An Immodest Proposal

At the recent Sacred Space Conference in Maryland, I was fortunate to attend a ritual that was created by Literata Hurley with assistance from Hecate Demetersdaughter.  In it, we invoked the national Goddess of our land–Columbia, in her aspect of Athena.  She stands there atop the dome of the capitol, robed and armed, her headdress an eagle’s head and plumage.  No “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses”–Armed Freedom (as She is sometimes called) is resplendent in her martial attire.



a postcard of Armed Freedom on my home altar

It was a powerful ritual, with several aspects of great Athena present and accounted for.  (I’ve always been partial to Her–She was the first Divinity I ever honored.) And it got me thinking, as one does after a good ritual experience, about the evocation and invocation of the Divine Protectors of our land, the official Ones, the State-sanctioned Ones.

What if we created a Cult of Columbia, centered in the nation’s capitol?  Easy to imagine that because it’s already happening…birthed by some remarkable women. But what if each one of us researched our own state to find out if there is a Divine Protector that has been present in the halls of power since our colonial beginnings?

For those of you who are polytheists, may I suggest you go to your official state website and see Who may be hiding in plain sight on your Great Seal or state flag.  Here in NC, we have Liberty and Plenty.

Now, imagine that I and a group of co-religionists create a cycle of worship activities devoted to these State Goddesses. And suppose that you and a group of your co-religionists do the same thing in your state.  And now imagine that on particular days (4th of July, maybe), we link up ceremonies with the “home temple” in DC and we all invoke and evoke these powerful Matrons in defense of the helpless, the small, the unheard, the disenfranchised.

Yeah, I like it, too.  Shall we?

Who’s on your state seal?


5 thoughts on “An Immodest Proposal

  1. Being from Virginia (Sic Semper Tyrannus), our seal there was Virtus (bearing her sword of authority) standing with her foot on the prone chest of Tyranny. Nothing like the actual state I lived in, but a nice symbol nonetheless!

    I know many Washington DC pagans who have been invoking Columbia for years, quite actively!

  2. Here in Colorado, our seal is adorned with the “eye of God” from which sunbeams shine forth, above three mountain peaks. Beneath these are a pick-axe and sledge-hammer (miners’ tools), and beneath those “Nile Sine Numine” (Nothing without Deity).

    My own, slightly twisted, interpretation of this is that in Colorado, the sky, the sun, the mountains – these are not only striking aspects of the local landbase, but aspects that continue to define our lives here. These /are/ our local deities. The Mountains shape our weather patterns and we live in Their shadow, our relationship with the Sun is complicated, and we hardly ever go two days in a row without seeing it, miners have long found work (and hardship, and abuse) in our small, mountain towns (and mining comes with its own mythology – tommy knockers, and red caps, and ghost lights, and much more), mining the riches of the land. Rather than “nothing without deity” I would say “Nothing is not Deity”.

    [As a caveat: I would use the “eye of god” symbol as a reminder that we must not be allowed to simply erase and close our eyes to our horrifying history. A history that includes the massacre and displacement of native peoples – this is the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre, in which John Evans, a person celebrated throughout Denver, played a large role; a brief, but terrible, rule by the Ku Klux Klan; and a deep rooted abuse of land and people that continues to run through the streets of our cities].

    TL;DR: Colorado’s deities are its natural features, features that have always spoken to those who live here. The state flag really acts as a homage to these deities: Blue stripes for the nearly-always blue sky, a white stripe for the snow that feeds our rivers in the spring, a red letter ‘C’ for the red soil and red rocks that distinguish the land, and a golden orb nestled within for the sun. The deities here are Coyote, and Buzzard, and Hawk. To honor them is, and always has been, to honor the land.

    [Wow – that was a really long, over-punctuated reply on a kind of old post. I apologize for that, but I was so struck and inspired by your post that I couldn’t NOT reply, and then I got a little bit carried away]

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