St. Agatha’s Day is February 5 and is a day to honor the Goddesses of Divination and Fortune Telling.
St. Agatha is a Sicilian Saint and Martyr who died in 251. How she became associated with the Goddesses Tyche, Fortuna, and Wyrd is somewhat of a mystery, but there is a long history of syncretizing saints to ancient Goddesses and Gods. I loved the idea of this day, so I added it to the Goddess Calendar. You can read more about St. Agatha here on Wikipedia.
Get your crystal balls out or your favorite decks, divination method, and let’s do some prognostication in honor of St. Agatha and her Goddesses!
TYCHE: Greek Goddess of Fortune and Luck
Tyche is said to be the daughter of Aphrodite and Hermes, or sometimes one of the Oceanids. As the Goddess of Fortune and Luck, she represents both good and not so good fortunes and luck. The Goddess Nemesis is shown in ancient art with Tyche and could be her “flip” side or balancing energy. The Greek Goddess Nemesis is the dispenser, the measurer, of happiness AND unhappiness. Best to stay in good favor with BOTH of these Goddesses as much as possible.
We see Tyche with certain tools indicating her as a Goddess of Fate as well as Fortune. She is sometimes holding a rudder, showing her abilities to guide and conduct human affairs in the material world. We also see her with a ball (early crystal ball?) that reminds us that Fate and Fortune can roll in many different direction. She is also depicted with Pluto, Ploutos, holding a cornucopia of abundance with the gifts of fortune.
Tyche is the Greek Goddess of Luck and her Roman sister is Fortuna.
The ancient Roman Goddess of fortune and luck is Fortuna, sister to Tyche in Greece. Something to remember about our Lady Luck is that she could be good fortune or bad fortune – just like Tyche. She was sometimes depicted as blinded or veiled like Justice. The name Fortuna is rooted in the Latin fero, meaning “to bring, win, receive, or get”.
As the daughter of the God Jupiter, she can bring bounty and prosperity if she smiles on you! As you can imagine, she is/was a very popular Goddess, with many trying to court her favor. Roman Emperors kept their personal Fortuna’s in their sleeping quarters, hoping she would bring good fortune to their reign. In the Greco-Egyptian world, Fortuna was syncretized with Isis as was Tyche.
Anyone with particularly good or bad luck was said to have her or his own “Fortuna.” Fortuna even had Her own oracular shrines. Her symbols include the Wheel of Fate, a sphere representing the World that She rules, the cornucopia of plenty, and a rudder with which She steers Fate. When Fortuna is depicted specifically as Isis Fortuna, She also wears the horns and disk crown of the abundant Egyptian Cow Goddess; thus reuniting the Egyptian symbols of cow and rudder in the figure of the Goddess Isis. ~ M. Isidora Forrest on MotherHouse of the Goddess
As stated above, her symbols were the cornucopia, a rudder, and a wheel – like the Major Arcana, Wheel of Fortune card in the tarot. Her source may have been the Etruscan Goddess of Fate, Nortia, who was winged and Fortuna is sometimes also described as winged. Many of her shrines had oracles and this furthered her role and fortune-telling powers.
WYRD: Anglo-Saxon Goddesses of Fate and Destiny
Most of us have heard of the “weird sisters”, usually referring to the Goddesses of Fate like the Norns. We also see the reference in William Shakespeare with the Wyrd/Weird Sisters being the witches in Macbeth who foretold his future.
“Wyrd” is an Anglo-Saxon concept of fate or destiny. By the time the word makes it to Old English, it was a verb that meant “to pass or become”. From there, it became an adjective that has survived into modern usage as the word “weird”.
SO, Wyrd is not really a Goddess but a concept and representation of the Fates and the Norns – all important to determine our way in this world.
THE FATES – GREEK GODDESS OF DESTINY
“To the Moirai (Fates), Fumigation from Aromatics. Daughters of darkling Nyx (Night), much named, draw near, infinite Moirai, and listen to my prayer; who in the heavenly lake, where waters white burst from a fountain hid in depths of night, and through a dark and stony cavern glide, a cave profound, invisible abide; from whence, wide coursing round the boundless earth, your power extends to those of mortal birth; to men with hope elated, trifling, gay, a race presumptuous, born but to decay. To these acceding, in a purple veil to sense impervious, you yourselves conceal, when in the plain of Moira (Fate) you joyful ride in one great car, with glory for your guide; till all-complete, your heaven appointed round, at justice, hope, and care’s concluding bound, the terms absolved, prescribed by ancient law, of power immense, and just without a flaw. For Moira (Fate) alone with vision unconfined surveys the conduct of the mortal kind. Moira (Fate) is Zeus’ perfect eternal eye, for Zeus and Moira our every deed descry. Come, gentle powers, well born, benignant, famed, Atropos, Lakhesis (Lachesis), and Klotho (Clotho)named; unchanged, aerial, wandering in the night, untamed, invisible to mortal sight; Moirai all-producing, all-destroying, hear, regard the incense and the holy prayer; propitious listen to these rites inclined, and far avert distress, with placid mind.” Homeric Hymn 59 to The Fates (Taylor translation)
The Greek Fates – The Moirae – are the ancient Goddesses of Destiny. No God or human can sway them.
There are three, Clotho (Spinner), Lachesis (Measurer), and Atropos (Inevitable and the one who snipped the thread of the soul). The Fates usually show up when a significant life event has happened or is about to happen. They are not Goddesses to be taken lightly. They influence major life decisions, momentous shifts, and the thresholds of life and death. These Ladies of Destiny also arrive when we have forgotten our destiny. Before birth, when our thread is spun, all of our possibilities and potential are in it.
THE NORNS – NORSE GODDESSES OF DESTINY
The Norns are the Norse Goddesses of Fate and similar in number and function to the Greek Fates. Urd, Verthandi, and Skuld form the triad; they sit beneath the World Tree, Yggdrasil, and spin the threads of destiny and fate for mortals and the gods. They water and prune the tree, helping it stay healthy and green. As the goddesses of time, the Norns represent the past, present, and future.
How will you choose to connect with these potent guiding Goddesses? When you feel “off track”, use divination to reset your course with their blessings!
Happy St. Agatha’s Day and Happy Divining!
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