Thursday 15 January 2009

Carmenta: Goddess of the Week

The Bad Witch's Goddess of the Week is Carmenta, the ancient Roman goddess of prophecy and childbirth.

I picked her at random from my old copy of The Concise Mythological Dictionary by Peerage Books, but then found out that her festival, known as Carmentalia, was celebrated from January 11 to January 15.

Coincidence or divine inspiration? I guess I'll never know, but just in case the Goddess herself had a hand in my choice, I'll do the best I can in writing about her.

According to Wikipedia, Carmenta is associated with technological innovation and is the patron of midwives as well being the protector of mothers and children. The name Carmen means oracle or spell and Carmenta was originally a goddess of prophecy, taking on other aspects later.

The description of Carmenta in adds:

"She prophesized a good future for herself by putting it about that she was married to MERCURY."
Carmenta was widely revered by Roman women and became an early symbol of women's liberation. When in 215 BC the Roman Senate passed laws forbidding women to ride in carriages, Rome's female populace protested by refusing to conceive children. Plutrach stated that they: “kept their husbands at a distance until the husbands changed their minds and made the concession to them.”

When the laws were revoked, the women built the Temple of Carmenta in honour of the Goddess.

A friend of mine is currently heavily pregnant, so I'll take this opportunity to ask Carmenta to give my friend her blessing and to protect her and her child during the birth and afterwards.

The Concise Mythological Dictionary

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