The Order of the White Moon Goddess Gallery Presents


A Level II Final Project by Adept Angela Riversong for The Sacred Three Goddess School

(© 2014. All original material in this Project is under copyright protection and is the intellectual property of the author.)

Atargatis Altar created and photographed by Riversong

Atargatis is a Syrian Goddess of the moon and of the waters.1 She is also known by the names Derceto and Dea Syriae. She was born in the Euphrates, " Aphrodite from the foam of the sea."2 Local coins confirm that Atargatis was worshipped at Hierapolis, where she had her own shrine and rites.3

According to legend, Atargatis was the mother of the great Assyrian queen, Semiramis.4 Her mythical story tells us that, after causing the death of her mortal lover and Semiramis' father, Hadad, she jumped into a lake and assumed the form of a fish.5 The water, however, could not hide her divine nature, causing her to take the form of a woman above the waist and a fish below.6 For this reason, she has come to be known as the mermaid goddess.

In his work, De Dea Syria, Lucian of Samosata describes his visit to Atargatis' temple:

"There is too a lake in the same place, not far from the temple in which many sacred fishes of different kinds are reared. Some of these grow to a great size; they are called by names, and approach when called. I saw one of these ornamented with gold, and on its back fin a gold design was dedicated to the temple. I have often seen this fish, and he certainly carried this design.
The depth of the lake is immense. I never tested it myself, but they say that it is in depth more than 200 fathoms. In the midst of this lake stands an altar of stone. You would think at first sight that it was floating and moving in the water, and many deem that it is so. The truth seems to me that it is supported by a column of great size, based on the bottom of the lake. It is always decked with ribbons, and spices are therein, and many every day swim in the lake with crowns on their heads performing their acts of adoration." (pp. 45-46)

In her day, worshipers would immerse themselves in her sacred waters to offer praise. They would keep and adorn living fish in her honor. Atargatis was an aspect of the Universal Mother and her life-giving waters.

One way modern worshipers choose to honor and connect with Atargatis is to call out to her directly. Try sitting by a body of water and opening up to receive any messages that come through. You can hold a specific question in mind, or let the goddess' wisdom flow into the quiet. Afterward, write or draw what you experienced. Don't forget to leave a gift in her honor; consider leaving a treat for her sacred fish to enjoy.

Atargatis by Annie Stegg

I sat by flowing water one beautiful evening and asked Atargatis to tell me who she was...

I am...water
I am flow
I am you letting go

Roll with the waves
Follow the current

I am always guiding you
Moving you, gently leading you

To... where you need to be
who you need to be with
and what you need to do

...for your Spirit to grow.

If you listen closely, you will hear the sound of the waters rush by your ear as I advise you:

"Smile at that person..."
"Go to that gathering..."
"Act on that thought you just had!"

If you let me, I will guide you toward that which you already possess: a life filled with beauty, meaning, and love.
If you let me, I will wash away all that you do not need: fear, worry, anxiety, hurt, shame, and the like. Give it all to me. I will wash it away. If it comes back, I will wash it away again. We will do this work together. Together, we will uncover the real you. Radiant and joyful, loving and free.

I will teach you to follow your intuition, the goddess-within. I will teach you to free yourself to go as you are guided.

To flow.

Sometimes the waters are still
Then it is good to be calm.
Sometimes the waters rush over rocks
Then it is good to be flexible.
Sometimes you get stuck on the shore
Then it is good to be patient.
Sometimes the waters overflow
Then it is good to take the space that you need.
Sometimes the rains come
And it is time to be washed clean so you can begin again.

I have much to teach if you will but listen. Come to find me. Seek me at the water's edge. Dance as the rain pours down. Seek me in lakes and streams, Oceans and Rivers. Then, we can begin.

~Received by Riversong on June 17, 2014

Atargatis Chant Beads

Chant beads are one way to readily connect with the energy of the Goddess. As you continue to use the beads, the chants become second nature, and the mind becomes free to journey into Wholeness.

Using a physical object, such as a string of beads, is also helpful for sensory recall. If you are able to consistently use the beads to achieve a certain feeling or mind-state (peaceful, open, focused, etc.), then before long simply handling the beads will easily bring about that sacred state of being. You will be able to go deeper, quicker.

To make your own Atargatis chant beads, you will need:

45 small shell beads
4 large shell beads
One pendant to represent the Goddess (I used a mesmerizing ammonite spiral)
Beading wire

String your beads in 3 groups of 13, with 3 extra small beads on either side of your pendant.

Atargatis Chant Beads created and photographed by Riversong

For this sacred prayer time, I really wanted to focus on the life-giving power of water, its divine flow in our lives, and our connection with the watery realm of emotion. I wrote a chant to call in Atargatis' energy, and used pieces from other chants I learned from the Reclaiming community.

On the Goddess Pendant: Connect with the Divine in the form of the goddess, Atargatis.

On each of the next three beads, chant:

Atargatis, Mermaid Goddess,
Mother of the Sea.
Your waters flow through my veins,
Your love surrounds me.
On the first large bead, get in touch with the Spark of Divinity which resides within you. It is beautiful and radiant, just as you are beautiful and radiant. This radiance is our gift from the Goddess. The journey to self-realization is really a process whereby we work to uncover our true divine nature, our goddess-ness. We are all on our way back to Her. Chant on each of the 13 smaller beads:

We all come from the Goddess
and to Her we shall return
like a drop of rain
flowing to the Ocean

~Z. Budapest

On the second large bead, meditate on being Part of the Flow. Life on Earth originated in the Waters. That means that, in truth, every being is our brother and our sister. We could even say that every living being is a reflection of, or a part of, ourselves. Relax and begin to awaken feelings of compassion for yourself and others. Feel the connection. We are all in this together.

Chant on each of the 13 smaller beads:

The river is flowing
Flowing and growing
The river is flowing
Down to the sea

~from the Reclaiming chant book

On the third large bead, focus on your Desires and Emotions. Our thoughts not only affect our experiences, but they even create them. Spend some time visualizing what you truly desire - for yourself, for others, and for the world. If there is anything that is troubling or "blocking" you, give it away to the Ocean Mother, who transforms pain into growth, and makes muddy waters clear again.

Chant on each of the 13 smaller beads:

Born of Water
Cleansing, Powerful,
Healing, Changing,
We are!

~Women's Workshop

On the fourth large bead, again call to mind Atargatis. Thank Her for her presence and any insight/comfort/support/inspiration she may have provided you in this prayer time.

On each of the three final beads, chant:

Atargatis, Mermaid Goddess,
Mother of the Sea.
Your waters flow through my veins
Your love surrounds me.

Riversong's Mermaid Runes and Affirmations

Divination can be a powerful form of prayer. I and many others use it daily as a way to "check in" with the Higher Self or Guiding Goddess. I was inspired to make these runes with my daughter one afternoon. We each made a set with glass beads and a paint pen. Later, I asked Atargatis for a message from each form, and this is what came through. I have placed them on my altar in a glass bowl, and enjoy choosing an affirmation each day!

Atargatis Runes created and photographed by Riversong

Spiral: Look within. It is a good time to do some quiet meditation.

I go within to bring forth wisdom.
I go within to find my truth.

Comb: Nurture yourself. Take care of your body by giving it enough water, healthy foods, exercise and rest.

I take the time to listen to my body
and to give it what it needs.

Star: Make a wish. Voicing your wish is the first step toward manifestation.

My thoughts are powerful.
My thoughts create my experience.

Calm Waters: Flow. You can be sure that you are safe and supported by the Universe.

I relax and trust
that all things are working together
for the highest and best outcome for all.

Fish: Friends. Now is the time to seek out the company and/or help of others.

I am surrounded by
loving, kind, and
supportive friends.

Moon: Cycles. Pay attention to the cycles of the moon and how they affect your body and/or emotions.

I release the old and welcome the new.
The cycle continues
and I begin again.

Shell: Home matters. Arrange a space in your home that nourishes your spirit. Refresh and regroup with family.

My home is a warm and loving space.
It gives me comfort.

Trident: Protection. Stand up for what and in whom you believe.

I am the guardian
of that which I hold dear.

Harp: Music. Sing, chant, drum, or dance your feelings.

I express myself
through sacred song.

Heart: Love matters. You may be experiencing a new or renewed love. Passion and compassion are equally important.

My heart is open.
I am ready to give
and receive love.

Sun: Enlightenment. You have the ability to see things clearly now.

Everywhere I look,
there is beauty.

Rapids: Rough going. Remember that all challenges hold within them the possibility for growth.

When the waters get rough,
I will enjoy the ride.

Goddess: Atargatis. Call upon the goddess to bless and empower your intention. Atargatis, Ataratheh. Derketo, Dea Syriae.
Great Goddess of the Sea, may your power flow through me
like water.
Bless my work.
So mote it be.

  1. Matthews, John and Caitlin, The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures, Harper Collins Publishers, Hammersmith, London, 2005, p.43
  2. Lucian, The Syrian Goddess, Herbert A. Strong and John Garstang, 1913, at , . Note on 52:25
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid., fn 1, p.157
  5. Ibid., fn 1, p.157
  6. Ibid., fn 4

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