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Chthonia

English, Religion, 1 season, 147 episodes, 5 days, 11 hours, 38 minutes
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Explore the world of the Dark Feminine in myth, religion, folklore, and magic.
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Durga: Creator and Destroyer of Difficulties

Website: https://chthonia.netPublications: https://chthonia.net/publicationsMerch: https://https://chthoniapodcast.creator-spring.com/Patreon: https://patreon.com/chthoniaThis week, we take a look at Goddess Durga. It is strange that I have covered almost every other major Shakti figure on this podcast, but have not done an episode on the star of the Devi Mahatmayam, Durga herself. Beholden to no one, Durga is a warrior called in when she is invited to battle the draining forces of greed and power. We look at the paradox of a goddess who represents both the causes of our violent and angry impulses and also the remedy to those same impulses. 
7/8/202447 minutes, 5 seconds
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The Banshee: The Magic of Ancient Lamentations

Website: https://chthonia.netPatreon: https://patreon.com/chthoniaSocial media: chthoniapodcast (IG, X, and YouTube), Chthonia Podcast (FB)This week's podcast looks at the Banshee, a Celtic/Gaelic female phantom fairy figure that is heard and sometimes seen weeping and wailing to portend the death of a member of an ancient Irish family. Is the Banshee an omen, a guardian spirit, or both? We look at the elements of Banshee lore and the art of keening and lamenting at funerals, comparing Irish funerary practice to that of ancient Greece. 
6/24/20241 hour, 7 minutes, 21 seconds
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Sheela Na Gig: Symbol of Fertility or a Warning?

Website: https://chthonia.netBuy Project Lethe and other books at https://chthonia.net/publicationsPatreon: https://patreon.com/chthoniaSocial media: chthoniapodcast (IG, YouTube, X), Chthonia Podcast (FB)This week we look at the architectural grotesque figure known as the Sheela Na Gig. No one really knows why they were placed on churches, castles, and other secular buildings, but academics have many theories. They seem to originate on the European continent, with later appearances in Ireland and the UK. The lewd image recalls Greek portrayals of Baubo, and the key to understanding these figures might lie in the power of anasyrma (skirt-lifting) to avert evil. But no one really knows!
6/9/20241 hour, 45 seconds
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The Harpies: Chthonic Heralds of Famine

In this week's episode we discuss the Harpies, creatures with the head of a woman and the body of a monstrous bird that represent storm winds. This episode was created in the wake of a huge storm that knocked my power out for 2 days, so there's discussion of the impact of storms, unpredictability, and sudden change. The name refers to "snatching", and in the myths this refers to the snatching of food, of children--and of souls. Website: https://chthonia.netPatreon: https://patreon.com/chthoniaMerch: https://chthoniapodcast.creator-spring.com/Social media: chthoniapodcast
5/26/202458 minutes, 7 seconds
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La Llorona: Wailing Women and Betrayal of the Feminine

This week we look at the Mexican folkloric figure of La Llorona, the wailing woman eternally searching for her dead children. She is generally seen as a dangerous figure who is alternately a child stealer, someone seducing men to their deaths, or an omen of death. While the image of La Llorona may have its roots in Aztec myth, her story is very much a variant of the European "White Lady" narrative. We explore similarities to myths about the Sirens, the Banshee, the Lamia, and even Macha of Ulster. We also look at keening or wailing as a funerary art. Ultimately the various stories of La Llorona represent a betrayal or misuse of primal Feminine power. Website: https://chthonia.netPatreon: https://patreon.com/chthoniaSocial media: chthoniapodcast (X, IG, and YouTube), Chthonia Podcast (FB)
5/12/202458 minutes, 24 seconds
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Agdistis: the Root of Masculine and Feminine Separation

This week's topic is a loaded one! Agdistis is a Phrygian hermaphroditic daimon that is so powerful the gods fear them, and Agdistis is castrated and becomes female only, with the discarded member becoming either an almond or pomegranate tree. This myth and it's related ones (Myrrha/Adonis/Aphrodite, Gaia/Ouranos/Kronos) give us a lot of insight into why the uniting of Masculine and Feminine is considered so threatening, our culture feels the need to enforce the separation of the sexes biologically and psychologically. We also look at Agdistis' connection to Kybele, the origin of the term "hermaphrodite," and the theme of Masculine and Feminine merging as Sky and Earth. 
4/28/20241 hour, 6 minutes, 57 seconds
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Queen Medb (Maeve): the Threat of Female Sovereignty

In this week's episode we look at Queen Medb of Connacht in Ireland, who was legendary for her seductive power, her warlike nature, and her political power among the High Kings. Notorious for having several lovers in addition to whoever was her current husband, Medb was a kingmaker and a heromaker. Her desire to have wealth equal to her husband drove her to the destructive Cattle Raid of Cúailnge (Cooley), and she is frequently portrayed as as manipulative and promiscuous in medieval literature. We take a particular look at the question of whether Medb was a sovereignty goddess or a real legendary queen, her hatred of her first husband Conchobar mac Nessa, ancient Irish rites of sovereignty, and her connection to the trio of goddesses called Morrigan. 
4/14/20241 hour, 9 minutes, 38 seconds
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The Fates: Moirai, Keres, Norns, and Spirits of Destiny

Check out the Divine Feminine App! Click at the link below to view and register for free, or download the app on your phone. https://thedfapp.com/v2/dashboard#a_aid=ChthoniaWebsite: https://chthonia.netPatreon: https://patreon.com/chthoniaSocial media: chthoniapodcast (IG, X, and YouTube), Chthonia Podcast (FB)As March closes out, we look at the idea of Fate. In mythology Fate is often represented as three women who spin the thread of life, measure it, and then cut it at the time of death. This podcast is an overview of the subject, looking at the relationship between fate and free will, the function of time and reason with regard to fate, and specific mythologies of Fate including the Greek Moirai, the Keres (Spirits of Doom and Violent Death) and the Nordic Norns. 
3/31/20241 hour, 1 minute, 47 seconds
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Julian of Norwich: God the Mother Theology

Check out the Divine Feminine App! Click at the link below to view and register for free, or download the app on your phone. https://thedfapp.com/v2/dashboard#a_aid=ChthoniaWebsite: https://chthonia.netPatreon: https://patreon.com/chthoniaSocial media: chthoniapodcast (IG, X, and YouTube), Chthonia Podcast (FB)This week we look at the final entry for now in the Female Christian Mystics series, the medieval anchorite Julian of Norwich. We don't know if her actual name was Julian, or very much else about her personal life. Some scholars believe that she wasn't even a nun, but a widowed mother who lost her family during the Great Plague and subsequently took anchorite vows. What we have is her book of Sixteen Divine Revelations, in which she describes sixteen visions of Christ that she had over two days. In this book and a subsequent interpretation, she lays out a mystical theology of Christ as Mother, and a theology of divine Love in the Via Negativa tradition of mysticism that challenges the theology of a broken creation that needs fixing. 
3/17/202453 minutes, 37 seconds
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Hildegard of Bingen: Doctrine of the Divine Feminine in Nature

Check out the Divine Feminine App!https://thedfapp.com/v2/dashboard#a_aid=ChthoniaThis week we continue the series on Female Christian Mystics with the polymath saint Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard began having spiritual visions at age 3, and was in a convent by age 8, where she was taught to read and write in Latin. She was an acclaimed mystic, philosopher, botanist, natural healer, and musician. She invented her own language and alphabet called Lingua Ignota. Hildegard's mystical revelations included the idea that nature was not imperfect, but a manifestation of God as Divine Feminine in our world. She was urged to write down her visions, though she also conveyed her experience through music, believing that celestial song existed "before Eden". We look at the traits of this remarkable medieval woman, her fierce independence with respect to Church authorities, and what her experiences say about female mystical experiences. Links:Music (chant with Lingua Ignota)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua4C2mzWfNQLingua Ignota:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingua_ignota
3/3/202459 minutes, 49 seconds
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Whats War Got to Do With It? : Love Goddesses and the Dark Feminine

In honor of Valentine's Day this past week, this podcast takes a look at 4 goddesses of love and desire: Aphrodite, Ishtar, Freya, and Rati. Love goddesses are often war goddesses as well, or at least have strong connections to war--why is that the case? We look at different ideas about love, marriage, and relationship, and examine how the rati-yuddha (love battle) is just as much a part of romantic relationships as the more pleasant associations.
2/18/20241 hour, 13 minutes, 40 seconds
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Brigid: Fiery Goddess of the Celts

In this week's podcast we look at my namesake, the goddess Brigid, as we have just passed Imbolc (also known as Brigid's Day). This episode focuses on the goddess rather than the saint, though there are obvious crossovers between the two. Brigid is portrayed as a triple goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing,and is seen as a fire goddess. In the medieval Irish literature she is portrayed as the wife of the half-Fomorian Bres, and brings the art of keening to Ireland while mourning her son at the second battle of Maige Tuired (Moytura). Brigid is a goddess of Spring, but also has strong connections to warfare, and has a lot in common with her sister (or mother?) goddess, the Morrigan.
2/4/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 1 second
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Catherine of Siena: a Mystical Union of Flesh

This week we continue our series on Christian female mystics with a look at St. Catherine of Siena. St. Catherine is an incredibly complex figure, who at once represents the Christian feminine ideal of the Virgin, while also defining her mystical "marriage" in rather shockingly embodied terms. We also look at the way in which she uses fasting as a way of maintaining her own personal sovereignty, and the surprising political and religious power that she wielded as a member of the religious laity.
1/21/202455 minutes, 25 seconds
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Teresa of Avila: the Dangerous Ecstasy of Divine Union

Happy 2024! We start off the new year with the first podcast in the Female Christian Mystics series by looking at St. Teresa of Jesus, better known as Teresa of Avila. Teresa died in 1582 and was canonized a saint in 1622; she was made a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970. Teresa was a celibate nun, but had a deep erotic current that ran through her external and internal life, making her unintentionally a kind of Tantric saint. She is particularly remembered for a mystical event known as the transverberation, immortalized in art by Bernini as "the Ecstasy of St. Teresa." We look at Teresa's very unconventional life, the threatening combination of mystical experience and poverty, and that experience discussed in the Fourth Dwelling of her book The Interior Castle known as "The Prayer of Quiet."
1/7/20241 hour, 6 minutes, 12 seconds
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Despoina: Mistress of the Eleusian Mysteries

We end 2023 with a look at Despoina, an obscure Arcadian goddess associated with this title which means "Mistress". Often connected to Kore/Persephone, Artemis and Hecate, this child of Demeter and Poseidon holds a powerful secret and a name that would only be revealed to initiates of her Mysteries. The only surviving image connected to Despoina is her veil, and the only account of her shrine in Arcadia comes from a description by the Roman writer Pausanias. Still, the little information that we have tells us a lot about this goddess and her cohorts.
12/24/202358 minutes, 17 seconds
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Lussi: Santa Lucia's Dark Predecessor

Just in time for Santa Lucia's Day (13 December) we look at Lussi, the sorceress who rides with her ghoulish brood at the Solstice, bringing destruction to homes unprepared for the coming winter, carrying off naughty children, and those who mistreated their animals during the year. Lussi leads a version of the brood known as the Wild Hunt, and bears a lot of similarity to other European winter hags like Frau Holle and Frau Perchta.
12/10/202347 minutes, 29 seconds
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Yuki-onna: the Spirit of Winter

As we head into the winter season, we round out the last few podcasts of the year with a discussion of the Japanese "snow woman" Yuki-onna. Like many of our Dark Feminine figures, she has both gentle and terrifying aspects; she can fall in love and marry, she can bring treasure, but she also freezes people to death and in some instances cannibalizes them. As a snow woman she is a deep embodiment of the yin principle, which we will explore with respect to her stories and attributes.
11/26/20231 hour, 1 minute
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Female Jinn: Ghula and Si'lat

Jinn are spirits created from fire that are part of Arabic and Islamic folklore. A full discussion of the Jinn would take many episodes, so in this podcast I discuss what Jinn are and what is known about their origins, their place in Islamic cosmogony, and the different types of Jinn, particularly the Ghula and Si'lat, who often appear in feminine form to seduce men. Jinn have free will and be considered good or evil; thus these female Jinn may fall in love with a man and marry him, or may lure him to his death and cannibalize him. I will compare these Jinn to similar creatures in other cultures, and explain how they manifest the negative character of the Mother Archetype.
11/12/20231 hour, 14 minutes, 33 seconds
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Eisheth Zenunim: Female Personification of Sin

This week we are talking about Eisheth Zenunim, "queen of harlots" who is considered the personification of sin in the Zohar, and one of the 4 wives of Samael. We discuss Eisheth's relationship to the serpent in the Garden of Eden as well as to Babalon, and her Kabbalistic association with the Qlippoth, the flip side of the Tree of Life consisting of the "husks" of the dead and considered the embodiment of evil. But is she a temptation to sin for the spiritual aspirant, or a neglected part of the fullness of "creation"?
10/29/202358 minutes, 26 seconds
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Echidna

This week we look at Echidna, the mother of monsters in Greek mythology. Echnidna is said to be the mother of the Sphinx, the Chimera, the Lernean Hydra, and Cerberus among others. She is identified with Python, the dragon slain by Apollo at what would later be his oracle site at Delphi. As a monster associated with rot and decay, she represents terrors of physical death and depression, but is also an alchemical force for transformation.
10/15/202348 minutes, 5 seconds
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Anath

This episode looks at the third goddess in our Canaanite trilogy, the warrior goddess Anath, the sister or helpmate of the Canaanite deity Ba'al Hadad. Anath's attributes and role with respect to the Israelites is contested, as is her role as a fertility and hunting goddess. The scholarship has a hard time reconciling this bloodthirsty goddess with a connection to fertility, but the connection is actually very clear. We talk about ancient Earth mother worship, the idea of something that is "anathema" (a term that comes from the name of this goddess), and how her violent nature connects her to the agricultural cycle of life.
10/1/202358 minutes, 43 seconds
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Asherah

This week I examine the Canaanite mother goddess represented by a sacred tree, and according to some archaeological evidence and speculation, may have been the wife of the Biblical god Yahweh. The episode looks at this theory as well as the origins of Asherah, her role in ancient Judaic society and her presence in the Bible, and how this is a prime example of valuing logos ("rational philosophy") over eros ("fertility cult"), as well as highlighting the difference between official state religion and local folk beliefs. Also, as a refresher on the origins of the god Yahweh, I mention once again the ESOTERICA podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdKst8zeh-U
9/17/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 3 seconds
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Astarte

This week we look at Astarte, wife of Baal, goddess of love, hunting and war. We take a dive into Canaanite religion and its relationship to early Judaic religion, including her mentions in the Baal Cycle and the Bible, as well as her later role in Egypt as a war goddess and wife of Set. We also explore the seeming paradox of love goddesses also acting as goddesses of war.
9/2/20231 hour, 1 minute, 8 seconds
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Ammit, Egyptian Devourer of the Dead

This week we look at the Ancient Egyptian chimeric demoness called Ammit. Having the head of a crocodile, the hindquarters of a hippopotamus, and the forequarters of a lion, Ammit stands beside Anubis waiting to devour the hearts and souls of the unjust dead. In this episode we look at the background of afterlife beliefs in ancient Egypt and some of their near neighbors, and Ammit as a representation of the Devouring Mother as serving justice.
8/20/202346 minutes, 18 seconds
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Agrat Bat Mahlat

This week we look at the "Dancing Demon" of Talmudic and Kabbalistic literature, one of the 4 wives of archangel Samael, and an "angel of sacred prostitution". Lilith is viewed as her competitor, and sometimes as her mother and grandmother, though her name means "Agrat daughter of Mahlat," herself a daughter of Ishmael and a wife of Esau. We look at the Biblical and angelic backdrop for this Queen of Demons, and the significance of her chariot drawn by 18 legions of demons, who dances on rooftops on Wednesdays, and when the Sabbath begins on Fridays. I mention the ESOTERICA YouTube channel and the excellent episode on the origins of Yahweh, which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdKst8zeh-U
8/6/202354 minutes, 45 seconds
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Poludnica

Poludnica, also known as Lady Midday and the Noonwraith, is a demon of the harvest who punishes those who do not rest at noontime. She has various names throughout Eastern Europe, and is represented as a woman in a white dress, sometimes with a skeletal face, who carries a scythe, shears, or a whip. In this podcast we take a deep dive into the "dark" side of the peak hour of the day, what it means to be "in the middle," and the relationship of the Noonwraith to Saturn or Kronos.
7/23/20231 hour, 1 minute, 25 seconds
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Succubus

This week's podcast talks about the succubus, a female demon that is said to have sex with men while they sleep, and her male counterpart, the incubus. There is some version of the succubus in almost every culture; we will look at the medieval view of these creatures, its likely origins in ancient beliefs about immortality, and how these narratives affect things like the reproductive rights of women. One correction: at some point I talk about pre-Christian ideas of the succubus, but I'm actually talking about the succubus as it appears in other religions, in addition to pre-Christian ideas.
7/9/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 54 seconds
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The Gorgons

I have talked about the Gorgon Medusa on this podcast in the past; today's episode looks at all three Gorgons, Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa. This is a deep dive into the psychological meaning of the Gorgons and other similar daimons, and their relationship to goddesses such as Athena and Artemis. When we move from archaic Greek literature to Roman literature of the early common era, we see a curious shift in the representation of Gorgons, from horrible women with hissing hair, boar tusks, and lolling tongues to "beautiful maidens". What does this mean?
6/25/202356 minutes, 39 seconds
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Chthonia Conversations: Talking Slavic Creation and Afterlife with Joanna Madloch

We finally have a new Chthonia Conversation, and Joanna Madloch is back! We dive into Slavic theogony (creation mythology) and conceptions of the afterlife in the stories of Perun, Veles, and their offspring. Joanna sent me a few names in chat, that you can reference; these are in order within the conversation:SwarógDadźbógChorsKsiężycMokoszStrzybógRodRodzaniceNav, NawiaWyrajDolaJagaWiedźma
6/16/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 57 seconds
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Dybbuks

In the first part of the 2000s, there were paranormal TV shows and movies made about the Dybbuk (or Dibbuk), an evil spirit from Judaic folklore that can possess a person. The idea of the "Dybbuk Box" that cursed its owners gained urban folktale status. However, these evil spirits are not demons, they are the restless male dead, and were not really a concept until the rise of medieval Kabbalistic Judaism, and in particular from sixteenth century stories from the city of Safed. We look at what dybbuks are, the afterlife theology surrounding them, and different scholarly ideas about dybbuk possession, especially in women. Are these evil spirits preying on the sinful, another misunderstanding of mental illness, or in the case of women, an authentic voice that has been repressed and attributed to a negative male force?
6/11/202354 minutes, 59 seconds
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Lamashtu

This episode looks at the Babylonian goddess Lamashtu, who may be one of the earliest examples of a vampiric goddess who hunts humans and feeds on flesh, particularly that of unborn children. While we may expect such a goddess to be classed as a demon, Lamashtu is the daughter of the sky god Anu, and has celestial origins. Her ill effects on pregnant mothers and others cannot be exorcised, only appeased. We look at the iconography of Lamashtu, her role, and how she topples ideas about female deities and about masculine/feminine categories in general.
5/31/202344 minutes, 57 seconds
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Valkyries

This week's episode is about the Valkyries, the "choosers of the slain" who bring warriors to Odin's Valhalla, to fight at the "twilight of the gods," Ragnarok. We look at the original role of the Valkyries as "demonic" feasters on the dead flesh of fallen warriors, and their transformation into beautiful shieldmaidens serving warriors in Valhalla. In particular we look at the theme of "domestication" of terrifying feminine forces, and how much that comes into play with complex female warrior/lover figures from the Otherworld.
5/14/202356 minutes, 28 seconds
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Latawica

This episode explores the Latawica, female spirits of the aborted or stillborn in Slavic mythology. The term Latawica is also used in connection with "loose" women, as these spirits that appear as half bird and half human can also shapeshift into seductive forms. As we see in many of these stories, the original version takes on a very different tone once the myth is Christianized, and this is no exception. We discuss beliefs about children who die before they are born, and the implications of connecting these spirits to a kind of succubi, and then to promiscuous women.
4/30/202346 minutes, 38 seconds
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Murrain (Plague) Maiden

This week's podcast is a long one--I talk about the Murrain Maiden, also called the Plague Maiden, or Morowa Dziewica. When she enters a town waving her red handkerchief, the residents are doomed. This podcast gets into the imagery of the Murrain Maiden folktale, and the way in which the idea of plague and illness connects to demon lore and to the dark Feminine.
4/18/20231 hour, 24 minutes, 8 seconds
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Chthonia Conversations: Talking Embodiment with Orryelle Defenestrate Bascule

This month's conversation is with esoteric artist Orryelle Defenestrate Bascule. Our discussion centers around Orryelle's art, music, and ritual theatre performance, including his film "Solve et Coagula." We talk about the idea of embodiment, including the embodiment of sound in language, the kundalini force, and quite a bit about the goddess Hekate.This conversation includes a reading from Orryelle's new book entitled "Esezezus," and some tracks from the album that accompanies the book. The video version of this conversation on YouTube (Chthonia channel) also includes the trailer and some clips from the film Solve et Coagula. You can order Orryelle's new book here: https://www.miskatonicbooks.com/product/esezezus-by-orryelle-defenestrate-bascule-limited-edition-hardcover-with-cd-and-map-of-hermes/Take a look at Orryelle's art and film projects at his website:http://www.esoterotica.art/Information about the Solve et Coagula film:http://www.crossroads.wild.net.au/solveetcoagula.htmIf you are in Europe or the UK, here are the links to Orryelle's book launch events next month (via Facebook):https://www.facebook.com/events/214572107891817 (London, 12 May 2023)https://www.facebook.com/events/3415048145384534 (Brussels, 25 May 2023)All images and clips used with permission.
4/15/20231 hour, 7 minutes, 41 seconds
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Rusalka

This week we look at the Rusalka, an elemental spirit from Slavic folklore. She is described either as spirit of forest and field or as a water spirit, though in both roles she is a "fertility wight," a being that brings water to the crops and fields. However, by the 19th century the Rusalka became the spirit of women who died unbaptized or as virgins, a kind of vengeful damned spirit. They also became associated with mermaids at this time, and a Rusalka-type spirit is the inspiration for Hans Christian Andersen's "Little Mermaid", which bears a resemblance in plot to Dvořák's opera entitled "Rusalka". I discuss all these associations, as well as reasons for the shift from benevolent but tricky nature spirit to malevolent spirit leading men to their deaths.
4/2/202343 minutes, 41 seconds
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Strzyga

This week we take a foray back into Slavic folklore, with a look at the female demonic figure known as the Strzyga (or Striga, or Strega). These are creatures with a gray or bluish appearance that feed on the flesh and blood of humans, and are connected to the Roman "Strix", a bird of ill omen usually associated with the owl. They have two souls, two hearts, and often two sets of teeth, and have characteristics in common with the vampire, though they are associated more with witchcraft. We discuss the origins of the Strzyga, including ideas about the dead and the underworld. We also look at similarities to Roman ancestral belief, as well as the associations of the Strix and the significance of having "two" beings within one.
3/19/202347 minutes, 41 seconds
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Pisacha

Welcome to Chthonia's 100th regular episode! We look at the Pisacha this week--flesh eating demons of Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Lord Shiva is frequently attended by bhuta (ghosts) and pisacha; whatever else may be different about the conception of these beings, it is agreed that they have to do with anger. Whether they are viewed as angry ghosts seeking revenge, the dead souls of those who committed violent crime, or a race of malevolent flesh eaters and vampires, they have a connection to Krodha (anger), and also to the Dark Feminine, due to their association with the cremation grounds and with the devouring of flesh. We will specifically explore themes of vampirism, cannibalism, revenge, and their role as obstructors of sadhaks.
3/5/202342 minutes, 51 seconds
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Empusa

This week we look at one of the "horrors of Hecate," the Empusa. Empusa is a shapeshifting daimon or ghost that is sometimes likened to a succubus, and sometimes a grotesque spirit that attacks men; she also attacks mystery cult initiates in an attempt to distract them from completing their initiation. She is sometimes portrayed with the leg of a donkey, giving her a relationship to the Testament of Solomon demon Onoskelis. What is very likely is that Empusa (or the Empusai) serve a function quite similar to that of the Furies--maintaining boundaries, though they challenge you to surpass those boundaries.
2/19/20231 hour, 12 seconds
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Chthonia Conversations: Beyond Masculine and Feminine with Alexandros Matsangos and Geoffreyjen Edwards

This month's conversation features two guests: Alexandros Matsangos, a translator, Psychology Ph.D., and author of "The Male Lesbian Manifesto"; Geoffreyjen Edwards is a former scientist, a fashion designer, and author of the science fiction novel "Plenum: the First Book of Deo," part of a 15-volume space opera. Both Alexandros and Geoffreyjen explore gender themes and gender fluidity in their works, and this conversation is a fascinating look at what it means to be "gender fluid," the way in which gender defines identity and spirituality, and the projection of the masculine/phallic centric view of gender on society. I learned a lot in this conversation, and hope listeners will as well.Note: Alexandros' last two comments did not make it to audio for some unknown reason, so unfortunately that is missing near the end. Geoffreyjen Edwards's "Plenum: First Book of Deo" is available from Untimely Books, and can be ordered on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Plenum-First-Book-Deo-Chronicles/dp/0971663564/Alexandros Matsango's "Male Lesbian Manifesto" is available in Greek (hopefully published in English this year), though not currently available in the U.S.; you can watch a short film discussing the theory of the book here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh7MlFeLHUU
2/15/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Graeae

This week we look at the Graeae, three women who are "born old" and live in the Western lands at the edge of the world. They are sisters of the Gorgons, and watch over their home with the assistance of one eye and one tooth shared between them. The main story of the Graeae occurs in the Perseus myth, when he steals their eye in exchange for information about what he needs to slay Medusa. The symbolism within their story is quite compelling, as they not only represent the dangers of the sea, but the dangers at the edge of our conscious minds.
2/5/202359 minutes, 13 seconds
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Baubo

This week's episode looks at Baubo, a figure in Greek mythology usually regarded as humorous, as she manages to making the grieving goddess Demeter laugh by showing off her genitalia. So-called Baubo statuettes have been found around the world, but her actual role in ancient Greece, if any, remains a mystery. Homer refers to Iambe rather than Baubo, and our main source of information on the Baubo myth comes from the early Church fathers. We attempt to untangle the origins of Baubo, and talk about what she represents in society's "shame and blame" culture.
1/22/202354 minutes, 24 seconds
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Siddhidhatri

Happy new year! To kick off 2023 we look at the last of our Navadurgas, Siddhidhatri. Her name roughly translates to "giver of perfection" or "giver of power," and she is the form of Shakti that creates the Tridevas (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) and gives them their powers. She is also half of the dual-sexed deity Sri Ardhanariswara. We discuss the meaning and importance of this Devi, as well as the eight traditional Siddhis or powers that she grants, with a side discussion on Tantric magic and the quest to acquire Siddhis.
1/8/202347 minutes, 28 seconds
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Mahagauri

We end 2022 with a podcast on the auspicious goddess Mahagauri, the eighth Navadurga. This golden/white goddess is hardly "dark Feminine" in appearance; however, she is the slayer of Shumba and Nishumba, the asuras ("demons") of too much (self conceit) and too little (self depreciation). We talk about her relationship to the Mahavidya Shodashi, the importance of the Moon in her story, and her relationship to Shailaputri, the first Navadurga.
12/25/202233 minutes, 54 seconds
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Katyayani

This week we look at the sixth Navadurga, Katyayani. She is associated with the Ajna chakra (third eye), and is the manifestation of the anger of the gods against the Mahisasura. She is also associated with finding the right husband and happy marriage. How do these attributes fit together? We discuss these qualities of Katyayani with respect to the idea of Dharma.
12/11/202242 minutes, 35 seconds
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Skandamata

This week's episode is a bit mind-blowing. Skandamata is the fifth Navadurga, and the embodiment of Parvati as mother of Skanda (Kartikeya, the war god). Skanda is born to defeat a demon called Tarakasura--the demon of salvation, who is the grandson of Diti (limitation). Skandamata also embodies the Visuddha chakra, where sound and speech are born. How do these fit together? Listen to this week's episode to find out.
11/27/202248 minutes, 38 seconds
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Chthonia Conversations: The Dark Feminine and Shamanism with Phoenix the Elder

This month's conversation is with Phoenix the Elder, a shaman who has apprenticed in Slavic shaman traditions and Bardo traditions among others, and has worked in these traditions for over 40 years. Now retired from taking apprentices, she talks about her experiences with the Dark Feminine, the differences between Dark Goddesses and Night Goddesses, and her conception of the "dreaming" world and the underworld. You can check out her website at https://eldermountaindreaming.com/ and subscribe to her updates if you are interested.
11/21/20221 hour, 29 minutes, 23 seconds
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Kushmanda

This week we discuss Kushmanda, the fourth Navadurga, who is also the Adishakti (Primal Shakti). She is the Shakti of Lord Surya (the Sun), and represents the true reality beyond all the apparent difference (maya) in the universe. We compare the Greek and Biblical creation stories to Kushmanda's creation, which is not word (Logos) driven, and how the light does not always bring clarity.
11/13/202255 minutes, 7 seconds
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Chandraghanta

This week we look at the third Navadurga, known as Chandraghanta, the married form of the goddess Parvati. Her story begins at her wedding, when her bridegroom-to-be shows up dressed like an Aghori with matted hair, covered in cremation ash, and wearing a skull necklace, accompanied by ghouls. Her family is terrified, but Shiva's Aghori aspect also reflects a truth about Parvati/Shakti herself--and about the Divine Feminine as a whole.
10/30/202236 minutes, 10 seconds
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Chthonia Conversations: Discussing the Dark Feminine in Horror Movies with Jeanette Hanley

This month's conversation is a fun and informal look at the Dark Feminine in horror movies with my longtime friend and former librarian Jeanette Hanley, who has seen a LOT of horror movies in her lifetime. Jeanette and I have had many discussions about this topic through the COVID lockdowns, and I wanted to bring at least some of that discussion to Chthonia. Jeanette and I talk about tropes involving women in horror, trigger warnings, sex as a component of character identity, female actors and directors, and the general experience of movie watching in the 1980s.
10/26/20221 hour, 11 minutes, 36 seconds
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Brahmacharini

This week we look at the second Navadurga, Brahmacharini. Also a term for a female renunciate in Hinduism, Brahmacharini is the manifestation of goddess Parvati before she is married to Shiva. She goes through 5,000 years of ascetic tapas before Shiva offers a marriage proposal. Parvati is a reincarnation of Sati (Shakti), and Shakti/Shiva are heavily associated with Tantra. In light of this, her asceticism may seem like a paradox, but there is a likely meaning behind it.
10/16/202236 minutes, 12 seconds
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Shailaputri

This week kicks off a series on the Navadurgas, the avatars of goddess Durga that are celebrated during the nine days of Navaratri. I have covered a couple of them before, and I am going to talk about all of them by request. Today's podcast is on Shailaputri, "the daughter of the mountain," a name for Parvati, and also the epithet for Durga at the beginning of the Mahisasuramardini Stotra. Parvati is the reincarnation of goddess Sati (Shakti), and becomes the wife of Siva in both incarnations. This form of Parvati/Durga is connected to the Muladhara chakra, and the foundational energy of Kundalini Shakti.
10/2/202236 minutes, 18 seconds
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Chthonia Conversations: Talking With Joanna Madloch about Slavic Paganism

Chthonia Conversations welcomes back Joanna Madloch (Baba Yaga episode of Chthonia) to discuss the archaic nature of what we call "Slavic Paganism". The Slavs do not have a "mythology" per se, there are a collection of archaic folktales, mostly of "bestiairusz," which bear a similarity to old school fairies (not the cutesy Victorian creatures). We talk about the origins of these myths, the lack of sources, and the way in the Slavs resisted Christianity for many years. Indeed, these archaic vestiges of Slavic religion still permeate folk practices in Slavic countries today, and we also look at the ways in which conquerors have tried to impose a "Pan-Slavism" (including Russia's attempts today) and modern re-emergences of the old religion in Poland and other countries.
9/22/20221 hour, 7 minutes, 28 seconds
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Diana

This last September episode focuses on the Roman goddess Diana, and on Diana Nemorensis in particular. Many of Diana's characteristics became merged with those of the Greek goddess, Artemis; however, her origins as a fierce goddess of the woods and hunting, with connections to the underworld, shaped her later associations with both Artemis and Hecate. As we have already done a video on Artemis, this one is strictly about Diana, her origins, and connection to Tauris.
9/18/202240 minutes, 17 seconds
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Marzanna

This week we look at the Slavic death goddess known as Marzanna, or Morana. Her mythology is seasonal, associating her with winter hags, though the myth associated with her is one of betrayal. In Poland and some other parts of Eastern Europe, the ritual of drowning or burning a Marzana effigy at the Spring Equinox is still observed. We discuss some possible meanings and connections of her stories and festivals with the mysteries of the Dark Feminine and the underworld. For a more personal view of the Marzanna ritual, check out the Chthonia Baba Yaga podcast featuring Joanna Madloch from a couple of years ago. There is also a forthcoming Chthonia Conversation with Joanna on Slavic mythology and the Dark Feminine, so don't miss it!
9/4/202242 minutes, 14 seconds
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Bast

This week by request we look at the Egyptian cat goddess Bast (or Bastet). Bast is a daughter of Ra and sister of Sekhmet, originally a ferocious lioness goddess who killed the serpent Apep on Ra's night journey through the underworld. Later Sekhmet retained the ferocious aspects while Bast became associated with domestic cats, and with a gentler disposition. She also has a relationship to Mau, a feline aspect of Ra, and Madjet, the first feline Egyptian goddess of justice. We look at the relationship between these aspects, as well as her festivals and worship per the writings of Herodotus.
8/21/202249 minutes, 56 seconds
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Chthonia Conversations: Talking Chthonic Gnosis with David Beth

This month I chat with David Beth of Theion Publishing, who is also the founder of the Kosmic Gnosis esoteric current. David and I discuss the ancient gods, the proto-human worldview, the stumbling blocks of modern occulture, and a topic near and dear to both of us, the problem with championing spirit over soul (and celestial over chthonic). What would life look like if we didn’t rationalize and analyze every experience? David breaks down everything in a way that is easy to understand, and explains how this worldview treats the concepts of Masculine and Feminine. 

We both reference Ludwig Klages' "Of Cosmogonic Eros", which is available through Theion Publishing's website: https://theionpublishing.com/
8/15/20222 hours, 7 minutes, 34 seconds
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Corra

This week we look at Corra, the serpent goddess of the Celts. Corra was a new discovery for me when I visited Western Ireland; she is alternately described as a dragon, demon, “devil mother” or just otherwise monstrous, and her tale involves a battle with St. Patrick in which she swallows him and he has to cut his way out of her. She is then confined to Lough Na Corra, a lake at the bottom of the mountain now called Croagh Patrick. She is usually seen as representing the triumph of Christianity over paganism, as there have never been snakes in Ireland, but there are many more connections at play in this story. Sources:Michael Conneely of Starwheel Astrology, who also gives sacred tours of Western Ireland:https://starwheelastrology.com/Corra stories: Cheryl Stratton and Lana Jarvis on “Goddess Alive!" https://goddess-pages.co.uk/galive/issue-28-home/corra-the-serpent-goddess-of-ireland/Emerald Isle storytelling sitehttps://emeraldisle.ie/the-saint-and-the-dragon
8/7/202258 minutes, 18 seconds
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Rhiannon

Summer requests begin with Rhiannon, the Welsh Otherworldly figure, perhaps a goddess, from the Mabinogion. She is associated with horses, and is similar to Celtic figures like Morrigan and Medb with her connection to sovereignty. We look at the significance of her story from the first and third branches of the Mabinogi, with a discussion of horses as chthonic symbols, and the idea of initiation with respect to the Otherworld.
7/24/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 18 seconds
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Chthonia Conversations: Jessica Grote on Hetaera

This month's Chthonia Conversation is with Jessica Grote of Theion Publishing. Jessica and I talk about the concept of hetaera, often understood as "courtesanship", originally a female intellectual companion in Greece who was often an erotic companion as well. We talk about the modern concept of erotic companionship, including an exploration of the term "erotic" and some of the social and cultural blocks to finding one's "erotic core". Jessica will be teaching a Modern Hetaera course in September at the Blackthorne School, open to anyone of any gender orientation or sex. You can get information on the course here: https://www.theblackthorneschool.com/courses/hetaera/
7/15/202257 minutes, 23 seconds
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Bendith Y Mamau

This week we look at fairies, and Welsh fairies in particular. The Bendith Y Mamau ("Mother's Blessing") were known for stealing children and leaving changelings in their place. Their connection to child stealing has often identified them as "feminine" whether they are or not, and they bear some similarities to other child stealing monsters. However, such stories are often used to demonize children who are considered different.
7/10/202243 minutes, 27 seconds
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Gefjon

Gefjon is the Norse goddess associated with the plough; her main myth deals with the creation of the Danish island of Zealand. As a goddess of fertility and abundance, she has a curious connection to girls who die as virgins, and the plough motif is echoed in myths and folktales of sovereignty.
6/26/202236 minutes, 39 seconds
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Chthonia Conversations: Santa Muerte, Saint of Life and Death with Kate Kingsbury

This month's conversation is with Dr. Kate Kingsbury (M.Phil and Ph.D., Oxford), where we talk about the Mexican Santa Muerte and the misconceptions and misinformation about her and her devotees. Kate also shares some of her firsthand experiences with Santa Muerte and the Santa Muerte shrine in Oaxaca. She has a book on Santa Muerte coming out in August, stay tuned to social media for details. Kate has also started a gofundme for the Oaxaca victims of Hurricane Agatha; if you would like to donate, please visit the link here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/santa-muerte-grannys-hurricane-fund
6/15/20221 hour, 16 minutes, 23 seconds
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Mictecacíhuatl

This week's podcast looks at Mictecacíhuatl, the Aztec Queen of the Underworld. There are few direct myths about her; yet, we can learn a lot from the Aztec view of life, death, and the cosmos, and in particular the contrast between the soul's underworld journey in Aztec culture and European (plus some Near Eastern) cultures.
6/12/20221 hour, 4 minutes, 16 seconds
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Coatlicue

This week we look at the Aztec goddess Coatlicue, whose name refers to the skirt of rattlesnakes that she wears. She is the mother of the 400 gods of the southern stars, and the war god Huitzilopochtli via a virgin birth, an event that prompted some of her other enraged children to attack and kill (or try to kill) her. The podcast focuses on her various attributes, and the way in which the celestial and chthonic are viewed differently in Aztec mythology.
5/29/202240 minutes, 27 seconds
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Dzunukwa

Dzunukwa is cannibalistic bigfoot-like ogress in Kwakwaka'wakw folklore, who is feared as a stealer of children, but who is also said to bring wealth. This week's podcast looks at some of the dark feminine associations of this ancestral spirit of the Pacific Northwest tribes.
5/8/202233 minutes, 59 seconds
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Sedna

Sedna is the Inuit goddess of the sea and the ruler of the underworld, Adlivun. Her stories vary, but all carry the theme of the goddess angering her creator father, who throws her over the edge of the boat, chopping off her fingers, which then become seals, whales, and walruses. She is considered vengeful, and fishermen must appease her if they want sea animals released for the hunt. We examine the different stories connected to Sedna, and the attributes of the Inuit mythological worldview connecting it to the dark Feminine.
4/24/202249 minutes, 10 seconds
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Chthonia Conversations: Jake Stratton Kent on Archaic Hecate

This month's entry in the Conversations series is with Jake Stratton Kent, who is well known for his writings on ancient goetia, particularly their relationship to the grimoire traditions. Jake's work is an invaluable exploration into pre-Platonic beliefs and magical practices. In this episode Jake and I talk about the different "versions" of Hecate in ancient times, questioning the idea that she wasn't always a chthonic deity. This includes a discussion of goetia, Hecate's association with Apollo, the Athenian Hecate, and the challenge of the more current interpretations of the goddess.
4/15/202252 minutes, 58 seconds
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Mania

This week we talk about the Greek and Roman daimon called Mania, or sometimes Maniae when treated as a group of spirits. Between the Etruscans, the Greeks, and the Romans, Mania has a variety of associations with madness, rage, and frenzy; she is also associated with the dead and with the Furies. The connection between gods, daimons, and human psychology is especially interesting here.
4/3/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 29 seconds
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Nephthys

Happy Spring Equinox! Our subject for this week is Nephthys, the Egyptian goddess who is the sister of Isis and the wife of Seth. The psychopomp Anubis is said to be her son from Osiris, and she is connected with lamentation, healing, and guiding the dead.
3/20/202249 minutes, 13 seconds
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Chthonia Conversations: Daniel Hanley on the Gnostic Feminine

In this month's episode of Chthonia Conversations, I chat with Dan Hanley about the Gnostic Feminine, and 4 main figures--Barbelo, the "4 Sophias", Mary Magdalene, and Noraia. We also discuss misunderstandings about Gnostic currents in early Christianity, and the ways in which it is both anti-chthonic and chthonic.
3/14/20221 hour, 14 minutes, 15 seconds
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Medea

This week we look at Medea, the niece of the witch Circe and the granddaughter of the sun god, known for being the actual "hero" in the Argonautica who enables Jason to fulfill the necessary tasks to acquire the golden fleece. Eventually he abandons her for another wife, and she takes her revenge by setting the wife on fire with a poisoned dress and murdering their children. Like many myths, the deeper meaning about the nature of the chthonic Feminine is more important than the social implications.
3/6/202239 minutes, 5 seconds
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Skylla and Charybdis

Finally fixed! Here is what was meant to be the previous episode, on the sea monsters Skylla and Charybdis, the daimonic spirits of the dangers of the sea associated with the phrase "between a rock and a hard place". There are various stories about their origins, including some surprising links to chthonic deities such as Hekate.
2/20/202257 minutes, 5 seconds
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Chthonia Conversations: Feeding Your Demons: Talking about Chöd with Lana Popovic

In this first video of the Chthonia Conversations series, Brigid talks with Lana Popovic of Psychosomatic Alchemy about the Tantric Buddhist practice of Chöd, and the connected psychological practice called "Feeding Your Demons." You can learn more about Psychosomatic Alchemy and Lana's upcoming Shadow Integration course at https://www.psalchemy.com/Chöd practice should only be performed under the guidance of a qualified teacher; for those interested in learning the practice, here are some resources: Lama Tsultrim Allione - retreat centerwww.taramandala.org(Here people can take Chöd initiation as well as learn Feeding Your Demons practice)Dharma Mittra teaches Psychic development course (pranayamas) on this website https://www.dharmayogacenter.comLana also recommends reading The Tantric Alchemist: Thomas Vaughan and the Indian Tantric Tradition by Peter Levenda. To read about the differences between Tantra and Neo-Tantra, check out this article: Tantra vs Neo-Tantra by Georg Feuersteinhttps://www.santosha.com/moksha/meditation1.htmlVisit https://chthonia.net for all of my work.If you would like to support Chthonia, consider joining Patreon at https://patreon.com/chthonia. More of this conversation will be available to subscribers. Thank you to my existing patrons for your support!
2/15/20221 hour, 12 minutes, 57 seconds
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Lethe

This week we look at Lethe, the daimon of forgetfulness, the female personification of the river that the dead drink from to forget their previous lives. As we will see, the idea of "lethe" may go beyond just forgetting.
2/7/202248 minutes, 31 seconds
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Morgan Le Fay

This week's podcast looks at Morgan Le Fay, enchantress and sister of King Arthur who ultimately brings about his downfall. We look at the main legends surrounding her, and reflect on the challenges she presents to the chivalric etiquette of Arthur's knights and court.
1/23/202246 minutes, 19 seconds
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Dame Ragnelle

Happy 2022! This first episode of the year focuses on the "loathly lady" of Arthurian legend, Dame Ragnelle. Ragnelle is married to Sir Gawain in exchange for the answer to the question, "what is it that women want the most?" The answer--perhaps a surprising one for medieval Europe--still rings true in modern times, and shows us another angle on the importance of the dark Feminine.
1/9/202241 minutes, 56 seconds
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Boabhan Sith

In this last episode of 2021 we look at the Boabhan Sith, who are Scottish female vampire fairies. We look at the core legend of a late night encounter with these vampiric women, and explore their possible origins in myth and folktales.
12/26/202135 minutes, 52 seconds
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Black Annis

This week we look at Black Annis, a female hag figure from fairy lore that devours children and wears their skins. Supposedly living in the Dane Hills near Leicester, we look at the different stories of her origin, and alleged sightings near the church of St. Mary De Castro.
12/12/202148 minutes, 58 seconds
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Peg Powler and Jenny Greenteeth

This week we continue a look at Northern English fairy lore with the water hag, known as Peg Powler, Jenny Greenteeth, and sometimes as Nelly Longarms. These are a type of being known as a Grindylow, and they are said to pull children and sometimes the elderly into the watery depths of bogs and rivers. We may think of them as a fearsome being invented to keep children from drowning, but is this really the case?
11/28/202131 minutes, 59 seconds
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Leanan Sidhe

In this episode, we look at the Leanan Sidhe, a type of dark fairy figure that probably isn't part of ancient folklore, but rather the invention of W.B. Yeats. That said, the Leanan Sidhe is a fictional figure that is both alluring and terrifying at the same time.
11/14/202146 minutes, 12 seconds
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The Aorai

For Samhain this year, we look at ghosts--specifically the spirits of the restless female dead in Ancient Greece. Aorai was the name given to girls who died before they became mothers, thus turning them into some other kind of creature, or making them an assistant to the Furies or similar monstrous feminine figures. Beliefs about the Aorai not only touch on the fear of the devouring feminine, but reveal ingrained attitudes about women who are "independent".
10/31/202153 minutes, 51 seconds
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Shivaduti

This week's podcast is about Shivaduti, or Shivadooti, which literally means "she who has Shiva as a messenger". This terrifying form of Durga threatens the demons Shumba and Nishumba, screaming like 100 jackals. We talk about her associations and symbolism, and her role in the Devi Mahatmayam.
10/17/202149 minutes, 53 seconds
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Kalaratri

It is the Hindu season of Navaratri, and I've decided to cover one of the nine Navdurgas associated with Navartri. Kalaratri is worshipped on night seven of Navaratri, and is considered to be one of the fiercest forms of the Devi, and is associated with courage.
10/4/202146 minutes, 50 seconds
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Nu Gui

This week we look at the Nu Gui, in our last episode on the dark feminine in Japanese and Chinese folklore. The Nu Gui is a vengeful female ghost, often appearing with long black hair and a white dress. A popular figure in movies and animation, we look at different appearances of the Nu Gui and their implications in culture and psychology.
9/20/202151 minutes, 45 seconds
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Xiwangmu

This week we look at the Chinese goddess Xiwangmu, known as the Queen Mother of the West. Originally a shamanic goddess with the ferocious attributes of a tiger, she later gains a reputation as a compassionate mother, eclipsed later by Kuan Yin in importance.
9/5/202142 minutes, 5 seconds
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Izanami

This week we look at Izanami, the central female deity of Japanese creation and death mythology. Izanami and her brother/husband Izanagi create the firmaments of the earth and all of the elements; however, at Izanami's death she becomes a demonic figure that chases after Izanagi when he betrays a promise to her.
8/22/202148 minutes, 17 seconds
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Kitsune

This week we talk about the Kitsune, or fox spirits of Japanese folklore. They can shapeshift into human form, and can be helpful to humans, or destroy them. Identified by multiple tales and sometimes white fur, these often feminine spirits are the ultimate tricksters.
8/8/202146 minutes, 45 seconds
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Female Oni

This week we begin a series on dark feminine figures in Japanese and Chinese folklore, starting with the Oni. "Oni" means "demon", and they can be male or female, but in this episode we will focus on female Oni. Several folktales of these vengeful demons are included in the episode.
7/26/202141 minutes, 55 seconds
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Babalon

This week we look at Babalon, who has her origins in the Biblical Whore of Babylon, but has become a kind of magical deity in her own right, specifically in Aleister Crowley's Thelema. In this slightly longer episode, we talk about 3 different "Babalons" in Biblical and esoteric tradition.
7/11/20211 hour, 8 minutes, 49 seconds
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Nyx and Night Goddesses

In this week's episode we look at Night goddesses, particularly the Greek goddess Nyx and her Roman counterpart Nox, and the Egyptian goddess Nut. These mysterious goddesses have the protective aspects of a mother, but are also feared for their mystery and power.
6/27/202152 minutes, 25 seconds
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Dark Olympians: Hera

This week we return to Greece and Rome to look at the queen of the gods, Hera, and her Roman counterpart Juno. This proper matron of respectable marriage has an incredibly dark reputation for deception, madness, and attempted murder.
6/13/202156 minutes, 55 seconds
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Tiamat

This week we look at Tiamat, the primordial sea goddess of the Enuma Elish. She battles Marduk and is defeated, and the firmaments of the world are created through her body. She is generally considered to be a monster or sea dragon that embodies primordial chaos. We relate her story to the myths of the Hittite Illuyanka, the Greek Python, and the Biblical Leviathan.
5/30/202150 minutes, 30 seconds
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Cerridwen

This week's podcast talks about Cerridwen, the Welsh enchantress associated with a magical cauldron of knowledge. A series of mishaps with the exploding cauldron lead to the birth of the bard Taliesin, which has indirectly linked her to the Grail legend, and given her goddess status.
5/16/202142 minutes, 52 seconds
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Hel

This week we look at the Norse goddess Hel, the daughter of the trickster god Loki, and ruler of the regions under the earth, where most humans went after death. As you might imagine, her name is the root of the modern word Hell, and the connection between the female goddess and the later-named place […]
5/2/202153 minutes, 50 seconds
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Isis

This week we look at the Egyptian goddess Isis, the wife of Osiris who brings life to his dead body, and becomes pregnant with the god Horus. As a queen of magical power and a mother figure, she is associated with protection of the dead. Like many goddesses of her time, she also has a […]
4/18/202142 minutes, 58 seconds
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Dionysus (Part 2)

Just in time for Easter, this second podcast on Dionysus looks at the Orphic concept of the god as successor to Zeus, and as the archetype for the divine savior, later embodied in the mythology of Jesus. Source used in video: The God Who Comes: Dionysian Mysteries Revealed by Rosemarie Taylor-Perry. Algora Publishing, 2003 Music: […]
4/3/202153 minutes, 42 seconds
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Dionysus (Part 1)

Welcome to the 50th episode of Chthonia! This week we look at the mysterious figure of Dionysus, in the first of a two part podcast. Dionysus is the god of wine, an egalitarian deity who can be directly experienced through drinking wine. In this episode we look at the Homeric Dionysus, the one portrayed in the Homeric Hymns, and we will look at his connection to the Divine Feminine.
3/21/20211 hour, 6 minutes, 25 seconds
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Pele

This week we talk about Hawaii's volatile volcano goddess and her role in shaping and protecting the islands, as well as her explosive relationship with her sister and her friends. She represents the dual nature of fire, in both its creative and destructive aspects. Music: Adpated from "Secret Door" by Anastasia Vronski, [CC 4.0] URL: […]
3/7/202146 minutes, 38 seconds
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Erzulie

This week's podcast is about Erzulie, a family of Voodoo loas connected to water, and to the Feminine in its various forms. We look at two of the loas in particular; Erzulie Freda, associated with love and sex, and Erzulie Dantor, a fierce protector figure often associated with the Black Madonna. Music: Intro adapted from […]
2/21/202143 minutes, 31 seconds
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Oya

Oya is the powerful Yorùbá Orisha of the winds and tempests. She is considered either the sister of the Orisha of storms Shango, or one of His three wives, with Oshun and Oba. She is a fierce protector of women who uses her machete to clear the dead wood path and make way for the new. We […]
2/7/202141 minutes, 23 seconds
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Pomba Gira

This week we look at Pomba Gira, sometimes a single term for a powerful female spirit, at other times the title of a group of spirits. A spirit with many avatars, most notably Maria Molambo (Maria of the Trash), Pomba Gira is a highly sexualized and sometimes dangerous female figure in the Afro-Brazilian rituals of […]
1/24/20211 hour, 3 minutes, 39 seconds
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Maman Brigitte

The first podcast of 2021 focuses on the loa Maman Brigitte, a hard drinking, sensual spirit that protects the unrepresented dead, and has a very direct relationship to the Irish goddess (and saint) Brigid. Music: Adapted from "Secret Door" by Anastasia Vronski, [CC 4.0] URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Anastasia_Vronski/Estrangements_volume_2/09_-_Secret_DoorComments: http://freemusicarchive.org/Copyright: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/
1/10/202135 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Snow Queen

In this last podcast for 2020, we look at the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the Snow Queen, the very loose basis for the film "Frozen", and like many fairy tales, loaded with symbolism–in this case, about the struggle for love and connection in a cold, analytical world.
12/27/202042 minutes, 28 seconds
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Skadi

It is December, and for this month I am feature winter themes. Today we talk about Skadi, the Scandanavian jötunn (giantess/ancient goddess, similar to a Titan in Greek mythology), who is the embodiment of winter, and is associated with bowhunting, skiing, and mountains. In this episode we look at Skadi's thirst for revenge over her […]
12/13/202051 minutes, 33 seconds
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Taweret

We end the month of November with a look at the Egyptian goddess Taweret, a hippopotamus goddess who was the wife of Set and a ferocious protector of children. Like many dark goddesses, her attributes seemed to change over time, making her more benevolent.
11/29/202040 minutes, 42 seconds
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Sekhmet

This episode looks at the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet, who is considered to be an aspect of the goddess Hathor, and sometimes also the goddess Bast. She is the "eye of Ra", and represents the destructive wrath of the "noonday sun" that burns up everything around it.
11/15/202038 minutes, 20 seconds
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Morrigan

Happy Samhain! This year's Samhain/Halloween episode is about the Morrigan, the Irish goddess of war, fate, and sovereignty. Last year I interviewed Aepril Schaile about the Morrigan; this year it's just me, talking about all of the aspects of the Morrigan, and a little about my new book coming soon, "The Morrigan Timelines".
10/30/20201 hour, 14 minutes, 1 second
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Narasimhi

In our last podcast on the Ashta Matrikas, we look at Narasimhi, the fierce lion-headed matrika that is the Shakti of Narasimha, another fierce avatar of Vishnu. Not to be tampered with lightly, she is also known as Pratyangira, the destroyer of black magic.
10/18/202047 minutes, 10 seconds
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Varahi

This week we talk about the Matrika Varahi, the Shakti of Varaha, the boar-headed avatar of Vishnu, and a ratridevata (night goddess) associated with left-hand Tantric practices. She is sometimes called Yami, and considered to be the consort of Yama, the god of death. We look at the complexity of her symbolism, with a boar […]
10/4/20201 hour, 21 seconds
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Vaishnavi

The matrika Vaishnavi is the shakti of Vishnu's avatar, Vaishnava, in which Vishnu takes the form of a boar and rescues the Earth Mother when she is plunged into the primordial waters. Her weapon is the discus or chakra, showing her connection to the cycle of time. This podcast looks at the multiple aspects of […]
9/20/202046 minutes, 31 seconds
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Maheswari

This week's podcast looks at Maheswari, the literal shakti of Shiva (Maheswar). She embodies the vice of anger, and like Shiva himself is a destroyer, and is associated with tamas (darkness). However, like Shiva himself, she is too complex to summarize her nature in a few words, embodying both inauspicious and auspicious qualities.
9/6/202051 minutes, 48 seconds
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Brahmi

Brahmi is the shakti of Brahma, the Creator of the Universe in Hindu mythology. She is largely an auspicious deity, but is associated with the vice of pride, and battles the demons of the Chandi Path with water–bringing us back to the dangers of the flood. In this podcast we look at the possible meanings […]
8/23/202049 minutes
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Indrani

Indrani, also known as Aindri or Mahendri, is the Queen of the Hindu gods, wife of Indra. She is also a Matrika, associated with the vice of jealousy. For such a beautiful and desirable goddess, she also has a very dark side–and is similar to the Greek/Roman goddess Hera/Juno, who–for all of her proper, civilized […]
8/9/202050 minutes, 33 seconds
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Kaumari

This week's podcast is about Kaumari, the Shakti (primal energy) of the Hindu war god Kaumara (also known as Skanda or Kartikeya). This violent goddess, associated with the vice of attachment, also has a paradoxical role as the Kanyakumari Devi, a virgin child goddess of South India and Nepal.
7/26/202058 minutes, 22 seconds
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Chamunda

This week begins our series on the Asta Matrikas, eight fierce Shaktis who represent the powers of the Hindu gods themselves. We start with Chamunda, known as the slayer of anger (Chanda) and passion (Munda). However, Chamunda is much older and a more independent figure, the Shakti of the Devi herself, and very dangerous if […]
7/12/202050 minutes, 49 seconds
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Kamala

This is the last podcast on the Das Mahavidyas. This week we look at Kamala, the Tantric manifestation of Mahalakshmi. While Lakshmi is associated with her husband Vishnu and a model of obedience, Kamala is wholly independent of any spouse, and has a few dark attributes that go with her beneficent demeanor.
6/28/202047 minutes, 30 seconds
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Bhuvaneswari

In the second-to-last episode about the Mahavidyas, we look at Bhuvaneswari, the goddess who is the embodiment of the material world.
6/14/202043 minutes, 40 seconds
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Tripurasundari

This week's goddess is not as dark, but extremely powerful, the Queen of the Sricakra. She is known for restoring the god Kama (Desire) to the world after being destroyed by Shiva, and doing battle with the demon created from Kama's ashes, Bhandasura (the "good" demon).
5/31/202049 minutes, 26 seconds
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Bhagalamukhi

Bhagalamukhi means "crane-faced"; however, she is not portrayed as a crane, and equally mysterious is her connection to the color yellow, which seems to provide a connection to Vishnu. She is known as the Paralyzer; we look at the deeper meaning of this Tantric goddess, always shown holding the tongue of the demon Madan.
5/17/202043 minutes, 35 seconds
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Tara

This week's episode looks at the Hindu goddess Tara, listed as the second Mahavidya in traditional order. Unlike the tender Buddhist Tara, this Tantric goddess is associated with the fire of cremation and has a fierce appearance. However, they are both associated with liberation, and Tara shows us that the way to enlightenment is not […]
5/3/202049 minutes, 48 seconds
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Dhumavati

Continuing our Mahavidyas series, Dhumavati is an inauspicious goddess associated with old age, poverty, and sickness. But she is also the goddess of the Void between Death and Life, and plays an important role in teaching us to stay in the present.
4/19/202058 minutes, 1 second
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Bhairavi

This week's episode is about the Goddess of Destruction and consort of Bhairava, the destructive aspect of Shiva. As with our other Mahavidyas, Bhairavi also has powerful life-affirming aspects.
4/5/202041 minutes, 48 seconds
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Chinnamasta

In our continued series on the Das Mahavidyas, we look this week at Chinnamasta, the self-decapitating goddess. Her image is gruesome and somewhat shocking; however she represents a sublime reality about life and death.
3/23/202055 minutes, 27 seconds
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Matangi

In the wake of fears of the Coronavirus, I thought it would be timely to discuss Matangi, one of the Mahavidyas associated with pollution and impurity. Matangi shows us how the Divine is present in the impure–and the unwanted.
3/8/202052 minutes, 16 seconds
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Kali

We now begin looking at individual dark Hindu goddesses, starting with the Mahavidyas. The pivotal Mahavidya is the goddess Kali, whose fearsome appearance gives her associations with death, the demonic, and blood sacrifice. In this podcast we go deeper than the surface associations, and look at the varied and complex aspects of this powerful goddess, […]
2/24/202054 minutes, 37 seconds
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Introduction to the Tantric Goddesses 3: Sri Cakra

This is the last of an "introduction" to the goddesses, focusing on the Sri Cakra or Sri Yantra, an important symbol representing Shakti/Devi and the creation of the entire universe. It is the central Tantric symbol of the Sri Vidya branch of Hinduism, and is important for understanding its dark goddesses.
2/9/202044 minutes, 43 seconds
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Intro to Tantric Goddesses 2: Sri Chandi Path

This episode continues to provide context for our 6-month long discussion of dark Hindu goddesses, looking at the Sri Chandi Path, the Sri Devi Bhagavatam, and the Devi Upanishad as sources on the fierce divine feminine in Hinduism, and particularly in Tantra.
1/26/202056 minutes, 9 seconds
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Introduction to the Tantric Goddesses

It's 2020, and we are starting the new year with a series on the Tantric goddesses–the Mahavidyas, the Matrikas, the Navadurgs, and similar dark Hindu mothers. This episode offers an introduction to Hindu prayer, worship, the meaning of Tantra, and my own encounters with these goddesses.
1/13/20201 hour, 18 minutes, 35 seconds
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Frau Perchta and Gryla

It's the last podcast of the year, during the 12 days of Christmas—a good time to discuss 2 Christmas "witches" that seek out naughty children—and adults—to either cannibalize them or cut them open and stuff them full of straw. It's Austria's Frau Perchta and Iceland's Gryla, two witch figures of the Christmas "naughty or nice" […]
12/29/201942 minutes, 47 seconds
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Black Madonnas

This week I'm joined by Elen Jones, who is also known as the Spiral Priestess on Facebook, and the creator of the Voices of the Dark Mothers cards, to talk about Black Madonnas. These Catholic and Orthodox images feature a dark-skinned Virgin and Child, and are surprising objects of both veneration and secrecy.
12/15/20191 hour, 1 second
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Dark Olympians: Artemis

As one of the 12 Olympian gods, we don't tend to think of Artemis as chthonic. However, her original pre-Greek role and some of her attributes relating to violent death in children and wild animals connect her to the realm of death and the liminal.
12/1/201951 minutes, 43 seconds
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Circe (Kirke)

The sorceress Circe, daughter of the sun god Helios, is known for her dangerous magic, turning men into animals. But there is more than meets the eye–Circe is the perfect Jungian Anima figure.
11/17/201948 minutes, 21 seconds
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Santa Muerte

This episode looks at the "Holy Death", the Latin American saint condemned by the Catholic Church, but venerated by about 12 million people, making her second in popularity to St. Jude in Mexico. As a champion of marginalized people, there are significant cultural, economic, and political aspects to her worship.
11/3/201949 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Morrigan (Special Episode)

In honor of Samhain (Halloween), I am posting an extra episode this week. Aepril Schaile (Aepril's Arcana, Aeprilschaile.com) and I talk about the Morrigan, Irish goddess of war, sexuality, and sovereignty. The Morrigan is said to guard the gate to the Otherworld (or "gate to Hell" according to the monks), and makes an appearance on […]
10/31/201955 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Cailleach and Samhain

Halloween is just around the corner, and this episode looks at the origins of this holiday, the "Celtic" Samhain as the new year, start of winter, and the removal of the barrier of time and space between this world and the "other world" or underworld.
10/20/201946 minutes, 11 seconds
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Baba Yaga

I talk with Dr. Joanna Madloch about the Slavic witch Baba Yaga. Joanna grew up in Poland with traditional Slavic folklore, and we discuss the common motifs and meanings of the old witch who lives in the forest, in a house that moves, and is only found by those who are lost.
10/6/201948 minutes, 53 seconds
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Hecate (Part 2)

This week's episode continues our discussion from last week on the goddess of witchcraft, ghosts, crossroads, and magic. In this episode we look at the chthonic Hecate, as well as the "Hekate Soteria" of the Middle Platonists, looking at the circumstances that turned her from a beneficent and protective goddess into an evil one.
9/22/201951 minutes, 49 seconds
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Hecate (Part 1)

Hecate is the quintessential chthonic deity, as queen of ghosts and witches. But Hecate's origins and associations are complex; part 1 of a 2-part podcast deals with what we know about her origins as a beneficent goddess associated with protection and childbirth.
9/8/20191 hour, 16 seconds
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The Hanging Virgins

Greek mythology has a curious number of stories about young girls who kill themselves or are taken away due to sexual transgressions before marriage. We look at these stories, and their possible importance.
8/25/201946 minutes, 2 seconds
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Persephone

Persephone is Queen of the Greek Underworld, and the story of her abduction by Hades and the search for her by her mother Demeter is an important story in Greek mythology–and a myth often pointed to for its portrayal of rape in myth. But there's more to the story than meets the eye.
8/11/201946 minutes, 25 seconds
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Medusa

Medusa is well-known in literature, art, and film as the snaky-haired woman who turns anyone who looks at her to stone. But Medusa, like similar monstrous ancient female beings, represents two different things to the ancient Greeks and Romans.
7/28/201957 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Erinyes (Furies)

The Erinyes are often viewed as ladies of punishment, or manifestations of guilt, with their snaky hair and monstrous appearance. But the Erinyes were not originally monsters, and have a beneficent side as well.
7/14/201953 minutes, 26 seconds
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Nightmares and Night Hag Syndrome

This episode explores the origins of the term "nightmare" and its connection to the feminine "demonic", and the phenomenon of sleep paralysis (also called Night Hag Syndrome) from a mythological and psychoanalytical point of view.
6/30/201957 minutes, 47 seconds
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Lilith

Explores the folklore behind the alleged first wife of Adam, who is associated with seduction, temptation, and producing demons with unsuspecting men on one hand, and is a symbol of feminine autonomy on the other.
6/16/201959 minutes, 53 seconds
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Innana, Ishtar and Ereshkigal

We look at Babylonian, Akkadian and Sumerian goddesses of love, war, and the underworld, with a particular look at the ancient story of the Descent of Inanna.
6/2/201945 minutes, 25 seconds
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The Mother Goddess

We think of mother goddesses as being gentle and loving, but ancient mother goddess worship had a dark side. This first episode looks at ancient mother goddesses of the Near East.
5/17/201956 minutes, 39 seconds