“I” words worth sharing

As I have been reading through the Pagan Blog Project Facebook page I have heard that many are struggling with “I” topics. I am no exception to this. I was going to do inspiration, but it wasn’t really inspiring me. Before I sat down to force a blog on inspiration (which wouldn’t really be very inspiring) I thought I should check my beloved book, Barbara G. Walkers “The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets”. This book has saved me many times, and once again Ms. Walker did not let me down. In fact she did just the opposite. She left me with a list of “I” topics that were very interesting to me. I am a Gemini, and therefore choosing a favorite has always been difficult, so I struggled for awhile trying to choose which “I” to write about. Still unable to pick one, I decided to do something a little different. I’m going to share a little blurb about the four “I’s” I found to be the most intriguing….this is another Gemini characteristic, by the way. We love to know a little bit about a lot of things, rather than know a whole lot about one thing.

Here is my list of interesting “I” topics:

Iao– A common and secret name for God that’s great to use in spells, charms, and invocations. The word originated with the Neoplatonic mystics, which Wikipedia describes as a “school of mythical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and Platonists.” These mystics though Iao to be the essence of the pagan god Lagos, who I can find no information on. The Orphics, another religious group from Ancient Greece, said Iao was the same as Dionysus. Christians of the Middle Ages said Iao was Jesus.

 Iblis– the Arabic name for Shaytan, or Satan. Iblis was the leader of the djinn, who are supernatural genie type creatures mentioned in the Qur’an and commonly found in Arab folklore.

Ichor– Originally this was Homer’s word for the “blue blood” of the gods, which made these gods both blue and immortal. We commonly see these blue gods in the sacred art of India. In the European Middle Ages, these gods became reviled, as did their mystical blood. Now, instead of meaning magical blue gods blood, Ichor means watery purulent discharge. Medieval churchmen claimed this was the blood of devils and the word has also been used to describe the blood of insects.


 And for the last one….I probably could’ve just written on this last topic, but aren’t you, the reader, a little bit better having read about Iao, Iblis, and Ichor?

 Izanagi and Izanami– Warning! This one’s a little steamy….. These folk are the Japanese male-female creators, IE, this pair discovered sex. Izanami, the female, is the uterine Deep and Izanagi is the phallic lightning bolt. Izanagi used his lightning bolt to churn Izanami’s uterine Deep into movement and from this movement life, or creation, was born. They were known as the Male Who Invites and the Female Who Invites and Joseph Campbell shares this wonderful myth in one of his books (I would love to provide the name of the book, but I am referencing the myth from Walker’s encyclopedia, and although she provides an excellent bibliography, she only states that this myth is taken from Campbell.  When I look him up in her sources there is a list of many Campbell books, and unfortunately I do not know which book the following story is taken from). 

                His Augustness, the Male Who Invites, inquired of Her Augustness, the Female Who Invites, “In what manner is your body made?” She replied, “My body in its thriving grows, but there is one part that does not grow together.” And His Augustness the Male Who Invites said to her: “My body in its thriving also grows, but there is one part that grows in excess. Therefore, would it not seem proper that I should introduce the part of my body in excess into the part of your body that does not grow together, and so procreate territories?” 

In the earliest tales of Izanami, she gives birth to all things, but in later tales this privilege is revoked. She almost burns to death while giving birth to fire, and from there Izanami has a pretty rough life. After the burning she goes to the underworld where she becomes a sea-monster. Izanagi goes to find her but she cannot return because she has eaten underworld fruit. Oh dear….sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And on that note, it is fascinating to me that these similar tales appear in many different cultures. These similarities help me to believe there is some truth in these mythical stories, but I’ll save that for later. Now back to Izanami and Izanagi…..

After being unable to retrieve Izanami, Izanagi becomes spooked by her sea-monsterness and flees. She chases him with an army of storm dragons, but Izanagi knows how to handle it. He tosses peaches at the dragons which they cannot resist stopping to pick up, as peaches are the yonic fruit of life.

Here we have an interesting turn of events. Izanagi performs magical purifications which allow HIM to give birth to beings. He bears a sun goddess from his left eye, a moon god from his right (an interesting switch, as in many myths the sun is masculine and the moon is feminine), and a dragon slaying hero from his nose. 

And what about Izanami? She remains in the underworld and also gives birth to a number of deities. But, as fate would have it, all of Izanami’s deity “children” are evil spirits.

With that I complete my little list of interesting “I” topics. Those were all new to me and maybe new to some readers as well. Each one of those had a particular resonance with me that called me to share. I hope one of them also resonated with you!    

But before I go, let me take a moment to once again shout out “The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets”. It’s such a cool book! I got it many years ago when I was a young, 19 year old budding pagan. It may have even been my first pagan type book. I had many astrology books, but I was just venturing into true paganism. I found the book on clearance at a really cool bookstore in Petaluma, California while visiting my aunt. My aunt, mom, and cousin were all with me and no one batted an eye when I bought this pagany encyclopedia….thanks family. Over the years I have spent a lot of time with this book, as it has the most eclectic assortment of entries. And I’m sure I will continue to turn to it for inspiration for the Pagan Blog Project, especially when we get to the letter “x”.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Bad Witch
    May 05, 2012 @ 02:43:54

    Love it. I want to write about all of these now . . .


  2. The Bad Witch
    May 05, 2012 @ 05:29:25

    Plus, I never thought of the The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets as a Pagan book. I was given it by my Senior Seminar leader in the 80s. I always write about how my Religious Studies teacher was also my first Pagan mentor; now I’m starting to rethink my relationship with my English teacher!!


    • chinacat27
      May 05, 2012 @ 06:08:01

      That’s why I called that book “pagany”. I don’t think it qualifies in the full-blown pagan book category, but it has a lot of good pagan stuff in there. I love that an English teacher gave you that book! I hope some of my students look back on their days with me like that 🙂


  3. Cin
    May 05, 2012 @ 14:15:25

    🙂 awesome post! some good stuff there. 🙂


  4. A Changing Altar
    May 06, 2012 @ 07:50:09

    Maybe it’s the Dionysian in me, but the story of Izanami and Izanagi reminds me of Persephone.

    Persephone (Daughter of Mother Earth) copulates, with varying degrees of consent, I’ll admit, with Zeus (whose symbol is lightning) and gives birth to Dionysus (Fertility and growth; all things new and fresh).

    Persephone eats fruit of the underworld and is forced to stay there for half the year, where one of her only consorts is Hekate (whose retinue is a host of potentially evil spirits).

    Obviously they aren’t exact copies of each other, but I couldn’t help but notice a few interesting parallels.

    Excellent post, China Cat!
    And if you think the I’s were hard, imagine what the J’s are gonna be like! Yikes!


  5. Trackback: Quintessence « The World According to ChinaCat

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