Brace yourselves for some back-door gnosis!
Cult of the Living Bull and AZO
I belong to a distinctly Discordian (*hem*) "tradition" called the Cult of the Living Bull. As a group, we began at the Starwood festival with the folks who tended the great big fires -- and the folks who passed water, danced, drummed, and generally kept the energy going around the fires. We have Bull God, AZO -- whose name is a magical device referring to everything to do with the fire from A to Z, and the "O's" (or circles) we make around the fire. We have some history and symbolism in our Discordian fire traditions, but the basic concepts are: fire, O's, red straps (suspenders -- as markers of membership), dancing, drumming, passing water, shouting Liber Resh vel Helios at dawn.
Morning Resh (facing the East):
"Hail unto Thee who art Ra in Thy rising, even unto Thee who art Ra in Thy
strength, who travellest over the Heavens in Thy bark at the Uprising of the
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Night!"
(We add:) "BUUUULLLLLLL!!!!!"
Essentially, when you have managed to stay up ALL NIGHT LONG by the fire, and you're there to great the sun with the folks who have been keeping that fire going all night, you've put a lot of energy into the thing -- and gotten a lot out. The thing you MUST remember, though, is that it's all BULL!!!! Or, more importantly, let go of the BULL.
Sisterhood of Wholly Chao and OZA
Okay, the women of the Cult of the Living Bull at Our Haven (in French Lick, Indiana) witnessed the beginning of a new deity within the pantheon of the Cult. Well, we thought she was new, but I'll get to her potentially ancient roots in a moment. Let me begin by introducing her as we were introduced.
At the Women's Goddess Retreat in 2009, one of our circles was an evening fire circle, and the women of Fyre Trybe were asked to step forward. There were something like 14 of us, and we named another 6-8 that hadn't been able to make it. We realized in that moment how many women were in the Cult of the Living Bull just at Our Haven.
Prior to that night, some of us had teased about being "Concubines of the Living Bull" because we lost our men to the fire, she was their first wife and we were on the sidelines. But standing there together, tending the fire with the just the women, we realized that we had a helluva lot of firetenders among us -- women who LOVED the fire as much as the men. Someone said, "We are the Sisterhood of the Holy Cow" (later re-spelled Wholly Chao), and we gave that female cow the name OZA, the same letters and meaning as her male consort (just backwards) -- the O's we do around the fire and everything from Z to A. Her chant is a serene one, "Ooooom" (Moo, backwards).
Now, I've seen Deities created before. Manbat, Lobo, Mabel the Parking Goddess. But I'm starting to think OZA was already around and we merely recognized her. Let me share with you a passage that I found in Paul Friedrich's The Meaning of Aphrodite. He is writing about a Vedic Goddess of the Dawn.
"Ushas (usas) is herself radiantly beautiful and white or golden in color; 'she rises, light and clothes in white, from out of the darkness.' Her rays are repeatedly described as (depending on the passage and translator) red, purple, ruddy or red-tinted and are said to resemble cows, oxen, or steeds of these colors dispersing from their stalls; she is sometimes called 'the mother of cows.' She mounts the heavens in a large shining chariot drawn by ruddy beasts."
He goes on to describe how she is associated with dancing, fire, water and walking or making paths.
The last thing he says of her is that "the full signification of Ushas combines cosmic order with cosmic ambiguity."
So, from the similarities in the name of the Goddess, to the attributes, to the cow itself, it seems to me that the Sisterhood of the Wholly Chao, and our beloved OZA, taps into something old and deep and awesome. For what it's worth, I wanted to share it with you all. Oom!