The Message of Goddess Fortuna

I live a life of devotion. I love my Gods. Sometimes they talk to me in my dreams.  Since today is a very auspicious day, dated 12-13-14, I thought it appropriate to finally post a dream conversation I had with the Goddess Fortuna.  This is a re-post from my old Mindsay blog.  So posting this again, I hope, will bring you a great message, and us both wonderful luck.  Enjoy!

On the night of September 3rd 2009, I dreamed about the Roman Goddess Fortune (also known as Dame Fortuna).  The following is posted directly from my private handwritten dream journal.

“I am not Lady Luck,” she smiled, dressed in jewel encrusted red velvet and gold (as if she just stepped out of an Italian Renaissance painting) her hair colored amber honey, tied up in braids with ribbons of gold — real gold that shimmered like tinsel. Looking at her… she seemed ablaze with that gleam of gold, so gold it blurred my vision. When she talked to me, she was hard at work in, of all places, a modern morgue (or mortuary, it kept changing from today to ancient and back again) yet all the while, between the flickering back and forth of time, shifting of places, Fortuna’s golden aura made the room warm and comfortable. She was attending to the bodies — unzipping the body bags and decorating the dead with flowers, jewels, chains of gold, scented oil, rose petals… it was easy to breathe in the thick scent of myrrh, gardenia, roses, musk, incense…

“I am FORTUNE,” she sighed lovingly, firmly while placing daisies over the eyes of a dead man, “I am there at the end of life, but I am no nurse. I am the one with the job of making sure the lost and unknown receive a proper funeral — especially when there is no money or living people around to bid farewell to these souls. This is what you need to tell people, Valentina.”

She gave me a serious down-to-business look that sent a shiver through me.

“When a person — no matter what their significance when alive — passes from body to spirit without a funeral, it is as if they never existed. No one acknowledges that they lived. But this is not their fault. Death came to them inconveniently. It happens. However, it can be remedied. They do not have to pass into the next life without someone knowing who they were. Gods like me, we do not miss them. We grant these unknowns grace and peace — their bodies, their faces, their names, all these things stay a mystery to you, but we know them. This is perhaps the most important thing I do, providing a funeral when there was none.”

She paused while scattering more rose petals over the severely battered body of a woman. The woman is dark-skinned and Fortune’s light makes her broken corpse seem like a liquid black gold. Fortune’s eyes are moist with sad recognition. She briefly touched the dead woman’s head and the face reconstructs, glowing with Fortune’s golden aura so bright. “This one was stolen from her destiny, and enslaved by men. Her fate was entangled by money — as long as her body provided pleasure she made it with great ease, but the gold she earned never went to her. She could not own herself. In order to escape, she had to die. Her family does not know she died. She was beaten so badly, and on purpose, so no one can identify her. But I know her. See how beautiful she is? Death is kind to those who have suffered. Keep that in mind.”

I follow her as she moves on attend to other battered bodies, repairing them in death, touching and decorating each carefully.  I notice that behind her there rages a great, fiery furnace. There are two men completely clothed in black.  Completely void of any identity, they move like shadows, they are covered in a kind of opaque chiffon, wrapped up like mummies or ninjas, strips of the strange cloth cover every inch of their skin, it seems they are nothing but this fabric — without body and soul. Fortuna notices I’m disturbed by their presence.

“You see my workers?” She winks and smiles. “Pay them no mind. It is their fortune to carry the dead. They who kill cannot rise again to life until they answer for the burden of murder. Keep this also in your mind — write it down — share this — this is the killer’s burden. Murder is heavy on the soul. You cannot escape the fortune you take. Tell as many as possible. This should not occur anymore. People must know. Share what Fortune is telling you, Valentina, and your fortune will be assured.”

When I’m about to express some self-doubt, my thoughts are laid wide open for I stand before a goddess and she knows all. “Just do this, Valentina! You will see I will not forget you. You will prosper. This is not a fiction. Gold will follow these words.”

She says this as her workers, these shadow men, stir up the coals of the furnace. Quickly, they zip the dead back into their bags, some bodies into old-fashioned sacks, and one by one, the bodies’ are placed into the furnace like they are backing bread, beginning to melt into black puddles and then, without smoke, they disappear. When gone, there is no mess, no residue, no trace of them left behind. As the last body disappears, this place of death becomes cold and silver.

Funny how I associate “silver” with cold…

Dame Fortune blows me a kiss and sends me back to bed. Her voice is still in my head.

“I will reward you for following my wishes,” She said.

So let this be shared.  Let it be passed along.  May Fortune’s words of gold also be yours.

Thank you, Fortune, thank you.

**This dream was very important to me because, in the following year, my mother died, and it helped prepare me, in an unexpected way, for that life-changing event.  I began to understand more about life and death, yet also went through a series of emotional upheavals, that, I always discover, lead to breakthroughs (often our break-downs are breakthroughs in disguise).  Immediately after my mother’s death, when her body was sent away for cremation, I watched the documentary A Certain Kind of Death (about what happens to the dead with no next of kin), and not only was I reminded of this dream, that film brought me relief from my worries about what happens to bodies after they die. It’s the side of “fortune” we rarely examine — who will care for the physical parts of who we were after we’re gone, and will someone respect us when we’re dead? From what I saw in A Certain Kind of Death, even the unclaimed dead are treated with respect, a sobering prospect to ponder. One of my fears was dying alone and undiscovered like those stories you hear about in the news every now and then — no one wants to be known someday only as “that person” who died in a horrible circumstance where no one cared, or know someone who died alone undiscovered for a long while…  I truly believe the gods don’t forget us.**

The following is a list of the many aspects of this gracious goddess. Call upon any of her names below to ensure good fortune (derived from the page on Fortuna at Wikipedia:

Fortuna Annonaria brings the luck of the harvest
Fortuna Belli is the fortune of war
Fortuna Primigenia directs the fortune of a firstborn child at the moment of birth
Fortuna Virilis attends a man’s career, celebrated only by women
Fortuna Redux brings you safely home
Fortuna Respiciens — She is the fortune of the provider
Fortuna Muliebris is the luck of a woman (of note is the fortune of a woman in marriage was also Fortuna Virilis, tied to her husband’s career)
Fortuna Victrix brings victory in battle 
Fortuna Augusta is the fortune of the emperor
Fortuna Balnearis brings the fortune of the baths
Fortuna Conservatrix the fortune of the Preserver
Fortuna Equestris fortune of the Knights
Fortuna Huiusque Diei fortune of the present day
Fortuna Obsequens fortune of indulgence
Fortuna Privata fortune of the private individual
Fortuna Publica fortune of the people
Fortuna Romana fortune of Rome
Fortuna Virgo fortune of the virgin
Also something to note:
Pars Fortuna is your Lots of Fortune, or Part of Fortune; “time of birth” determining your fate that are calculated by the three degrees/angles of the major cosmic bodies that make up your Astrological natal chart — your Rising Sign (Ascendant), Moon, and Sun.

As you can see, the Goddess Fortuna, or Fortune, is incredibly involved in all aspects of life. The name Fortuna finds its root in the Latin fero, meaning “to bring, win, receive, or get”, hence why she was later associated with gambling luck. She was a very popular goddess in Ancient Rome, and today She is actively worshiped by Pagans, Witches, and many polytheists.

Awesome pages about the Goddess Fortuna and the people who worship Her:
The Obscure Goddess Online Directory: FORTUNA
Temple of the Goddess Fortuna
A Rite to Fortuna — Mirror of Isis, A Fellowship of Isis Publication

An art installment by Dawn DeDEAUX using imagery that is very close to my dream, so close it frightened me when I discovered it online: The Goddess Fortuna and Her Subjects In an Effort to Make Sense of it All — however it is a statement about

I’m Your New Year’s Baby

I sit here not knowing yet what to write, feeling obligated to put down words before the end of year 2012.  All around my body is a crushed black velvet robe; a birthday present I gave myself yesterday, and one I’m treasuring.  I’m treating myself the way I want to be spoiled.

I long imagined myself as a grand dame dressed in silks and this black velvet robe with heavenly slippers as shiny as silver, roaming the house with my trusty black cat, sometimes sitting at my desk — which once was a vanity dresser with a lit-up mirror like the ones showgirls use but converted into part writer’s desk, part artist’s drawing board, with a little Pagan altar facing northeast on the corner where a basil and citron candle softly burns — and peacefully meditating, taking in the silence as if my will alone has made all the world gone still.  I wonder…  why my desire for luxury and my penchant for setting a stage like this, making myself seem to play the part of a past life character (an actress, perhaps?) drives my happiness.  Of course I do not believe I am this character.  I believe in making believe, but not in believing in the realities I create.

I like dressing up.

New Year’s Eve has formality to it — when I go out, even if to only sip some bubbly and receive a hug (instead of that foreverly hoped-for kiss… someday it’ll happen, maybe next year, this year?) — I dress up, get my nails done, make my hair look and smell good enough to eat, bathe in perfume, and walk in high heels.  If you can’t get a kiss on New Year’s Eve (a kiss from a stranger is good luck for both you and the stranger), wear something new and shiny, preferably a hat or headband, anything to decorate your crown.  I do not know if it is an “official” tradition from any one culture, but I remember being told by my elders that showing off your crown was a sign of prosperity on New Year’s Eve.

Dress for the occasion and Fortune will reward you with many blessings in the year to come!

We meet the New Year in our finest clothes, be it to show off our wealth or to attend the funeral of the passing year.  But, better yet, could it be a custom, like I suspect, like a spell to welcome luxury?

I was born the day before the last day of the year.  Every time I get one year older, it almost happens unnoticed.  Celebrating my birthday is often postponed until days later after all the New Year’s hoopla.  Yet sometimes New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day feel like an extension of my birthday.  So, as I sit here in my butter-cream-soft black velvet, enjoying every silky-fuzzy warm sensation of wearing a prize to the point where I feel I am ‘the prize!’, I feel like the whole world is partying with me.  I love it.

I hope you’re having a good one.  Why don’t you come up and see me sometime, hmmm?

High Priestess: Personal Tarot for 2012

Each year I pick at random one Tarot card to represent myself for that year. For the year 2011 I chose Justice, for this year it is The High Priestess. The card I choose each year will tell me what challenges and blessings I can expect in the new year.  The card I pick will portend the role I will play in the lives of others, will predict in what direction events in my life will take, and what lesson I will learn this year.  Basically, it is like determining which way the wind will be blowing psychically.  If there was one special talent I have as a witch, it lies in divination.  Mixing potions and remedies gets a little too messy for me.  I find visions come to me naturally and that I find symbolism endlessly fascinating.  I spend a lot of my time studying dreams, crafting my own symbolic codes, and creating my own forms of cartomancy.  One card deck project in particular, one that I have been working on since 2006, I hope can be used to help bring joy to the sick and dying.  Someday soon I wish to write more about that, but for now I shall concentrate on just Tarot reading.

Justice: 2011 Year in Review
Last year, Justice taught me the importance of balance and morality, namely how to know when is the right time to act on my sense of rightness, knowing when I am acting out of a sense of selfishness and when out of a true sense of ethics, and how to pick my fights wisely — the lesson learnt was be careful not to get into any unnecessary battles.  I also learned that I cannot fight for every cause all at once, that sometimes I have to hold back and let those better suited and trained to fight to do their job (like letting the police investigate and apprehend a group of arsonists).  Justice is also about adjustment — I successfully met my health goal last year — I balanced my blood glucose!  I am continuing to make progress beating my diabetes.  Awesome, yes?  The transition from Justice to High Priestess means I am given the invitation to take steps beyond what I have so far accomplished.  She is a good omen card to have following Justice because it is good to start from a balanced foundation before one takes the next steps to manifest any kind of change.  Without that balanced, stable foundation, we would have a faulty, pipe-dream kind of foundation that will collapse the moment we build something solid on it.

My Annual Tarot Ritual
I am writing about my Personal Tarot for Year 2012 a bit late. I celebrate the new year on Samhain, which occurs on October 31st during the previous year, and the most suitable time to perform divination ritual. Besides being the Irish new year, it is celebrated as the Witches’ new year as well, a sort of respectful nod to our Irish cousins who have gifted us with their wisdom and ritual. My annual Tarot ritual may seem complicated, but it is not to me. I use one of my oldest, most worn and trusted Tarot decks, laying out only the Major Arcana (the 22 trump cards, not the minor pip cards that our playing card deck is based on). I use only the Major Arcana for the annual prediction because they represent the main events and themes in life. I go into trance, using the image on the Tarot card as a focus, and free-write the images and feelings I experience during the trance. Again, it seems more complicated or weird than it actually is. There is no secret trick to it, just some spiritual cooperation and, as some would say, creative visualization. Here is what was written during my trance last Samhain…

The Vision the High Priestess gave me…

Center spirals, openings opening up like never evers before — a freeing up from obstacles — a door opening that was once locked to me — an invitation. Revelation revealed revealing ritual repeating so it can be repeated and passed on and on. Between women, between friends, hands opening and closing over other hands, holding. The people will show you that they can be trusted, that there is time to trust, and let there be caution first, and slow ease in the dance as you learn to open to trust. The closer you are to the Quiet Things the more They will feel secure enough to whisper Their sweetness into You and the more They want it to be shared through you unto others and beyond, beyond and boldly flow outward into the world. But. There are some things left hidden beyond the curtain, left to imagination, left behind for others to discover and you must let them find it on their own, you must hold back your joy and not give it away too much, and wait on the other side to celebrate. Grace cannot be learned, or taught, it can, however, be experienced, cannot be owned, but lived with, allowed to flow, and you will learn to move with it. Moving with it alters you and becomes part of your behavior. Grace owns you. She is the series of spells that draw you further into the woman you are, the woman who wears the moon on her head, the woman with the lunar moth’s wings for hair, who cries tears of silver, the woman who stands between two halves of herself — one ugly, the other beauty — holding the book-map-key. Her words are curved, twisted, centering, spiraling, curling and uncurling circles. Do you know who you are at the gateway? Do you feel where you are at the curtain breathing? Is the window open? Can you hold the wind? Detect the draft? Do not invite mystery to kidnap you, “You will never be prepared,” She says, “because you still have living to do in this world. I am here to show you the dream of being what may become.” Let the mystery wait. And then the whispers floods and the words I write here cease to come. Her one voice is lost. My vision is disappearing and I run out of poetry to describe the sensation as I return from the trance.

The Interpretation
First, the traditional symbolism is thus revealed:
The two pillars, one black with the letter B for BOAZ, the other white with the letter J for JACHIN, represent the destructive and blissful sides of creation.
The scroll in the hands of the priestess with the word TORA means divine law.
The solar cross, with arms of equal length, on her breast is a symbol of elemental balance.
The Veil, or curtain, behind her is decorated with pomegranates to represent the vagina, and palms to represent the phallus — together both plants are the regenerative forces in nature = fertility.
The Crescent moon at her feet and her gown trailing on the floor is the stream of consciousness.

The High Priestess is the link between worlds, or different states of consciousness, she is a conduit, spokesperson for the Gods, yet also a keeper of mysteries. She can reveal secrets, but only to those who can be trusted to keep secrets safe. She can represent higher education, revealing to you information that wasn’t available to you before, letting you into a world or business or direction you weren’t able to earlier, yet it is still up to you to act within that realm. She is just the invitation and, sometimes guide. She is an especially awesome omen for women who value the arts and mysticism because she connects us with people of a like mind.

What it means for me this year…
Based on both the traditional symbolism and the vision I received, I am to take a more active spiritual role this year. I have for too long put aside the Witch to concentrate more on Valentina the ordinary person working on her health problems. Ever since my mother died I have sacrificed my way of worship and spiritual practice to make the people around me more comfortable. I felt an obligation to my conservative Christian mother to carry out her dying wishes, but now I feel that her spirit has given me the “okay” to be free and happy to worship God/dess in the beautiful and meaningful ways that bring me joy and comfort.

During my own bouts with illness, my religion has been a great and powerful force of comfort and motivation. I long to be with people like me again. I have kept myself too isolated, afraid that it has gotten too late for me to rejoin the dance. But you know what? It is NEVER too late. The High Priestess is telling me that my talents are not dormant, nor are the lessons I learned and the secrets I’ve kept wasted. All of the struggles I got over the last seven years were necessary to go through, and now the time is ripe (and right) for me to emerge again into the larger world. Even though I still have my doubts about how people will respond to me, especially when they learn I have battled and still cope with a mental illness, the High Priestess tells me that I’m not here to be perfect. She volunteers respect from others, she doesn’t demand it. My struggles are part of my story, and let that be a testament for you, too. Let your struggles not be your downfall, let them be the steps you took to victory.

There is much more I could write about the High Priestess, and there will be more to write about other personal predictions I have made for this year, but that will be another blog post for another time later.

Why do I use Tarot cards as a tool to foretell my own future? Why not just meditate without the cards and come up with a vision on my own? The answer is simple: I like Tarot cards. No. I love Tarot. It has been a primary interest of mine since I was a kid. The art and symbolism have always intrigued me. I never felt that they were evil or wrong or even mysterious, just pretty. I learned the cards fairly quickly, too. I have always been a natural reader. This is the way I like to do it.