precious world.”
        I am very fortunate to have my own gallery ( a dream come true..!! ) and very often I have young , and not so young artists visit me, sometimes for tips and hints on the techniques I use, but most often for advice on how to take their careers forward.  I always say to them that all you can do is be true to yourself, enjoy every moment of creativity and share your gift with the world - the world needs more artists..!!  I always say that I paint the world as I would like it to be rather than how it is.  As an artist you are able to create images that portray a world of opportunity, optimism and hope for the future.  Our aim should be that when people view our images they are uplifted and transported to a place that gives them peace, and understanding of what is really important in our lives - 'imagination'..!!  It is what has made man so successful as a species.

Light & Peace,

Josephine.

The Presence of Gaia
“As a new dawn approaches Gaia emerges from our sleeping planet. The radiance of her aura lights up the heavens and her 'presence' gives confidence to the birds and animals to venture forth, secure in the knowledge that she will protect them. A river of life flows out to all corners of the earth, renewing and restoring. What greater 'present' could she give us!”

Sunday, July 15, 2018

When Hades smiled

an untitled retelling of the myth by Lyle Dagnen, originally written for the former Siren Lagoon 
and published in La Vie Sirene

Artist unknown
Persephone, goddess of spring, wife of Hades, sat playing with two smooth jewels that her husband had recently given to her. She so loved the fields of yellow jonquils in the spring; the stones were amber. Clear and golden. The cold months on earth had frozen the surface of the planet and it was time for her to return to visit her mother Demeter so that she would bless the earth and make it fruitful once again. When she was first brought to the underworld by her love struck husband she had cried of loneliness and she did not like the dark world. She had thought that her heart might break.

Slowly, day by day, she began to recognize that Hades was remorseful for kidnapping her but that he could no more let her out of his sight than he could shut down the dreary place he lived. The first thing he had ever given her was a pink stone that was the color of the flowers she had worn in her hair when she was captured. It was warm because he had held it closed in his hand. When she touched his hand to pick up the stone, she noticed that the mighty god held his breath, closing his eyes, enjoying the sensation of her touch.

He worked daily to provide tasty morsels for her to eat. She had not eaten a thing since she came to the underworld. Finally, she ate five ruby red seeds of a pomegranate. He smiled. It was such a lovely smile, she began to see the depth of the man that she at first thought she hated.

On earth Demeter was so grief stricken that she did not care for the earth and it had become barren. Zeus, king of all the gods, asked what could be done. Demeter wanted her daughter Persephone back. Zeus went to speak to his brother, but he soon recognized that Hades loved Persephone so much that he would never give her up. Finally it was decided that if she had not eaten anything she could come back to earth. The five seeds seemed to doom her to an everlasting life in the dark world and the earth itself would perish. It was decided that she could spend one month for every seed she had eaten with her mother; the rest of the time was to be spent with Hades. Neither Hades or Demeter particularly liked the bargain; however, they agreed.

As Persephone sat playing with the amber stones she realized that Hades, too, had been thinking about her time on earth. He had walked away rather than sit with her. She had come to know and love this dark, brooding man that was her husband. She loved her time on the surface, but she never regretted when it was time to return to him. She was frustrated because she could not make Hades or Demeter happy.

“Husband” she called as she walked up behind him. “Thank you for the lovely gift.” She placed her hand on his strong back waiting for him to face her.

“Carry them with you,” his deep voice rumbled “Think of me when you are away.” He looked over his shoulder at her.

She smiled up at him. “I always think of you. I miss you while I am away.”

He turned, wrapping her in his mighty arms, holding her as close as he dared. “It tears my heart so when you leave me.”

“I will always come back to you,” she whispered as she kissed him. The dark god gentled at her caress and her touch. 

“Come,” he whispered as his hands held her gently “I'll take you back.” 

Persephone knew deep in her heart that this was a gift he was giving her. He would carry her up the long passage way in his black chariot pulled by four mighty black horses that thundered when they ran.

Persephone held tightly to her husband as they began their journey. As soon as she appeared on the surface, the snow and ice began to melt, spring was on the earth, the growing season at hand.

Demeter was frowning when she saw her son-in-law. For the first time in forever, he did not speak harshly to her. Stepping from the chariot he reached up to lift Persephone to the ground. Before he sent her to her mother, he once again kissed her deeply, pouring all the love he felt for her in his kiss. “I love you, wife” he whispered, which was a gentle roll of thunder.

Persephone, caressed his face. “I love you, husband. I will return to you, my heart already longs for you.” 

Hades smiled.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Raise a Pom for Persephone's Potion

reposted from the original in La Vie Sirene

Persephone's Pomegranate Martini
submitted by her hubby, Hades (Ruler of the Underworld) via Sanndi Thompson of the mortal realm

My soulmate, Persephone makes a mean martini! I am sharing the recipe with you because my beloved is in the Upper world right now, visiting her mother, Demeter since it's Spring. 

Anyway here is the recipe:
  • 1 oz.Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau orange liqueur
  • 3 oz.pomegranate juice
  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker that's 1/4th filled with crushed ice
  2. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass
  3. Garnish with 3 pomegranates seeds


Green Goddess Cafe, serving diving breakfasts & lunches
Goddess Cafe - A weekly hour long Cafe where women and men get together to discuss all things Goddess. Two women walking other's through what they've been through

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Artful Artemis

shared from original la Vie Sirene post

Artist unknown
Artemis was the greek goddess of the hunt, the moon, virginity, childbirth, animals, the wild, and archery. She was the daughter of Zeus, the god of the skies, and Leto, a titaness daughter of Koios and Phoebe. She was almost the exact opposite of her twin brother, Apollo, who was the god of the Sun, truth, healing, music, and poetry. He was very wild and had lots of affairs with other mortals, nymphs, and gods while Artemis was more serious and was a virgin goddess. 

In ancient art Artemis was usually depicted as a girl dressed in a short knee-length chiton and equipped with a hunting bow and quiver of arrows.

Some of the best known myths featuring the goddess include:
  • Her birth, immediately following which she assisted her mother in the birth of her twin brother Apollon;
  • The Trojan War where she was beaten by Hera in an angry contest of the gods;
  • The hunter Aktaion who encountered the goddess whilst she was bathing and was turned into a stag;
  • The Aloadai giants who attempted to storm Olympos but were tricked by Artemis into killing each other;
  • The sacrifice of Iphigeneia whom King Agamemnon offered to her for the passage of the Greek fleet to Troy;
  • The giant Orion, a close companion of the goddess, who was slain by the goddess or her jealous brother;
  • The Kalydonian boar sent by Artemis to ravage Kaldyon;
  • The nymph Kallisto, a companion of Artemis, who was seduced by Zeus in the guise of the goddess.

[sources: GreekMythology.Wikia.com & Theoi.com]

Monday, July 9, 2018

Embracing the New Moon with Lore Raymond

by Lore Raymond
[shared from original la Vie Sirene post]

The New Moon calls on you to energize your dreams into big, BIG and BIGGER! Consider the following ritual to be like taking a MANIFESTATION aerobics class~ but without the huffin’ and puffin’. You are sacredly invited to stretch spiritually and laviesirenely (a new word?!) to don the spiritual mantle of your “inner goddess”. Yes, you heard me. Blasphemous? No way! Because YOU ARE DIVINE. And your inner-goddess job description is to share, serve, and most importantly, to love, bless, and know abundance!

Preparation
  1. What does the word “inner-goddess” conjure up? After you’ve thought about this, and before July 8, find a Greek restaurant and feast there with a goddess friend and chat about your answer! (And there’s no calorie counting this night because Athena, Nike, and Aphrodite never did.)
  2. Explore your closet and drawers for items that make you feel powerful, possible, and peaceful. Look for clothing, shoes, and jewelry that are white and silver. Now’s the time to get blinged out and diafanous! And since Archangel Haniel reflects the sensitive, watery moon energy, use a moonstone to also connect.
  3. Gather up supplies for your New Moon Energy Ritual: a tray-size mirror (see notes below); sparkling water and 2 bottled waters; Epsom salts; natural sponge; white and silver candle(s); matches or a lighting wand; hand held mirror

Create

Create your Inner-Goddess Altar using a mirror; it needs to be flawless, have a sturdy frame the size of a serving tray. (Check out thrift stores for inexpensive finds to be used for future moon rituals.) Using a mirror-tray makes it portable for the outside ceremony, and then inside as a home altar.

A 44-minute Ritual: Clear. Connect. Protect. Celebrate. Close.

Clear…

The Inner: Breathe. Drink Water. Clear you inner heart space with forgiveness work. Ask yourself: Is there anything or anyone I choose to now forgive for my highest goddess? Forgiveness heals and clears out your lower energies, and makes room for new energies to be seeded, the purpose of a New Moon ritual. The Ho ’opono Ono Prayer is a powerful spiritual took to support you. Click here for the Ho’ opono ono Prayer video.

The Outer: 

Step 1: Breathe. Drink Water. Take a purifying moon bath using Epsom /sea salts and a natural sea sponge. Not a bath person? Take a shower or even an outdoor shower. Go swimming. Anoint yourself during and after word with an essence that can be also be used in the cleansing of your sacred space. It’s been said that the scents of lavender, lemon balm and calamus are all associated with the new moon. Choose only one or two scents.

Step 2:  Go outdoors if at all possible for your ritual. “Plan B” would be to find a place indoors without distractions. Then, clear whatever space you’re in using a sage stick or by lighting incense.

Connect: Breathe. Drink water. Ask yourself: What do I seek to manifest in my life right now for my highest goddess? The answers become your intentions for the ritual. With the New Moon looking like a dark, circular chalkboard, she invites you to perhaps: write a new story; to make a new beginning; to ask for a new love; a healing and; a renewed commitment to a previous resolution. It is important to write down your intentions, even a few words because these words support thoughts, which then become things. 

Protect: Breathe. Drink water. Light your white and silver candle. Visualize a ring of powerful women, “goddesses” who have loved you, all surrounding and protecting you. When you have seen them in your mind’s eye and greeted each one with the word “Namaste”, ask each one for a gift to add to the circle of protection. See these “gifts” being symbolically placed on your Inner-goddess Altar. Feel the gathering power of these loving gifts, and the New Moon…her darkness and ancient mystery.
Continue absorbing this energy as you read and say out loud, each one of the goddess affirmations as you look into your hand held mirror:
I AM peace, I AM. I AM possible, I AM. I AM powerful, I AM. I AM potential, I AM.

Celebrate: BreatheDrink some sparkling water. There’s nothing to do. Breathe.

Close: Breathe. Sit in silence. Feel. Allow your mind to wander. Float. Finally, visualize your original protection circle of goddesses transforming as angels, who then float across the night sky, gently disappearing. You will intuitively know when you are complete. Extinguish your candles, saying a prayer in gratitude with each breath. 

How has your Inner-goddess been energized?
Lore is the Founder & Chief Inspirator of Women as Visionaries with Lore Raymond Magazine. Connect with her and share your experience via her magazine and group pages on Facebook:

Women as Visionaries with Lore Raymond Facebook page - like a “spiritual CNN” to empower women through the wisdom of nine gifted contributors; each shares inspiration, information, and resources.

Women as Visionaries Facebook group - a vibrant open space for Divine Dialogue where a daily VisionQuestion is asked.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Athena - from books & for cooks

[reblogged from la Vie Sirene]

In Greek religion and mythologyAthena is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, Minerva is the Roman goddess identified with Athena.
law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill.

Athena is also a shrewd companion of heroes and is the goddess of heroic endeavour. She is the virgin patroness of Athens. The Athenians founded the Parthenon on the Acropolis of her namesake city, Athens (Athena Parthenos), in her honour.

Athena's veneration as the patron of Athens seems to have existed from the earliest times, and was so persistent that archaic myths about her were recast to adapt to cultural changes. The city of Athens and the goddess Athena essentially bear the same name.

The more famous myths featuring the goddess Athena include:
  • Her birth from the head of Zeus, fully-grown and arrayed in arms;
  • Her contest with Poseidon for dominion of Athens in which she produced the first olive tree and he the first horse;
  • The War of the Giants in which she buried Enkelados beneath Mount Etna and made her aigis from the skin of Pallas;
  • The attempted rape of the goddess by Hephaistos, who spilled his seed upon the earth and produced Erikhthonios, who she then adopted as her own;
  • The assisting of Perseus in his quest to slay the Gorgon and the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece;
  • The assisting of Herakles with his twelve labours;
  • The weaving contest with Arakhne who was transformed by the goddess into a spider;
  • The blinding of Teiresias for viewing her naked in the bath;
  • The Judgement of Paris in which she competed with Hera and Aphrodite for the prize of the golden apple;
  • The Trojan War where she sided with the Greeks in battle, but attacked their ships with a storm when they failed to punish Oilean Ajax for violating her Trojan shrine.
[sources: Wikipedia & Theoi.com]

CHICKEN ATHENA

Though courageous Athena was a far warrior’s cry from being what one might call a ‘chicken,’ she sure knew how to cook one.  Here’s the Greek recipe created in her name.  

Ingredients
[sources: TasteOfHome.com]
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), chopped
  • 1/3 cup pitted Greek olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions
  1. Place chicken in a 3-qt. slow cooker. 
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. 
  3. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until a thermometer reads 170°. 

Yield: 6 servings.

Nutritional Facts: 1 chicken breast half equals 237 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat),         94 mg cholesterol, 467 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 36 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges:  4 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Wrestling with Excellence

A timely repost from la Vie Sirene

Going back nearly 2800 years the best athletes in the known world have gathered to compete and prove their skill as Olympians.  The ancient games featured athletic events as well chariot racing and tactical sports such as wrestling and the Greek martial art pankration.  Yet, despite the substantial number of female athletes participating in sports once labeled 
for men only, the respected millennia-old sport of wrestling has seen relatively few women competitors.  U.S. Olympian Kelsey Campbell intends to change that, while earning Olympic gold in the process.  La Vie Sirene is proud to feature the story of this extraordinary athlete and humanitarian.
You have been a major trail blazer in your sport, including being the only female wrestler at your university. How have your challenges improved your performance and vice versa?

I think that the different adversities I faced shaped my appreciation for the sport. Every practice had to mean something because it took everything I had to get to it. The long bus rides, borrowing wrestling shoes, the fundraisers to raise money... And then, you get there and you realize-I represent women's wrestling. I'm this team's only look at what my half of the sport is all about. If I complain, if I slack off, if I quit, that means all women's wrestling do. It was important to me to represent the sport the best I could. I wasn't trying to break barriers-at the time-I was just trying to string two good days together. But then I look back and realize what that did for the sport, but also what it did for me. I don't think I'd honestly be an Olympian today if my journey had taken any other course.

Being an Olympian is something akin to being an astronaut. So few of the world's population will ever have that experience. What was it like? And what did it teach you about yourself?

It changed everything and it changed nothing. Once again, there is a responsibility that comes with the title "Olympian." On the other hand, I'm still me and I still have a lot to attain in this sport. A lot of unfinished business. The difference is, I'm the only one at my weight right now that has gone there and done that. That's it. Everything else is up for grabs. I fought with all my heart to do what I did before, and now I'm digging deeper to do it in 2016, but with a medal to follow. I learned mostly that it doesn't take a super human to be the champion. It takes a human making a decision everyday to put themselves in the best position. It takes humility to learn from those around me that have accomplished what I have not. It taught me that any day can be my day (to God be the glory), but that it may or may not be. I love wrestling. I loved it when I wasn't winning. I loved it when I was winning.

Clearly, you are a woman of faith. How does your spirituality drive your decision-making and your attitude towards competition?

It drives me because my motivation is about pleasing God. Honestly. I feel awesome when I see success and accomplish goals. But there's no fooling myself: I truly believe if God does or doesn't have it in the cards for me to go to Rio, then I won't be there. It's not an excuse or a cop-out. It's the reality of what I believe. But I love God so much that I'll live every day, doing my very best to allow that relationship to drive me. To work the hardest. To do my best. To admit my mistakes. To continue to be a student. To not neglect what the Bible calls me to do in being evangelistic and committed to Godly people. I think that sums it up.

I love that you refer to yourself as a 'music maker.'   What can you tell us about the role of music in your life?

The first thing I ever wanted to do as a young girl was be a famous recording artist. I wanted to write and perform my own music, and choreograph routines for it. I started at a young age and have even recorded some songs. What I have on YouTube is from high school, but that has always been my dream and what I believe to be my true natural "talent."

You've had so many huge moments in life already. Which have meant the most to you and how have they affected you?

Making the Olympic Team, of course. I loved giving that victory to God and to those around me that helped pave the way and create the path. There were many involved in that dream realized. Becoming a Christian was the single most important thing. It changed my life. It changed my heart. I forgave and repented and committed my life to something that would dictate every single decision I would make. Having my Dad at the Olympics to watch me on the biggest physical stage in Sport. There are so many. Meeting Kobe Bryant ;)

One of your various philanthropic pursuits is work with the Big Brother / Big Sister organization. What do you hope to impart to future generations and what draws you to working with kids?
Keep tabs on Kelsey’s quest for Olympic gold 
via her Facebook fan page or website

I literally want to mentor my Little Sister into a woman that is bent on changing the world. I love the hands-on approach of investing real and constant time into an individual. These youths come from situations where every single adult they know has been to jail or is in jail. It doesn't have to be that way for them. I'm incredibly passionate about mentoring youth and would also someday love to start a Foster Care/Orphanage for displaced youth.

What are you looking forward to next?

I am training to be America's first Olympic Gold Medalist. Whatever else happens along the way, I try to be opportunistic. I'm currently completing an internship with eBay, and coaching on various levels from developmental to elite level wrestlers. I'm also looking to once again pursue my performing side. I would love to get into acting and music again. It really is where my heart is at.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Ambrosia - still food of the gods

[reposted from la Vie Sirene]

Narrative recipe from contributor Susan Brooks Fleming

Editor’s note: This healthful take on the classic recipe is notably sans marshmallows or cream, allowing the fruits alone to tempt and satisfy the tastebuds.

Grandmother always prepared a fruit salad call Ambrosia.  Since that is considered what the gods and goddesses dined on, this might be something to share with your readers.

First, there are not specific amounts here.  The number of things you use depends on the size of the bowl you wish to fill.  At Christmas time, Aunt Joyce and I would sit for hours on the 'day before' preparations peeling oranges.

Peel the oranges with a sharp knife so that all of the white stuff is gone.  Section and seed the orange, squeeze the juice after the sections are freed.

If you have chosen to use fresh coconut, which is amazing, crack it, get the white meat out of the layers of shell and grate the coconut.  Depending on how well you like coconut, about half a coconut is what you need.  We always did half because Grandmother prepared coconut cake as well.

Grandmother always used canned pineapple because for so many years a fresh pineapple wasn't available.  The use of canned pineapple (crushed or chunks) removes the need to add sugar to the mixture.

Have pecans and maraschino cherries in side dishes for garnish.  Dad was usually sitting at the dining room table shelling the pecans.

Mix the oranges, pineapple and coconut together.  It's best if made the day before and let to chill and soak the flavors together.  The nuts and cherries are not added because not everyone wants that on the ambrosia.  Once made it's up to the individual how they choose to sweeten or not sweeten the concoction.  This is a real fly by the seat of your pants dish.  

Interesting ambrosia story.  Once when we came back home after the holiday was had a quart jar of ambrosia.  It stayed in the refrigeration long enough to ferment.  My mother and I divided the jar, deciding that it would be a great lunch.  Imagine Dad's surprise when he  found us giggling and slightly drunk in the kitchen.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Hera - goddess of women ... and goddesses

Hera by CG artist Soa Lee
[reposted from original in la Vie Sirene]

Protector of women and marriage, familiar with magic

"Hera is the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function is as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cowlion and the peacock are sacred to her. Hera's mother is Rhea and her father Cronus.
Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the polos (a high cylindrical crown worn by several of the Great Goddesses), Hera may bear a pomegranate in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium poppy. A scholar of Greek mythology Walter Burkert writes in Greek Religion, "Nevertheless, there are memories of an earlier aniconic representation, as a pillar in Argos and as a plank in Samos."
Hera was known for her jealous and vengeful nature, most notably against Zeus's lovers and offspring, but also against mortals who crossed her, such as PeliasParis offended her by choosing Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess, earning Hera's hatred.” [Wikipedia]
Some of the more famous myths featuring the goddess include:--

[sources: Theoi.com, GreekMythology.com & Wikipedia]

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Modern Day Goddess of Living Love

by JS Devivre 
[shared via original post in la Vie Sirene]

I posted a content call asking Siren School students to nominate a woman whom they felt was a modern goddess incarnate. The following is the first response I received, and certainly the most passionate. After reading about the siren in question, I understood what all the fuss was about, and decided to feature her on our cover. If ever there was a goddess of unconditional love, it is Alev Johnson.
"Good morning! I am the siren that nominated Alev Johnson. How can I possibly write about her without making it sound like I'm gushing, or writing a puff piece about a friend? Simply put, I can't. I do know Alev personally and just last night I was thinking that I'm so fortunate to know her because she is one of the most fascinating people I know. Alev is as you stated, gorgeous, but in addition she is also a very intelligent, sophisticated, and classy lady, with delicate and refined taste. She's incredibly sexy, romantic, and sensuous, as well. In addition, she''s creative, funny, kind, caring, down-to-earth, and one of the most dedicated and hardest working mothers I know. These are the obvious adjectives and nouns that describe her—it's hard not to notice these things about her immediately. However, what I love and admire most about this charming and lovely lady is her love and devotion for her daughter. She has been a single parent since her daughter's birth. Alev has made great sacrifices and overcome difficult challenges for her daughter. 
Now her daughter is an intelligent, beautiful, polite, and well-mannered young lady, who is graduating from high school with very high marks and going on to a university of her choice, to study Animal Science because she loves animals and wishes to be a veterinarian. Alev couldn't be prouder of her daughter. When she speaks of her, she literally beams with obvious pride and joy, and of course, she should. This is the most obvious thing about Alev, her love for her daughter, but this wonderful mother has many sides to her and all of them are quite interesting and fascinating. What fascinates and intrigues me most about her is her dancing. She is a belly dancer. She designs and creates her own costumes, as well as her own line of jewelry! This is one ambitious lady. When she's not busy with her daughter's projects, she is in the middle of many of her own projects. She is also a very kind and caring friend, who saves dogs from being put to sleep, always gives simple, yet great advice, and always has a smile and maintains a positive attitude and outlook on life and would like to open a project to assist the homeless population in Long Beach, CA as well as own her own blues lounge someday. And last, what I love most about this beautiful lady is her ability to be soft and vulnerable. In a world that celebrates being tough and harsh, Alev is humble and soft, the sweetest and affectionate, most willing to be vulnerable person I know. This is why I nominate her to be GODDESS." ~Erica
Please note while enjoying Alev's impassioned answers, that English is not even her native language!  Yet another mind-boggling achievement of this living goddess.

Let's start with the toughest question first. Why do you think your friend Erica nominated you to be her choice as the woman she knows who best expresses the term goddess?

She always told me how much she respected me and admired me as a dancer, but also for being a strong individual and a loving mother -- for working hard to make ends meet while raising my daughter to become a sweet, kind, smart and loving young lady :)

Erica mentioned that by far and away the most important thing in your life is your daughter. Based on your appearance I expected you to have a toddler, but I learned she is graduating from high school! What can you tell us about her and the way you've raised her?

Yes, my daughter is my life, my everything! The moment I was pregnant with her, she was my guardian angel and I knew that my life was going to be filled with lots of love from her.

I left her biological father when she was 9 months old and moved with her to the US when she was 4 1/2 years old. I was a very strict mother. I believe that respect, courtesy and manners should be taught to children at a very early age. I taught her to eat with a knife and fork as soon as she could eat on her own, always taught her to respect others, young or old. I always explained to her that she can only get respect by earning it. Always to treat everyone as she would want to be treated. I never mothered her but gave her lots of love, telling her everyday how loved she is, how proud I was and still am, always kissed her good morning and goodnight, and was always honest with her with anything she would ask about.

She wanted to dance at the age of 6, so I enrolled her at a dance studio and she has been dancing ever since. From classical ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern, tap, Flamenco and even Persian dance till age 13. Then we moved from L.A. to Long Beach and she continued dance at the Renaissance Performing Arts HS, which she will graduated from on June 13th as valedictorian!!! And she will be attending UCSB this August! I can't be more proud!!!!

You do so many things: perform belly dance professionally, design costumes, model, sell your own line of custom-made jewelry, advocate for homeless humans and animals alike... not to mention raising a child as a single mother, how do you do it all? 

Before I moved to the US, I was an immigration officer in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. When I moved here, my whole life felt like it collapsed -- culture shock, hard to find work, especially when you have no family or real friends and a little child. But I never gave up and knew i could make ends meet with dignity.

I started working by passing out flyers for a restaurant with my daughter next to me (no one to watch her) which was one of the hardest times in my life. But then I started making friends and spreading the word that I was looking for work. I worked as a hostess, a server, then as an assistant loan officer and as a second job (besides office work), I was working 5 nights as a bellydancer. By that time my daughter was going to school. I would pick her up, make dinner, get her ready for bed, then went off to work at night.

I maintained two fulltime jobs for about a year and a half till I physically burned out. I decided to continue my belly dance profession and quit my day job so I could be there for my daughter, because i barely got to spend time with her. I created my own business cards and started to advertise my dancing and started dancing at private events, restaurants and night clubs. I couldn't afford to buy my costumes so I made them myself including the accessories, and that's how I started my own line of jewelry.

Clearly, all of your activities come from your overflowing heart and creative soul. Are there any projects that you've yearned to take on or experiences you'd like to try?

I love anything creative, from gardening, jewelry/costume making, painting, carpentry, you name it! Love them all! What I would love to do is learn to play the saxophone and travel! I haven't been able to travel and take a vacation in over 7 years and miss it so much! I also have jewelry making with soldering and molds on my wish list, would love to have more options and use my creativity on a higher level.

What do you do in all your 'free' time *wink*? 

Besides all that, I make some time for myself to enjoy the sun, my back yard (I love gardening) and spending quality time with my daughter. In the mornings have my coffee, check my emails, pay bills, take care of my two wonderful dogs, clean the house, run errands and later at night off to work.

Many women face the challenges similar to those you've experienced, but not all have come through them wtih such elan. What advice can you give women who are struggling with challenges?

It wasn't easy, but I feel proud and strong and believe that if I can do it, even without having a college degree, all women and mothers can do it! As long as you set your mind to it and have the will to succeed and love your child more than anything and truly want to raise them by not just feeding, dressing or housing them, but also by teaching them the value of life and that anything we want we need to earn and all is well worth it!

Follow Alev on Twitter
As a mother, what would you like to whare with the generations of women who will follow you? 

For those wonderful women and mothers out there I would like to say:

  • Enjoy everyday, spend as much time with your loved ones and your children as you can
  • Teach your children the value of life and give them the freedom in making there own choices, but guide them through it so there choices are wise. Give them lots of love, praise them when they do good but let them earn the praise
  • Be a full time mother but yet make time for yourself to enjoy what you love to do
  • Know that even when hard times hit you, don’t give up because I do believe that the sun will shine after the rain
  • Have your pride, but allow a helping hand when its handed to you through hard times
  • Believe in yourself and your instincts. They will never fail you!
  • Respect yourself, and allow yourself to make mistakes as long as you learn from them and don’t make the same mistakes
  • And listen to your children and show them that there opinion counts and is respected. Believe it or not, when you respect your children they will respect you back. I always told my daughter to obey my wishes out of respect and not out of fear. That way they trust you in sharing what goes on in their life, mind and heart.

Wishing all the wonderful women out there a blessed and successful life filled with love, joy and peace!!!

When I wrote to Erica to let her know that I'd interviewed Alev and how touching I found her answers, Erica responded with words too heartwarming not to share in conclusion: 
"Alev is all love. She always makes everyone feel so incredibly welcome!! My gosh, I've never experienced so much genuine love and affection from anyone before!! Everytime she sees you, she envelops you as if she hasn't seen you in years when she just saw you a couple of weeks ago!! She gives these wonderful hugs and you always want to keep going back, just to have someone celebrate you that way. Everyone who knows her has nothing but love for her. All she ever speaks of is her pride and joy, her daughter. Once she mentioned that that when her daughter went away to college, she was going to travel. I am very excited for her and keep wondering which will be the very first destination she visits. I hope she goes, although I'll miss her terribly when she does. I hope all her wishes come true."

Monday, July 2, 2018

Did you know there's a good chance you're a goddess?

Embrace your divinity

An encyclopedia full of love

by Greg Spalenka for Roxanna Illuminated Perfume
[shared from original post in la Vie Sirene]

There's so much love in the world, and now we know why. Take a look at this list of love deities courtesy of Wikipedia.

love deity is a deity in mythology associated with sexual lovelust or sexuality. Love deities are common in mythology and may be found in many polytheistic religions.

Albanian folklore 

Armenian mythology 
  • Astghik, goddess of fertility and love

Aztec mythology 
  • Xochiquetzal, goddess of fertility, beauty, female sexual power, protection of young mothers, pregnancy, childbirth, and women's crafts
  • Xochipilli, god of love, art, games, beauty, dance, flowers, maize, fertility, and song
  • Tlazolteotl, goddess of lust, carnality, sexual misdeeds
    • Tiacapan, goddess of sexual passion.
    • Teicu, goddess of sexual appetite.
    • Tlaco, goddess of sexual longing.
    • Xocotzin, goddess of sexual desire.

Buddhism 
  • Aizen Myō-ō or Rāgarāja, a deity who transforms worldly lust into spiritual awakening; his red-skinned appearance represents suppressed lust and passion

Canaanite mythology 
  • Astarte, goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare
  • Qetesh, goddess of love, beauty and sex


Celtic mythology 
  • AineIrish goddess of love, summer, wealth and sovereignty
  • Cliodhna Irish goddess, sometimes identified as a goddess of love and beauty

Chinese mythology 
  • Yue-Lao, a god of love, who binds two people together with an invisible red string.
  • Tu Er Shen, a deity who oversees the love between homosexual men.
  • White Peony (Bai Mudan or Pai Mu-Tan), a goddess who tempts men, especially ascetics.

Egyptian mythology 
  • Bes, god of music, dance, and sexual pleasure
  • Hathor, goddess of the sky, love, beauty, and music
  • Bastet, goddess of felines, love, sexuality, protection, beauty, and dance

Etruscan mythology 
  • Albina, goddess of the dawn and protector of ill-fated lovers
  • Turan, goddess of love and vitality

Greek mythology 
  • Aphrodite, goddess of love, lust and beauty.
  • Philotes, personification of affection, sexual intercourse and friendship.
  • Hera, goddess of marriage.
    • Anteros, god of requited love.
    • Eros, god of love,sexual passion and naughty thoughts.
    • Himeros, god of sexual desire.
    • Hedylogos, god of sweet talk and flattery.
    • Hymen, god of weddings and bawdy wedding songs.
    • Pothos, god of sexual longing, yearning and desire.
  • Peitho, personification of persuasion and seduction.

Guaraní mythology 
  • Kurupi, god of sexuality and fertility

Hindu mythology 
  • Kamadeva or Manmadhan or Kama, god of love
  • Rati, goddess of passion and lust

Lithuanian mythology 
  • Milda, goddess of love and freedom

Mesopotamian mythology 
  • Inanna or Ishtar, goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare

Moroccan mythology 
  • Qandisa, goddess of lust who first seduces men then drives them insane

Norse and Germanic mythology 
  • Frigg, goddess of romance, marriage, sex and reproduction, married women, household duty, and divination.
  • Freyja, goddess associated with magic, shamanism, seiðr, sacrifice, war, death, and sexuality.
  • Freyr, worshipped as a phallic fertility god, he was said to "[bestow] peace and pleasure on mortals"
  • Sjöfn, goddess associated with love


Roman mythology 
  • Cupid, the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Eros
  • Venus, the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Aphrodite
  • Suadela, the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Peitho

Slavic mythology 
  • Dogoda, Polish spirit of the west wind, associated with love and gentleness
  • Dzydzilelya, Polish goddess of love and marriage and of sexuality and fertility
  • Ladafakeloric goddess of harmony, merriment, youth, love and beauty
  • Siebog, god of love and marriage
  • Živa, goddess of love and fertility

Vodou 

Yoruba mythology 
  • Mami Wata, a pantheon of water deities sometimes associated with love and lust
  • Oshun, goddess of love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy