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Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Goddess Libera

Attribute: Vulva
Sacred Day: March 17, the Liberalia
Offerings: Vulva shaped candles

Libera, in her original Roman conception, was a goddess who presided over the fertility of women and especially the reception of semen. A representation of the female genitalia was kept in her temple. Libera is the feminine counterpart of Liber. She is the goddess of libido; spirit of irrepressible female vitality. Liber guards seed; Libera makes sure that seed is planted in a fertile, nurturing environment. The relationship between Liber and Libera is not entirely clear. She may be his:
  • Sister
  • Wife
  • Daughter
  • Some or all of the above
In their most ancient manifestations, Liber and Libera may have been the Italian equivalent of sacred yang and yin energy. Eventually Liber was considered to be the spouse of Ceres with Libera as their daughter. Under Greek and Roman influence, Libera became identified with Persephone. (The logic being that if Ceres is identified with Demeter; then her daughter must be Persephone.)

Liber and Libera were also identified with Dionysus and Ariadne. Less is now known about Libera than Liber possibly because no matter how offended later Christian commentators were by Liber's phallic processions, Libera's, which displayed vaginal images, must have been even more shocking.

She is sometimes referred to as "the female Bacchus", perhaps because of her close association with the similarly named Liber.

IconographyStatues of Libera sometimes depict her as Persephone or Ariadne. She may also be represented by cleft stones or images of female genitalia.

From: Encyclopedia of Spirits and other sources

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