For January we have chosen the Goddess Amaltheia. For much of this month the sign of Capricorn rules.
January, the first month of the calendar, is named after Jana, a moon Goddess, according to Patricia Telesco. This includes her husband Janus, the Roman, double headed God of gateways, entrances and exits. Certainly, New Years, as it is celebrated in over 150 countries, marks an ending and a beginning of the 365 day cycle. Since we are culturally attuned to this cycle, we take this opportunity to reflect on the past year and to plan new actions for the coming year.
The symbol of Janus is a powerful one. The romans accepted him as the bringer of agriculture and law. Very little information is given about his wife.
Another Goddess of significance at this time of year is Hecate, the triple Goddess who stands at the crossroads of life guiding lost travellers. All of these Gods and Goddesses are wonderfully symbolic for the time of year but Amaltheia holds our interest.
Some say that she was a wood nymph, and others say she was a she goat. Everyone does agree that she provided a great service to Zeus, King of the Gods and Goddesses. It is said that Amaltheia nourished him as an infant.
Until recently, wet nursing was a common practice. Unfortunately, in society today, breastfeeding which has been out of favour for some time, is just making a comeback as the primary source of infant nutrition. Many women still do not prize and value breastfeeding enough to give this role to another when circumstances make it impossible for the birth mother.
In addition, the rate of transferrable viral infections through body fluids appear to make wet nursing high risk. But, in years gone by, it was a common practice and still is in many cultures. In our high tech society, the best we can hope to do is get mother's milk from a reputable milk bank. Generally this is a last resort.
Traditionally, a wet nurse was highly regarded in the family and ate the best foods. She was nurtured and pampered. In ancient times this role usually fell to a woman who had lost her own child in birthing or shortly after, so there was an element of sadness and grief as well as usefullness in her task.
As for Amaltheia, Zeus was very grateful for her care and nurturing. He rewarded her for her kindness and dilligence in two ways that will always be remembered. As the she goat, one of her horns was removed. It became known as the horn of plenty or cornucopia which is symbolic of abundance as well as providing sustenance to all. Amaltheia was also transferred into the heavens as capela (She-Goat), which became the sign of Capricorn.
Service and dilligence are words that remain associated with this earth sign and its ruling planet Saturn. As we move into the new century during this Millennium year, we should try to bridge the gap between the old and new, working faithfull towards goals that will help us to achieve our best. Let us also remember in our thoughts and prayers, those who are caregivers to the less fortunate, or those without hope. Care givers are often hardworking dedicated people in sad or stressful situations, very often watching the decline of beloved family members.
Let us hope that like Amaltheia, their diligence and service will be rewarded.
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Here are some books that I have found useful.
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