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Goddesses/Gods
Depending on what tradition or spiritual path you choose, you may wish to incorporate some, none, or all of the Goddesses and Gods below in your practice. There are literally thousands of Goddesses and Gods, these are some of the more "popular" ones some Witches choose to honor.

Goddesses

Aphrodite (Greek)

Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. In the most famous version of her myth, her birth was the consequence of a castration: Cronus severed Uranus' genitals and threw them behind him into the sea. The foam from his genitals gave rise to Aphrodite (for which reason she is called "foam-arisen"). She floated ashore on a scallop shell. This image of a fully mature "Venus rising from the sea" was one of the iconic representations of Aphrodite. Aphrodite had no childhood: in every image and each reference she is born as an adult, nubile, and infinitely desirable. She is often depicted nude in many of the images she is in. Aphrodite, in many of the late anecdotal myths involving her, is characterized as vain, ill-tempered and easily offended. Though she is one of the few gods of the Greek Pantheon to be actually married, she is frequently unfaithful to her husband.


Artemis (Greek)

Goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. The deer and the cypress were sacred to her. In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth. Artemis believed that she had been chosen by the Fates to be a midwife, particularly since she had assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin brother, Apollo. All of her companions remained virgins, and Artemis closely guarded her own chastity. Her symbols included the golden bow and arrow, the hunting dog, the stag, and the moon.


Athena (Greek)

Goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill. Athena is also a shrewd companion of heroes and is the goddess of heroic endeavour. Though Athena is a goddess of war strategy, she disliked fighting without purpose and preferred to use wisdom to settle predicaments. The goddess only encouraged fighting for a reasonable cause or to resolve conflict. As patron of Athens she fought in the Trojan war on the side of the Achaeans. Athena never had a consort or lover and is thus known as Athena Parthenos, "Virgin Athena". Her most famous temple, the Parthenon, on the Acropolis in Athens takes its name from this title. It is not merely an observation of her virginity, but a recognition of her role as enforcer of rules of sexual modesty and ritual mystery.


Bastet (Egyptian)

Originally she was viewed as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt. As protector, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh, and consequently of the later chief male deity, Ra, who was also a solar deity, gaining her the titles Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra. She is depicted as either a fierce lioness or a woman with the head of a lion. In the first millennium BC, when domesticated cats were popularly kept as pets, Bastet began to be represented as a woman with the head of a cat and ultimately emerged as the Egyptian cat-goddess. Her name was related with the lavish jars in which Egyptians stored their perfume. Bast thus gradually became regarded as the goddess of perfumes, earning the title, perfumed protector. Because domestic cats tend to be tender and protective of their offspring, Bast also was regarded as a good mother, and she was sometimes depicted with numerous kittens. Consequently, a woman who wanted children sometimes wore an amulet showing the goddess with kittens, the number of which indicated her own desired number of children.


Ceres (Roman)

Goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. Ceres' name may derive from the hypothetical Proto-Indo-European root *ker, meaning "to grow", which is also a possible root for many English words, such as "create", "cereal", "grow", "kernel", "corn", and "increase". The word cereals derives from Ceres, commemorating her association with edible grains. Statues of Ceres top the domes of the Missouri State Capitol and the Vermont State House serving as a reminder of the importance of agriculture in the states' economies and histories. There is also a statue of her on top of the Chicago Board of Trade Building, which conducts trading in agricultural commodities.


Ceridwen (Celtic)

Goddess of rebirth, transformation, and inspiration. According to the late medieval Tale of Taliesin, Morfran was hideously ugly, so Ceridwen sought to make him wise. She had a magical cauldron that could make a potion granting the gift of wisdom and poetic inspiration. The mixture had to be boiled for a year and a day. Morda, a blind man, tended the fire beneath the cauldron, while Gwion Bach, a young boy, stirred the concoction. The first three drops of liquid from this cauldron gave wisdom; the rest was a fatal poison. Three hot drops spilled onto Gwion's thumb as he stirred, burning him. He instinctively put his thumb in his mouth, and instantly gained great wisdom and knowledge. Ceridwen chased Gwion. He turned himself into a hare. She became a greyhound. He became a fish and jumped into a river. She turned into an otter. He turned into a bird; she became a hawk. Finally, he turned into a single grain of corn. She then became a hen and ate him. When Ceridwen became pregnant, she knew it was Gwion and resolved to kill the child when he was born. However, when he was born, he was so beautiful that she couldn't do it. She threw him in the ocean instead, sewing him inside a leather-skin bag. The child did not die, but was rescued on a Welsh shore – near Aberdyfi according to most versions of the tale – by a prince named Elffin ap Gwyddno; the reborn infant grew to became the legendary bard Taliesin. In Wicca, Ceridwen is a goddess of change and rebirth and transformation, and her cauldron symbolises knowledge and inspiration.


Cleopatra (Greek)

Goddess of love and sexuality. She was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, a family of Greek origin that ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great's death during the Hellenistic period. The Ptolemies, throughout their dynasty, spoke Greek and refused to speak Egyptian, which is the reason that Greek as well as Egyptian languages were used on official court documents such as the Rosetta Stone. By contrast, Cleopatra did learn to speak Egyptian and represented herself as the reincarnation of an Egyptian goddess, Isis. In most depictions, Cleopatra is portrayed as a great beauty, and her successive conquests of the world's most powerful men are taken as proof of her aesthetic and sexual appeal. The ancient sources, particularly the Roman ones, are in general agreement that Cleopatra killed herself by inducing an Egyptian cobra to bite her.


Demeter (Greek)

Goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sanctity of marriage, the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon. Demeter's greatest gifts to humankind were agriculture, particularly of cereals, and the Mysteries which give the initiate higher hopes in this life and the afterlife. These two gifts were intimately connected in Demeter's myths and mystery cults. In Homer's Odyssey she is the blond-haired goddess who separates the chaff from the grain. In Hesiod, prayers to Zeus-Chthonios and Demeter help the crops grow full and strong. Demeter's emblem is the poppy, a bright red flower that grows among the barley.


Diana (Roman)

Goddess of the hunt and moon and birthing, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. Diana was worshiped in ancient Roman religion and is revered in Roman Neopaganism and Stregheria. Dianic Wicca, a largely feminist form of the practice, is named for her. Diana was known to be the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses, Diana, Minerva and Vesta, who swore never to marry. The celestial character of Diana is reflected in her connection with light, inaccessibility, virginity, and her preference for dwelling on high mountains and in sacred woods. Diana therefore reflects the heavenly world (diuum means sky or open air) in its sovereignty, supremacy, impassibility, and indifference towards such secular matters as the fates of mortals and states. At the same time, however, she is seen as active in ensuring the succession of kings and in the preservation of humankind through the protection of childbirth.


Eirene (Greek)

Goddess of Peace. She was the was the personification of peace, and was depicted in art as a beautiful young woman carrying a cornucopia, sceptre and a torch or rhyton. She is said sometimes to be the daughter of Zeus and Themis.


Eos (Greek)

Goddess of the dawn, who rose each morning from her home at the edge of the Oceanus. The dawn goddess Eos was almost always described with rosy fingers or rosy forearms as she opened the gates of heaven for the Sun to rise. In Homer, her saffron-coloured robe is embroidered or woven with flowers; rosy-fingered and with golden arms, she is pictured on Attic vases as a beautiful woman, crowned with a tiara or diadem and with the large white-feathered wings of a bird. Thus Eos, preceded by the Morning Star, is seen as the genetrix of all the stars and planets; her tears are considered to have created the morning dew. This rosy-fingered, saffron-robed and golden-throned goddess, who goes up to Olympus to announce the light to the immortals, fell in love several times, and some say it was Aphrodite who cursed her to be perpetually in love, because once had Eos lain with Aphrodite's sweetheart Ares, god of war.


Epona (Celtic)

Goddess of fertility, as shown by her attributes of a patera, cornucopia, ears of grain and the presence of foals in some sculptures suggested that the goddess and her horses were leaders of the soul in the after-life. Protector of horses, donkeys, and mules. On Mackinac Island, Michigan, Epona is celebrated each June with stable tours, a blessing of the animals and the Epona and Barkus Parade. Mackinac Island, Michigan does not permit any personal automobiles: the primary source of transportation remains the horse, so celebrating Epona has special significance on this island in the Upper Midwest.


Ereshkigal (Mesopotamia Mythology)

Goddess of the land of the dead or underworld. Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler. Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom. Believed to symbolize the changing of the seasons, but perhaps also intended to illustrate certain doctrines developed dating back to the Mesopotamia period.


Freyja (Norse Mythology)

Goddess of love, beauty, fertility, gold, war, and death. Freyja is the owner of the necklace Brísingamen, rides a chariot driven by two cats, owns the boar Hildisvíni, and possesses a cloak of falcon feathers. Freyja assists other deities by allowing them to use her feathered cloak, is invoked in matters of fertility and love, and is frequently sought after by powerful jötnar who wish to make her their wife. Freyja's husband, the god Óđr, is frequently absent. She cries tears of red gold for him, and searches for him under assumed names.


Frigg (Norse Mythology)

Major Goddess in Norse Paganism, a subset of Germanic paganism. She is said to be the wife of Odin, and is the "foremost among the goddesses" and the queen of Asgard. Frigg appears primarily in Norse mythological stories as a wife and a mother. She is also described as having the power of prophecy yet she does not reveal what she knows. Frigg is described as the only one other than Odin who is permitted to sit on his high seat and look out over the universe. Frigg's name means "love" or "beloved one". Frigg was a goddess associated with married women. She was called up by women to assist in giving birth to children, and Scandinavians used the plant Lady's Bedstraw as a sedative, they called it Frigg's grass.


Hathor (Egyptian)

Goddess of love, beauty, music, dance, motherhood and joy. She was one of the most important and popular deities throughout the history of Ancient Egypt. Hathor was worshiped by Royalty and common people alike in whose tombs she is depicted as "Mistress of the West" welcoming the dead into the next life. In other roles she was a goddess of music, dance, foreign lands and fertility who helped women in childbirth, as well as the patron goddess of miners. Hathor is commonly depicted as a cow goddess with head horns in which is set a sun disk with Uraeus. Twin feathers are also sometimes shown in later periods as well as a menat necklace. Hathor may be the cow goddess who is depicted from an early date on the Narmer Palette and on a stone urn dating from the 1st dynasty that suggests a role as sky-goddess and a relationship to Horus who, as a sun god, is "housed" in her.


Hebe (Greek)

Goddess of youth. Hebe was the cupbearer for the Gods and Goddesses of Mount Olympus, serving their nectar and ambrosia, until she was married to Heracles. She also drew baths for Ares and helped Hera enter her chariot. Hebe is usually depicted wearing a sleeveless dress. Hebe was also worshipped as a Goddess of pardons or forgiveness; freed prisoners and would hang their chains in the sacred grove of her sanctuary.


Hecate (Greek)

Goddess of crossroads, entrance-ways, fire, light, the Moon, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, necromancy and sorcery. She has rulership over earth, sea and sky, as well as a more universal role as Saviour, Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul. Today Hecate is claimed as a goddess of witches, who sometimes refer to her as a "crone goddess", although this conflicts with her characterization as a virgin and occasionally as a mother in all classical and historical sources. It has been justified by her role as a triple goddess, which some modern-day Wiccans associate with the concept of 'the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone', an interpretation made popular by Robert Graves in The White Goddess, but which has no obvious parallel in the ancient world. This association is rooted in the 20th century with the occult author Aleister Crowley being the first to name her as a crone; historical depictions and descriptions show her facing in three different directions, but (with the exception of the later Greek Magical Papyri which sometimes refer to her having the heads of animals) always with the same maiden face and body. As a virgin goddess, she remained unmarried and had no regular consort, though some traditions named her as the mother of Scylla. Although associated with other moon Goddesses such as Selene, she ruled over three kingdoms; the earth, the sea, and the sky. She had the power to create or hold back storms, which influenced her patronage of shepherds and sailors.


Hera (Greek)

Goddess of women and marriage. Hera was most known as the matron goddess, but she presided over weddings as well. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her. Hera's mother was Rhea and her father Cronus. Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the polos (a high cylindrical crown worn by several of the Great Goddesses), Hera may bear a pomegranate in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium poppy. Hera was known for her jealous and vengeful nature, most notably against Zeus's lovers and offspring, but also against mortals who crossed her, such as Pelias. Paris offended her by choosing Aphrodite as the most beautiful Goddess, earning Hera's hatred.


Hestia (Greek)

Goddess of the hearth, architecture, and the right ordering of domesticity, the family and the state. Hestia received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household. She was also offered the first and last libations of wine at feasts. In the public domain, the hearth of the prytaneum functioned as her official sanctuary. Hestia is a goddess of the first Olympian generation, along with Demeter and Hera. She was a daughter of the Titans Rhea and Cronus, and sister to three gods; Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. She is identified with the hearth as a physical object, and the abstractions of community and domesticity, but portrayals of her are rare, and seldom secure. In classical Greek art, she is occasionally depicted as a woman, simply and modestly cloaked in a head veil. She is sometimes shown with a staff in hand.


Inanna (Sumerian)

Goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. Inanna's name is commonly taken from Nin-anna "Queen of Heaven" (from Sumerian NIN "lady", AN "sky"). Inanna's symbol is an eight-pointed star or a rosette. Inanna was associated with the celestial planet, Venus. She was associated with lions – even then a symbol of power – and was frequently depicted standing on the backs of two lionesses. Her cuneiform ideogram was a hook-shaped twisted knot of reeds, representing the doorpost of the storehouse (and thus fertility and plenty). Inanna seems unpredictable in her actions, being both the goddess of love and war, having both masculine and feminine qualities, and occasionally throwing fits.


Indunn (Norse Mythology)

Goddess of apples and youth. The name Indunn has been variously explained as meaning "ever young", "rejuvenator", or "the rejuvenating one. The Prose Edda relates that Loki was once forced by the Jotunn Pjazi to lure Indunn out of Asgard and into a wood, promising her interesting apples. Pjazi, in the form of an eagle, snatches Indunn from the wood and takes her to his home. Indunn's absence causes the gods to grow old and gray, and they realize that Loki is responsible for her disappearance. Loki promises to return her and, in the form of a falcon, finds her alone at Pjazi's home. He turns her into a nut and takes her back to Asgard. After Pjazi finds that Indunn is gone, he turns into an eagle and furiously chases after Loki. The gods build a pyre in Asgard and, after a sudden stop by Loki, Pjazi's feathers catch fire, he falls, and the gods kill him.


Iris (Greek)

Goddess of the sea and the sky. Iris is the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. Iris links the gods to humanity. She travels with the speed of wind from one end of the world to the other, and into the depths of the sea and the underworld. Iris carries a caduceus or winged staff. By command of Zeus, the king of the gods, she carries an ewer of water from the River Styx, with which she puts to sleep all who perjure themselves. Goddess of sea and sky, she is also represented as supplying the clouds with the water needed to deluge the world, consistent with her identification with the rainbow.


Isis (Egyptian)

Goddess of Nature and Magic. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the patron of nature and magic. She was the friend of slaves, sinners, artisans, and the downtrodden, and she listened to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats, and rulers. Isis is often depicted as the mother of Horus, the hawk-headed god of war and protection (although in some traditions Horus's mother was Hathor). Isis is also known as protector of the dead and goddess of children. The name Isis means "Throne". Her headdress is a throne. As the personification of the throne, she was an important representation of the pharaoh's power. The pharaoh was depicted as her child, who sat on the throne she provided. Isis was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, goddess of the Sky, and she was born on the fourth intercalary day. She married her brother, Osiris, and she conceived Horus by him. Isis was instrumental in the resurrection of Osiris when he was murdered by Set. Using her magical skills, she restored his body to life after having gathered the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Set. This myth became very important during the Greco-Roman period. For example it was believed that the Nile River flooded every year because of the tears of sorrow which Isis wept for Osiris. Osiris's death and rebirth was relived each year through rituals. The worship of Isis eventually spread throughout the Greco-Roman world, continuing until the suppression of paganism in the Christian era.


Juno (Roman)

Juno is an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister (but also the wife) of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Mars and Vulcan. Juno also looked after the women of Rome. As the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire she was called Regina ("queen") and, together with Jupiter and Minerva, was worshipped as a triad on the Capitol in Rome. Juno's own warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire. She often appeared sitting pictured with a peacock armed and wearing a goatskin cloak. The traditional depiction of this warlike aspect was assimilated from the Greek goddess Athena, whose goatskin was called the 'aegis'.


Maat (Egyptian)

Goddess of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation. After her role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, her primary role in Egyptian mythology dealt with the weighing of souls that took place in the underworld. Her feather was the measure that determined whether the souls of the departed would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully. Maat was the goddess of harmony, justice, and truth represented as a young woman, sitting or standing, holding a was scepter, the symbol of power, in one hand and an ankh, the symbol of eternal life, in the other. Sometimes she is depicted with wings on each arm or as a woman with an ostrich feather on her head.


Mary (Catholic)

Protectress, Mother, Goddess & Saint. Mary is celebrated around the world as the Divine Feminine by millions of people, many of them Catholics. Those who are devoted to Mary, honor Her as the mother of Jesus. The Blessed Virgin Mary is known as the dispenser of mercy, the ever patient mother, and protectress of humanity, and special protectress of women and children.


Minerva (Roman)

Goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic, art, schools, commerce, and war. As Minerva Medica, she was the goddess of medicine and doctors. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the "owl of Minerva", which symbolizes her ties to wisdom. As patron goddess of wisdom, Minerva frequently features in statuary, as an image on seals, and in other forms, at many educational establishments.


Morrigan (Celtic)

Goddess of battle, strife, and sovereignty. She sometimes appears in the form of a crow, flying above the warriors, and in the Ulster cycle she also takes the form of an eel, a wolf and a cow. She is generally considered a war deity comparable with the Germanic Valkyries, although her association with a cow may also suggest a role connected with wealth and the land. She is often depicted as a trio of goddesses, all sisters, although membership of the triad varies; the most common combinations are Badb, Macha and Nemain, or Badb, Macha and Anand; Anand is also given as an alternate name for Morrigu. Other accounts name Fea, and others.


Nephthys (Egyptian)

Nephthys is a protective Goddess who symbolizes the death experience, just as her sister Isis represented the (re-)birth experience. The origin of the Goddess Nephthys is unclear but the literal translation of her name is usually given as "Lady of the House," which has caused some to mistakenly identify her with the notion of a "housewife," or as the primary lady who ruled a domestic household. This is a pervasive error repeated in many commentaries concerning this deity. Her name means quite specifically, "Lady of the [Temple] Enclosure" which associates her with the role of priestess. Nephthys was typically paired with her sister Isis in funerary rites because of their role as protectors of the mummy and the god Osiris and as the sister-wife of Set. In the funerary role, Nephthys often was depicted as a bird of prey called a kite, or as a woman with falcon wings, usually outstretched as a symbol of protection. Nephthys's association with the kite or the Egyptian hawk (and its piercing, mournful cries) evidently reminded the ancients of the lamentations usually offered for the dead by wailing women.


Nike (Greek)

Goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame. Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings. The shoe and sports equipment company Nike Inc. is named after the Greek goddess Nike and The hood ornament used by the automobile manufacturer Rolls-Royce was inspired by Nike.


Oshun (Yoruba)

Goddess of love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy. Oshun is beneficent, generous and very kind. She does, however, have a horrific temper, one which she seldom ever loses. When she does, it causes untold destruction. Oshun is said to have gone to a drum festival one day and to have fallen in love with the king-dancer Shango, god of lightning & thunder. Since that day, Shango has been married to Oba, Oya, and Oshun, though Oshun is said to be considered his principal wife. Oshun is known as the explicitly female chief of the market." She is also known as Laketi, she who has ears, because of how quickly and effectively she answers prayers. When she possesses her followers, she dances, flirts and then weeps- because no one can love her enough and the world is not as beautiful as she knows it could be.


Persephone (Greek)

Goddess of vegetation and Queen of the Underworld. Persephone was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence she is also associated with spring and with the seeds of the fruits of the fields. In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed; often carrying a sheaf of grain. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a scepter and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the act of being carried off by Hades.


Pomona (Roman)

Goddess of fruitful abundance. Her name comes from the Latin word pomum, "fruit," specifically orchard fruit ("Pomme" is the French word for "apple"). Pomona was the goddess of fruit trees, garden, and orchards. She watches over and protects fruit trees and cares for their cultivation. She was not actually associated with the harvest of fruits itself, but with the flourishing of the fruit trees. The pruning knife was her sacred tool. In artistic depictions she is generally shown with a platter of fruit or a cornucopia. A statue of Pomona is in the fountain in the little park before the Plaza Hotel in New York City.


Rhea (Greek)

Rhea was known as "The Mother of Gods", she was the Titaness daughter of the sky god Uranus and the earth goddess Gaia, in Greek mythology. Most often Rhea's symbol is a pair of lions, the ones that pulled her celestial chariot and were seen often, rampant, one on either side of the gateways through the walls to many cities in the ancient world. The name of the bird species rhea is derived from the Goddess name Rhea. The second largest moon of the planet Saturn is named after her.


Selene (Greek)

Goddess of the Moon. In post-Renaissance art, Selene is generally depicted as a beautiful woman with a pale face and long, lustrous, black hair; riding a silver chariot pulled by either a yoke of oxen, a pair of horses, or a pair of serpentine dragons. Often, she has been shown riding a horse or a bull, wearing robes with a moon on her head and carrying a torch. Selenite is named after the Goddess Selene and means "moonlike glow". This mineral is great for Lunar rituals, female empowerment, mental clarity, spiritual ascension, aiding in meditation and dream work.


Seshat (Egyptian)

Goddess of wisdom, knowledge, and writing. She was seen as a scribe and record keeper, and her name means "she who is the scribe", and is credited with inventing writing. She also became identified as the Goddess of architecture, astronomy, astrology, building, mathematics, and surveying. These are all professions that relied upon expertise in her skills. "Mistress of the House of Books" is another title for Seshat, being the deity whose priests oversaw the library in which scrolls of the most important knowledge were assembled and spells were preserved. In art, she was depicted as a woman with a seven-pointed emblem above her head. Usually, she is shown holding a palm stem, bearing notches to denote the recording of the passage of time, especially for keeping track of the allotment of time for the life of the pharaoh. She was also depicted holding other tools and, often, holding the knotted cords that were stretched to survey land and structures. She is frequently shown dressed in a cheetah or leopard hide, a symbol of funerary priests. If not shown with the hide over a dress, the pattern of the dress is that of the spotted feline. The pattern on the natural hide was thought to represent the stars, being a symbol of eternity, and to be associated with the night sky.


Themis (Greek)

Goddess of divine order, law, and custom. The ability of the Goddess Themis to foresee the future enabled her to become one of the Oracles of Delphi, which in turn led to her establishment as the goddess of divine justice. Some classical representations of Themis did not show her blindfolded (because of her talent for prophecy, she had no need to be blinded) nor was she holding a sword (because she represented common consent, not coercion). The sword is also believed to represent the ability Themis had from cutting fact from fiction, to her there was no middle ground.


Venus (Roman)

Goddess of love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and victory. Venus' signs were for the most part the same as Aphrodite's. They included roses, which were offered in Venus' Porta Collina rites, and above all, Myrtle, which was cultivated for its white, sweetly scented flowers, aromatic, evergreen leaves and its various medical-magical properties. Venus became a popular subject of painting and sculpture during the Renaissance period in Europe. As a "classical" figure for whom nudity was her natural state, it was socially acceptable to depict her unclothed. As the goddess of sexuality, a degree of erotic beauty in her presentation was justified, which appealed to many artists and their patrons. Over time, venus came to refer to any artistic depiction in post-classical art of a nude woman, even when there was no indication that the subject was the goddess.


Vesta (Roman)

Vesta is the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family. Vesta's presence is symbolized by the sacred fire that burned at her hearth and temples. Vesta is a symbol and a protector of Rome and its site, the hearth of the great Roman family. According to Ovid, Vesta is indeed the Earth itself, the sacred sphere (orbs) that makes life possible as we know it. The space within which men lived had to be marked and protected by a sacred fire. The sacrality of fire is related to the belief that it is the element at the origin of Earth (the central fire within), of every life on Earth and that connects our world with the divine one. Vesta's fire was guarded at her Temples by her priestesses, the Vestales. Every March 1st, the fire was renewed. It burned until 391, when the Emperor Theodosius I forbade public pagan worship. The Vesta Egg is an old traditional jewellery box, derived from Vesta. The jewellery box was used to keep precious jewellery in a safe place and symbolised protection of the jewellery and protection for the person wearing the jewellery. The egg decorated in jewels was most commonly used for holding wedding rings and similar to the modern faberge egg.


Gods

Adonis (Greek)

God of beauty and desire. Adonis is one of the most complex figures in classical times. He has had multiple roles, and there has been much scholarship over the centuries concerning his meaning and purpose in Greek religious beliefs. He is an annually-renewed, ever-youthful vegetation god, a life-death-rebirth deity whose nature is tied to the calendar. His name is often applied in modern times to handsome youths, of whom he is the archetype. Adonis is often referred to as the mortal God of Beauty. Women in Athens would plant "gardens of Adonis" quick-growing herbs that sprang up from seed and died. The Festival of Adonis was celebrated by women at midsummer by sowing fennel and lettuce, and grains of wheat and barley. The plants sprang up soon, and withered quickly, and women mourned for the death of the vegetation god.


Apollo (Greek/Roman)

God of light and the sun, truth and prophecy, healing, plague, music, poetry, and more. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius, yet Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague. Apollo's most common attributes were the bow and arrow. Other attributes of his included the kithara, the plectrum and the sword. Another common emblem was the sacrificial tripod, representing his prophetic powers. The Pythian Games were held in Apollo's honor every four years at Delphi. The bay laurel plant was used in expiatory sacrifices and in making the crown of victory at these games.


Anubis (Egyptian)

God of the Dead. Anubis was associated with the mummification and protection of the dead for their journey into the afterlife. The oldest known mention of Anubis is in the Old Kingdom pyramid texts, where he is associated with the burial of the pharaoh. At this time, Anubis was the most important God of the dead but he was replaced during the Middle Kingdom by Osiris. Anubis is depicted in funerary contexts where he is shown attending to the mummies of the deceased or sitting atop a tomb protecting it. In fact, during embalming, the "head embalmer" wore an Anubis costume. The critical weighing of the heart scene in the Book of the Dead also shows Anubis performing the measurement that determined the worthiness of the deceased to enter the realm of the dead (the underworld, known as Duat). New Kingdom tomb-seals also depict Anubis sitting atop the nine bows that symbolize his domination over the enemies of Egypt. He was usually portrayed as a half human, half jackal, or in full jackal form wearing a ribbon and holding a flail in the crook of its arm.


Aten (Egyptian)

Supreme Sun God and originally an aspect of Ra. The Aten, the sun-disk, is first referred to as a deity in The Story of Sinuhe from the 12th dynasty, in which the deceased king is described as rising as god to the heavens and uniting with the sun-disk, the divine body merging with its maker.


Brahma (Hindu)

God of Creation. He is clad in red clothes. Brahma is traditionally depicted with four heads, four faces, and four arms. With each head, He continually recites one of the four Vedas. He is often depicted with a white beard, indicating the nearly eternal nature of his existence. Unlike most other Hindu gods, Brahma holds no weapons. One of his hands holds a scepter. Another of his hands holds a bow. Brahma also holds a string of prayer beads called the "garland of eyes", which He uses to keep track of the Universe's time. He is also shown holding the Vedas.


Coyote (First Nations)

Coyote is a mythological character common to many Native American cultures, based on the coyote animal. This character is usually male and is generally anthropomorphic although he may have some coyote-like physical features such as fur, pointed ears, yellow eyes, a tail and claws. Coyote shares many traits with the mythological figure Raven. The myths and legends which include Coyote vary widely from culture to culture. To the Zunis, Coyote is a hero who set forth the laws by which men may live in peace. The Pomo Indians maintain that Coyote created the human race and stole the sun to keep them warm. The Montana Sioux say that Coyote created the horse.


Cernunnos (Celtic)

Horned God of Nature and Fertility. Scholars often describe Cernunnos as the "Lord of the Animals" or the "Lord of Wild Things". In Wicca, The Horned God reflects the seasons of the year in an annual cycle of life, death and rebirth. In the tradition of Gardnerian Wicca, the Horned God is sometimes specifically referred to as Cernunnos, or sometimes also as Kernunno.


Dagda (Irish)

Father God. Dagda is know as the "All Father" and is a protector of the tribe. Tales depict the Dagda as a figure of immense power, armed with a magic club and associated with a cauldron. The club was supposed to be able to kill nine men with one blow; but with the handle he could return the slain to life. The cauldron was known as the Undry and was said to be bottomless, from which no man left unsatisfied.


Dionysus (Greek/Roman)

God of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythodology. He is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, and is included in some lists of the twelve Olympians. His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre. He is an example of a dying god.


Eros (Greek)

God of love, sexuality and fertility. His Roman counterpart was Cupid. According to Hesiod (c. 700 BC), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was a primordial God, that is, he had no parents. He was the fourth god to come into existence, after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld).


Ganesha (Hindu)

Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles. Ganesha is one of the deities best-known and most widely worshipped in the Hindu pantheon. Ganesha has been represented with the head of an elephant since the early stages of his appearance in Indian art.


Govinda (Sikhism)

The name Govind is commonly used in Sikhism to refer to God. It is derived from "Gobinda" which means Preserver of the World in Gurmukhi.


Great Spirit (First Nations)

The Great Spirit, called Wakan Tanka among the Sioux and Gitche Manitou in Algonquian, is a conception of a supreme being prevalent among some Native American and First Nations cultures.


Hades (Greek)

God of the Underworld and Death. In Greek mythology, Hades is the oldest male child of Cronus and Rhea. According to myth, he and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated the Titans and claimed rulership over the cosmos, ruling the underworld, air, and sea, respectively; the solid earth, long the province of Gaia, was available to all three concurrently.


Hephaestus (Greek)

God of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes. He is the son of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen of the Gods - or else, according to some accounts, of Hera alone.


Hermes (Greek)

Hermes was the messenger of the gods to humans, sharing this role with Iris. A patron of boundaries and the travelers who cross them, he was the protector of shepherds and cowherds, thieves, orators and wit, literature and poets, athletics and sports, weights and measures, invention, and of commerce in general.


Holly King (English)

God of the waning year. The Holly King is a speculative archetype of modern studies of folklore and mythology which has been popularized in some Neopagan religions. In his book The White Goddess, the author Robert Graves proposed that the mythological figure of the Holly King represents one half of the year, while the other is personified by his counterpart and adversary the Oak King: the two battle endlessly as the seasons turn. At Midsummer the Oak King is at the height of his strength, while the Holly King is at his weakest. The Holly King begins to regain his power, and at the Autumn Equinox, the tables finally turn in the Holly King's favor; he later vanquishes the Oak King at Yule.


Horus (Egyptian)

Sky God of the sun and moon, war, hunting and protection. Horus is one of the oldest and most significant deities in ancient Egyptian religion, who was worshipped from at least the late Predynastic period through to Greco-Roman times. He was most often depicted as a falcon, most likely a lanner or peregrine, or as a man with a falcon head. Horus was born to the goddess Isis after she retrieved all the dismembered body parts of her murdered husband Osiris, except his penis which was thrown into the Nile and eaten by a catfish, and used her magic powers to resurrect Osiris and fashioned a gold phallus to conceive her son. Once Isis knew she was pregnant with Horus, she fled to the Nile Delta marshlands to hide from her brother Set who jealously killed Osiris and who she knew would want to kill their son. There Isis bore a divine son, Horus. Since Horus was said to be the sky, he was considered to also contain the sun and moon. It became said that the sun was his right eye and the moon his left, and that they traversed the sky when he, a falcon, flew across it.


Jesus (Christian)

Jesus is the central figure of Christianity and most Christian denominations worship him as God the Son incarnated. Most modern historians agree that Jesus existed and was a Jewish teacher from Galilee in Roman Judaea, who was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate. Scholars have offered competing descriptions and portraits of Jesus, which at times share a number of overlapping attributes, such as a rabbi, a charismatic healer, the leader of an apocalyptic movement, a self-described Messiah, a sage and philosopher, or a social reformer who preached of the "Kingdom of God" as a means for personal and egalitarian social transformation. Christians traditionally believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, performed miracles, founded the Church, died sacrificially by crucifixion to achieve atonement, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, from which he will return. The majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, and the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.


Krishna (Hindu)

Supreme God worshipped as a "complete" incarnation of the preserver-god, Vishnu. Krishna is often described as an infant or young boy playing a flute as in the Bhagavata Purana, or as a youthful prince giving direction and guidance as in the Bhagavad Gita.


Lugh (Celtic)

God the harvest. Lugh instituted a harvest fair during the festival of Lughnasadh in memory of his foster-mother, Tailtiu, held on 1 August at the town that bears her name (now Teltown, County Meath). He likewise instituted Lughnasadh fairs in the areas of Carman and Naas in honour of Carman and Nás, the eponymous tutelary goddess of these two regions. Horse races and displays of martial arts were important activities at all three fairs. However, Lughnasadh itself is a celebration of Lugh's triumph over the spirits of the Other World who had tried to keep the harvest for themselves.


Mercury (Roman)

God of trade, thieves, and travel. Mercury has influenced the name of many things in a variety of scientific fields, such as the planet Mercury, and the element mercury. The word mercurial is commonly used to refer to something or someone erratic, volatile or unstable, derived from Mercury's swift flights from place to place. He is often depicted holding the Caduceus in his left hand.


Mithra (Persian God)

All-seeing protector of Truth, and the guardian of cattle, the harvest and of The Waters. While Mithra is not the divinity of the Sun in Zoroastrian scripture (or in Indian scripture either), this being the role of Hvare.khshaeta, in Zoroastrian/Iranian tradition, Mithra became the divinity of the Sun. How, when or why this occurred is uncertain, but is commonly attributed to a conflation with Babylonian Shamash, who – in addition to being a Sun god – was a judicial figure like Mithra.


Oak King (English)

God of the waxing year. The Oak King is a speculative archetype of modern studies of folklore and mythology which has been popularized in some Neopagan religions. In his book The White Goddess, the author Robert Graves proposed that the mythological figure of the Oak King represents one half of the year, while the other is personified by his counterpart and adversary the Holly King: the two battle endlessly as the seasons turn. At Midsummer the Oak King is at the height of his strength, while the Holly King is at his weakest. The Holly King begins to regain his power, and at the Autumn Equinox, the tables finally turn in the Holly King's favor; he later vanquishes the Oak King at Yule.


Odin (Norse Mythology)

Odin the the God of war, battle, victory and death, but also wisdom, magic, poetry, prophecy, and the hunt. Odin has many sons, the most famous of whom is Thor. Odin has a number of magical artifacts associated with him: the spear Gungnir, which never misses its target; a magical gold ring (Draupnir), from which every ninth night eight new rings appear; and two ravens Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory), who fly around Earth daily and report the happenings of the world to Odin in Valhalla at night. He also owned Sleipnir, an octopedal horse, who was given to Odin by Loki. He also commands a pair of wolves named Geri and Freki, to whom he gives his food in Valhalla since he consumes nothing but mead or wine. From his throne, Odin could see everything that occurred in the universe. The Valknut (slain warrior's knot) is a symbol associated with Odin. It consists of three interlaced triangles.


Osiris (Egyptian)

God of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He was classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and holding a symbolic crook and flail. Osiris was considered not only a merciful judge of the dead in the afterlife, but also the underworld agency that granted all life, including sprouting vegetation and the fertile flooding of the Nile River. He was described as the "Lord of love", "He Who is Permanently Benign and Youthful" and the "Lord of Silence". The Kings of Egypt were associated with Osiris in death — as Osiris rose from the dead they would, in union with him, inherit eternal life through a process of imitative magic.


Pan (Greek)

God of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs. The ancient Greeks also considered Pan to be the god of theatrical criticism. The worship of Pan began in Arcadia which was always the principal seat of his worship. Arcadia was a district of mountain people whom other Greeks disdained. One of the famous myths of Pan involves the origin of his pan flute, fashioned from lengths of hollow reed. Syrinx was a lovely water-nymph of Arcadia, daughter of Landon, the river-god. As she was returning from the hunt one day, Pan met her. To escape from his importunities, the fair nymph ran away and didn't stop to hear his compliments. He pursued from Mount Lycaeum until she came to her sisters who immediately changed her into a reed. When the air blew through the reeds, it produced a plaintive melody. The god, still infatuated, took some of the reeds, because he could not identify which reed she became, and cut seven pieces (or according to some versions, nine), joined them side by side in gradually decreasing lengths, and formed the musical instrument bearing the name of his beloved Syrinx. He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr. With his homeland in rustic Arcadia, he is recognized as the god of fields, groves, and wooded glens; because of this, Pan is connected to fertility and the season of spring.


Ra (Egyptian)

God of the Sun. Ra was believed to rule in all parts of the created world the sky, the earth, and the underworld. He was associated with the falcon or hawk. All forms of life were believed to have been created by Ra, who called each of them into existence by speaking their secret names. Alternatively humans were created from Ra's tears and sweat, hence the Egyptians call themselves the "Cattle of Ra". To the Egyptians, the sun represented light, warmth, and growth. This made the sun deity very important as the sun was seen as the ruler of all that he created. The sun disk was either seen as the body or eye of Ra. Ra was thought to travel on two solar boats called the Mandjet (the Boat of Millions of Years), or morning boat and the Mesektet, or evening boat. These boats took him on his journey through the sky and the underworld. When Ra traveled in his sun boat he was accompanied by various other deities including Sia (perception) and Hu (command) as well as Heka (magic power). Sometimes members of the Ennead helped him on his journey, including Set who overcame the serpent Apophis and Mehen who defended against the monsters of the underworld. Ra is represented in a variety of forms. The most usual form was a man with the head of a hawk and a solar disk on top, a man with the head of a beetle (in his form as Khepra), or a man with the head of a ram. Ra was also pictured as a full-bodied ram, beetle, phoenix, heron, serpent, bull, cat, or lion as well as other creatures.


Rama (Hindu)

Perfect Man or Lord of Self-Control or Lord of Virtue. Rama's life and journey is one of perfect adherence to dharma despite harsh tests of life and time. He is pictured as the ideal man and the perfect human. For the sake of his father's honour, Rama abandons his claim to Kosala's throne to serve an exile of fourteen years in the forest. His wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, unable to live without Rama, decide to join him, and all three spend the fourteen years in exile together. While in exile, Sita is kidnapped by Ravana, the Rakshasa (Asura) monarch of Lanka. After a long and arduous search that tests his personal strength and virtue, Rama fights a colossal war against Ravana's armies. In a war of powerful and magical beings, greatly destructive weaponry and battles, Rama slays Ravana in battle and liberates his wife. Having completed his exile, Rama returns to be crowned king in Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) and eventually becomes emperor, rules with happiness, peace, prosperity and justice—a period known as Rama Rajya.


Set/Seth (Egyptian)

God of the desert, storms, and foreigners. In later myths he is also the god of darkness, and chaos. In Egyptian mythology, Set is portrayed as the usurper that killed and mutilated his own brother Osiris. Osiris' wife Isis reassembled Osiris' corpse and embalmed him. Osiris' son Horus, sought revenge upon Set, and the myths describe their conflicts. The death of Osiris and the battle between Horus and Set is a popular theme in Egyptian mythology. Set is mostly depicted as a fabulous creature, referred to by Egyptologists as the Set animal or Typhonic beast. The Typhon has a curved snout, square ears, forked tail, and canine body; sometimes, Set is depicted as a human with only the head of the Set animal. It does not resemble any known creature, although it could be seen as a composite of an aardvark, a donkey, a jackal, or a fennec. Some early Egyptologists have proposed that it was a stylised representation of the giraffe, due to the large flat-topped 'horns' which correspond to a giraffe's ossicones. However, the Egyptians make a distinction between the giraffe and the Set animal. In the late period, Set is depicted as an ass or with the head of an ass.


Shiva (Hindu)

Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the Destroyer or Transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. Seen as the Supreme God and has five important works: creator, preserver, destroyer, concealer, and revealer (to bless). Shiva has a Trident in the right lower arm, with a crescent moon on his head. He is said to be fair like camphor or like an ice clad mountain. He has fire and Damaru and Mala or a kind of weapon. He wears five serpents as ornaments. He wears a garland of skulls. Shiva is often depicted with a third eye, with which he burned Desire (Kāma) to ashes. He is often shown seated upon a tiger skin, an honour reserved for the most accomplished of Hindu ascetics, the Brahmarishis. Tiger represents lust. His sitting on the tiger’s skin indicates that He has conquered lust.


Thoth (Egyptian)

Thoth was considered one of the more important deities of the Egyptian pantheon. He played many vital and prominent roles in Egyptian mythology, such as maintaining the universe, and being one of the two deities (the other being Ma'at) who stood on either side of Ra's boat. In the later history of ancient Egypt, Thoth became heavily associated with the arbitration of godly disputes, the arts of magic, the system of writing, the development of science, and the judgment of the dead. In art, he was often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or a baboon, animals sacred to him. Thoth is almost always shown holding a Was (a wand or rod symbolizing power) in one hand and an Ankh (the key of the Nile symbolizing life) in the other hand.


Vishnu (Hindu)

Supreme God, master of—and beyond—the past, present and future, one who supports, sustains and governs the Universe and originates and develops all elements within. Vishnu governs the aspect of preservation and sustenance of the universe, so he is called "Preserver of the Universe". Vishnu is described as having the divine colour of water filled clouds, four-armed, holding a lotus, mace, shankha (conch) and chakra (wheel). Vishnu is also described as having a 'Universal Form' which is beyond the ordinary limits of human perception or imagination.


Zeus (Greek)

Zeus is the Father of Gods and men who rules the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father rules the family. He is the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. For the Greeks, he was the King of the Gods, who oversaw the universe. His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, sceptor and oak. Zeus is the child of Cronus and Rhea, and the youngest of his siblings. In most traditions he is married to Hera, although, at the oracle of Dodona, his consort is Dione: according to the Iliad, he is the father of Aphrodite by Dione. He is known for his erotic escapades. These resulted in many godly and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone (by Demeter), Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen of Troy, Minos, and the Muses (by Mnemosyne); by Hera, he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward, with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty.

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