December seems to have more holidays than the rest of the year put together. Days to honor Ix Chel, the Virgin of Guadalupe, St. Lucy (aka Santa Lucia), the Declaration of Human Rights, and the publication of the Rider-Waite Tarot. Saturnalia. Hanukkah. Christmas. Kwanza. Yule. Innumerable reasons to go shopping for gifts and banquets. Here, to help you survive the holiday season, are two Found Goddesses.
Who, you may ask, is a Found Goddess? The term comes from Found Goddesses, published in 1988 by Morgan Grey and Julia Penelope. Found Goddesses are modern ones that we invent to deal with modern issues that the classical pantheons can probably not cope with. Like going to the mall and cleaning our houses before our guests arrive. (Note that I’ve rewritten these pieces a bit to bring them more or less up to date.)
First, think back a few years to before we did all our shopping online. We spent all day at the mall, where we bought our holiday gifts and carted them home in big shopping bags. Let’s go shopping with Tante Tchotchke.
Goddess of Shopping
Actually, this Found goddess has always been familiar to Witches and other Neopagans…and anyone else who likes a bargain, for she is always manifest at fairs and in the malls and boutiques. She’s our own pagan Auntie Mame, our Goddess of Good Things.
Our Tante loves us. That’s why she spends so much quality time with us. We have only to pick up her Sacred Shopping Bag (these days, properly canvas or some recycled material) and utter her magical incantation—
Yard sale, antique shop,
Watch me, here I come!
Goodies there, and treasures, too,
You bet I’ll find me some!
—and here she is. She’s beside us in the craft and gift stores as early as September when the little papier-mâché witchies go on sale. In December, She guides us through the cushiest consignment shops, where the grandest velvet skirts and beaded shawls just seem to fall into our hands. In Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift stores, she leads us to exactly what we want, for she knows exactly where to find shoes to die for at prices we can live with. And gifts for other people, too.
Shopping in all the best places, our Tante leads us to gifts for everyone on our list—kitchen supplies, gardening supplies, books, DVDs and CDs, and cell phones, iPhones, and apps. Yes, this goddess takes good care of us.
Hail and welcome, Blessed Tchotchke,
Bearer of the Shopping Bag of Life.
Inspired Finder of what we can’t live without,
Saturday morning yard sale co-pilot—
Lend us your bargain radar, the cornucopia of your wallet.
Teach us the meaning of your holy mantra:
Too Much Is Never Enough.
And now that we’ve been shopping, we have to go home and wrap our gifts. And then, because we’re so busy and the house is always a mess, we have to clean every room before our guests arrive. Who is our divine helper? You guessed it—
The Queen of Clean
Goddess of Good Housekeeping
Here is a true Goddess for all lands and seasons. The Queen of Clean is the Found Goddess of just about Ten Thousand Names. As we get out the dustcloth and the sponge and prepare to vacuum the cat hair out of the carpet, we can invoke Her in any of Her multitudinous manifestations: Sultana of Swab, Our Lady of Ablution, Hagia Hygienica, Maiden of the Mop, Mother Laundry, Crone of Cleanser, Dowager of Disinfectant, Empress of Pumice, Pristine Princess, Duchess of the Duster, Wench of the Whiskbroom, Grisette of Degreasing, Dame of Dry Cleaning, Señora Scrub, Frau Spick’n’Span, Madame Fumigaterie, Soeur Sanitique, Tsarina of Tsterilization, Abbess of Antisepsis, Witch of Washing, Hag of the Hoover, and (finally—whew) the Three Clean Sisters: Detergencia, Immaculata, and Cleanessa.
Mother was right, you know. Cleanliness is next to impossible. But you still have to clean your room. And the whole darn house.
So come on, gals and guys, do it with a happy heart! Meditate while you’re washing dishes. Sing while you’re scrubbing the grout in the shower. Give thanks while you’re dusting all those nice little tchotchkes your Tante bought you. Dance while you’re mopping the kitchen floor. Think of all those poor people who don’t have floors to scrub and tables to dust and toilets to clean. Remember how lucky you are.
The Queen of Clean, who is no doubt closely related to Our Lady of Guilt [the Found Goddess of Modern Motherhood], wants us to keep a tidy home. “A new broom sweepeth clean,” She reminds us, and, “Create in Me a clean heart, and renew the right spirit in Me.” Sometimes She’ll quote, “When I was in love with you, then I was clean and brave and…how well I did behave.” And occasionally even Shakespeare comes to mind: “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood from my hand?” But She’ll never, ever say, “Let other people clean up the mess we’ve made.”
The Goddess bids us to be clean, and the least we can do is cheer Her and Her Tidy Helpers on as They work:
Tote that barge, lift that bale,
Wield that mop, fill that pail.
Ignore each broken fingernail,
And clean, clean, clean.
Scrub it out! Wash it out!
Whisk it out! Sweep it out!
Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (www.barbaraardinger.com), is a published author and freelance editor. Her newest book is Secret Lives, a novel about grandmothers who do magic. Her earlier nonfiction books include the daybook Pagan Every Day, Finding New Goddesses (a pun-filled parody of goddess encyclopedias), and Goddess Meditations. When she can get away from the computer, she goes to the theater as often as possible—she loves musical theater and movies in which people sing and dance. She is also an active CERT (Community Emergency Rescue Team) volunteer and a member (and occasional secretary pro-tem) of a neighborhood organization that focuses on code enforcement and safety for citizens. She has been an AIDS emotional support volunteer and a literacy volunteer. She is an active member of the Neopagan community and is well known for the rituals she creates and leads.