What is the Amalthean Horn
from which Aradia pours?
Someone wrote to me about the "Amalthean Horn" after reading a brief reference to the term on my website AradiaGoddess.com. She inquired if it was a reference to the Greek Amalthea and if so, what did Almathea have to do with Aradia.
I actually had quite a bit more information relating to the"Amalthean Horn" on AradiaGoddess.com, but this information was scattered all over the website. I thought it might be useful to organize the most relevant infomation onto one page.
So here is some background information about Amalthea, Amaltheia, Copia, cornucopia, Abundantia, Ops, Abundia, Habondia, Herodias/Herodiade/Erodiade, Herodiana, Fortuna, Tyche, and Aradia.
Readers will notice this short list is not arranged alphabetically. I have arranged the list so that the information on each item relates and feeds into the following items.
AmaltheaThese three short pages below contain information relating to the use of the term "Amalthean Horn" in Wicca.
Almathea was the she-goat that suckled the Greek God, Zeus, as an infant. Her horns flowed with nectar and ambrosia.
"Amalthean" is an adjective indicating something belonging to the she-goat from Greek mythology.
A Roman prophetess, Almatheia should not be confused with the Greek she-goat that suckled Zeus. She was the Cumaean Sibyl, the prophetess of the Sibyllian oracles of Rome. She brought nine books (scrolls) of oracular advice to Tarquin, the king. He refused to pay her asking price for the books. Almatheia promptly threw three books into the fire, and then increased the price for the remaining six. Again her price was refused. The Sibyl threw three more into the fire, and increased the price amount for the last three books. The king bought the remaining three without complaint. These three books remained in the temple of Jupiter (Father Jove) and were consulted as needed, until the temple was destroyed by fire in 83 bce.
A Roman Goddess of plenty, Copia's name survives in the word, cornucopia, "the horn of plenty," which she, and other fertility or harvest Goddesses, were depicted as holding.
The cornucopia ("horn of plenty" or "horn of Copia") is an ancient symbol of abundance, plenty, and nourishment. It is commonly a large horn-shaped container--often a wicker basket--overflowing with fruit, grain stalks, nuts, and other edibles. One of the best-known explanations of the origin of the cornucopia involved the goat Amalthea ("Nourishing Goddess") who fed and cared for the infant Zeus. One of her horns was removed by Zeus, and thereafter it had the divine power to provide unending food. Many different Goddeses and spirits have been depicted holding an overflowing cornucopia, including Gaia/Tellus Mater (Greek/Roman Mother Earth), Demeter/Ceres (Greek/Roman grain and agriculture Goddess), Spes (Roman personification of Hope), Aequitas (Roman personification of each Roman receiving a just share of what s/he needs), Tyche/Fortuna (Greek/Roman Goddess of luck), and many more.
In modern American culture, the cornucopia is often associated with the Pilgrim's holiday of Thanksgiving.
Although the cornucopia is a harvest symbol and Thanksgiving is the American harvest feast, there is some irony associating the symbol with a holiday founded by the Pilgrim Fathers. The symbol of the cornucopia would have been known in 17th century Europe and England as originating in classical art and liturature. For example, the walls of the Caesar of Vendome's bedroom in the French Chateau de Chenonceau are hung with a suite of three 17th century Brussels tapestries illustrating the ancient Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone. In the beautiful tapestry edges are represented the garlands of fruits and flowers coming from the cornucopia. However, it is unlikely that the 17th century Pilgrims would have ever approved of the cornucopia symbol because of its "paganish" associations.
Abundandia was a minor Roman Goddess who personified abundance. She does not seem to have had as large a following as Ops or Copia. Nevertheless, Abundantia entered homes during the night to bring prosperity. She was one of the Roman personified virtues. See Abundia and Habondia.
Ops was an ancient Etruscan Roman agricultural Goddess of abundance, personifying the earth's riches. Her name was invoked by farmers to bless seeds before planting. She was associated with Saturn. Her festivals were the Opalia on December 19 and Opeconsia on August 25. In August, Ops was worshipped while touching the ground. From her name, we derive the word "opulence."
Abundia was one of the leaders of the Game of the Good Society in medieval lore. Her name was related to Habondia and Dame Abunde, which were names of the medieval Queen of the Witches. Doubtless these names derive from the minor Roman Goddess Abundantia. The name "Abonde" is also found in the late 13th century Roman de la Rose. Thirdborn children were required to travel at night in spirit-form with "Abonde" (Abundia), three times a week to the homes of neighbors. Their bodies remained behind motionless as if in a deep sleep. If somone turned an immobile body face down while its spirit was abroad, the spirit would not be able to reenter the body. See Abundantia and Habondia.
Like Diana and Herodias (Erodiade), Habondia was one of the names of the medieval Queen of the Witches who led the "night flight." Her name, quite likely, derived from the Roman Abundantia, a minor Goddess who personified abundance. She was also a nocturnal spirit, as she was credited with entering the households of her followers at night to bring prosperity. See Abundantia and Abundia.
These names are alternate Italian spellings of Herodias. Herodiade is found in an article by J. B. Andrews, Neapolitan Witchcraft (Folk-Lore Transactions of the Folk-Lore Society, Vol III March, 1897 No.1) According to Sabina Magliocco, the letter "h" is not pronounced in Italian, and in eariler days was sometimes simply dropped in spelling.
The female spirit that led the night ride through the skies had several different names in Europe: Holda, Holle, Habondia, Noctiluca, Bensozia, and others.
Diana was named as the leader of this troop in the Canon Episcopi, circa 10th century. At some point, Herodias (Herodiade/Erodiade) became associated with Diana's night flight of the wild hunt. According to the Canon Episcopi, certain women professed that they flew with Diana on specific nights accompanied by a hoard of other women and spirits.
This name was a combination of the names of Herodiade and Diana in the 12th century in Italy. Herodiana was one of the legendary queens who led the faery-spirits (dominae nocturnae) who traveled abroad at night.
Carlo Ginzburg in his Ecstasies: Deciphering the witches' sabbath (1990) speculated that the nocturnal spirit refered to as Herodiana, could have orginally been "Hera-Diana."
Fortuna was the ancient Roman Goddess of destiny and luck. Her name means "she who brings," implying she brings good fortune. She was sometimes depicted blindfolded, holding a cornucopia, meaning she would sometimes blindly disburse her gifts of abundance and wealth.
Tyche ("luck" in Greek) was the ancient Greek Goddess that governed the prosperity and good fortune of a city, and, thus, the destiny of that city. Tyche's Roman equivalent was Fortuna. In medieval art, Tyche was depicted as carrying either a cornucopia, a ship's rudder, and/or the wheel of fortune, or she may stand on the wheel, presiding over the entire circle of fate.
"Aradia" was the name used by Charles G. Leland in Aradia or the Gospel of Witches (1889) as an alternate Italian spelling of Herodias (Herodiade/Erodiade). Leland claimed he had received some Italian folklore about Aradia, who was the daughter of Diana, the Roman Moon Goddess.
Wiccans identify Aradia as the Queen of the Witches and as an Italian Moon Goddess. In the "Amalthean Horn Prayer," Aradia pours forth her "store of love" from a cornucopia horn or drinking horn.
Cornucopia Coloring Page
Aradia the Healer
Farrar-Alexandrian Invocation of Aradia
Tyche and Aradia
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