The Little Star; Bearer of Roses
Also known as: Astgheek
Astghik is the spirit of water, beauty, love, joy, and fertility. She is a rose goddess, distributing love through the world by sprinkling it with rose-infused waters. She presides over the ritual act of asperging: sprinkling water or other liquids for purposes of protection, purification, and to demarcate sacred space.
Once when her beloved consort, Vahagan, was injured, Astghik rushed barefoot to his side. In her hurry, she accidentally trod on some thorny white roses: her spilled blood turned the roses red.
Iranian goddess Anahita eventually became very popular in Armenia, absorbing many of Astghik’s functions and titles. Astghik, once the primary spirit, became part of a triad with Anahita and with Astghik’s own consort. Theirs is reputedly a good relationship: they can be venerated together.
Hydrosols are the by-product of steam-distilled essential oils. When the oils are separated from the water, what was once pure spring water is now infused with the molecules of whatever plant was steam-distilled. Use rose hydrosol to call Astghik. Sprinkle it through the home, on her altar, or on yourself
Favored people: Astghik traditionally protects women. Those who cultivate roses are also under her dominion.
Iconography: Astghik is depicted as a beautiful naked woman in the act of swimming.
Time: Vardavar is Astghik’s ancient festival, originally timed to coincide with the rose harvest. Although Armenia became Christian in 301 CE, Vardavar was too beloved (and too much fun) to be abandoned, and so the formerly Pagan holiday was incorporated into the Church calendar as the Feast of the Transfiguration. During the festival, people drench each other with buckets of water. It is now usually celebrated 98 days after Easter.
Offerings: Roses, roses, roses! In addition to bouquets, plant rosebushes or offer rose scented soap or perfume. People once honored Astghik by releasing doves.
See also: Anahita
From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by :Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.