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THE GREAT GODDESS
Goddess 101 ....................................................................................................................... 4 PREHISTORIC................................................................................................................. 7 ANCIENT EGYPT ........................................................................................................... 8 MIDDLE EAST.............................................................................................................. 12 INDIA / TIBET ............................................................................................................... 16 CHINA ............................................................................................................................. 21 JAPAN ............................................................................................................................. 22 POLYNESIA ................................................................................................................... 23 MAYA / AZTEC ............................................................................................................. 24 ANCIENT CRETE ......................................................................................................... 26 ANCIENT GREECE ...................................................................................................... 28 CELTIC ........................................................................................................................... 34 NORSE / TEUTONIC .................................................................................................... 38 SCANDINAVIA .............................................................................................................. 40 SLAVIC GODDESSES .................................................................................................. 41 OTHER GODDESSES ................................................................................................... 47
THE GREAT GODDESS Goddess 101
by Abby Willowroot On many occasions I've been asked, "What is all this Goddess stuff about anyway?" Here is a brief attempt at an answer. What is a Goddess? The word goddess means a female divine being. Around the world for many thousands of years, the majority of our ancestors worshipped a Divine and powerful Mother-Goddess. She was honored as the Mother of all life. Modern archaeologists have discovered many statues and artifacts that verify the worship of ancient female deities. Where did the idea of a Goddess come from? Early humans depended on the earth for all things, food, shelter, and life itself. They noticed that all life was created within the bodies of females and so it was natural for them to see an all-powerful creator as female too. Cave paintings and rock carvings of Goddesses have been found that date back to 35,000 years B.C.E. or earlier. Many of these statues and painted images are often called "Venus". The best known of these, is the Venus of Willendorf. Goddess images of great antiquity have been found all over the world. Most of the earliest images of a Goddess show an abundant, round, full figured and serene being. An ample form symbolized prosperity, freedom from hunger and security. It is not clear if early Goddess worshippers also practiced ancestor worship. Is the Goddess only for women? No, the Goddess was celebrated and revered by all members of early societies. Men, women and children were all under the protection of the ever-present powerful Mother Goddess; She was both nurturing and fierce. Today, as the culture of the Goddess is reemerging, women, men and children celebrate divine female energy again, just as they did in early times. Does anyone still believe in a Goddess? Yes, many cultures around the world have never stopped worshipping Goddesses. The Hindus of India have a pantheon of many Goddesses and Gods. Today in Japan the great Sun Goddess, Amaterasu is honored as the Divine Mother of the Japanese people. The Goddess of Mercy, Kwan Yin (Quan Yin) has many devotees in China. The Inuit people (Eskimos) still honor the OceanMother Sedna. In South America Ijemanja (Yemaya) the Sea Mother-Goddess is honored with huge public processionals on January 1st each year. In Africa, the Orishas are honored as Gods and Goddesses. Modern Jewish tradition still honors the Shekhina and millions of Catholics honor the Virgin Mary as a Goddess. In the United States and other western countries, for the past twenty-five or thirty years there has been rapidly growing interest in Goddess religion. Many Christian traditions like Unity, have begun to incorporated the Goddess into their faith. The Unity blessing includes a Mother-Father-God. There are also many groups that honor the various forms of the Goddess. Still other traditions honor the Goddess, along with a God. Covenant of the Goddess (COG) is a national religious group whose membership comes
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from many different Goddess traditions. What kinds of Goddesses are there? Historically, there are many thousands of different Goddesses and Gods; each region had their own version of these divinities. Mother Goddesses are universal. There is also a wide spread tradition of a Triple-Goddess, most commonly referred to as the "MaidMother-Crone". The Maid, being youth and possibility, the Mother being creativity and nurturing, and the Crone representing wisdom, transition and accountability. (This is only a brief generalization of their attributes.) All aspects of the Triple-Goddess represent different types of healing and growth. There are also ancient androgynous Goddesses who represent both female and male in the same deity. There are Goddesses like Gaea (Gaia), whose body is the Earth. Every part of the world has their own version of many of these basic Goddess forms. Why should I know about Goddesses? For women, understanding the long tradition of Goddess religion strengthens your connection with your own spiritual essence, regardless of what faith you belong to. Seeing the Goddess within, helps women to appreciate their own power, skill, heritage, and beauty. Honoring the Goddess can teach us to celebrate all the stages of life. An awareness that the Goddess lives in you, can strengthen inner knowings about life, love, nature, nurturing and creativity. Women who are deeply connected with their Goddess essence are better able to make desired changes in themselves, their communities, and the world. For men, a connection with the Goddess allows them to accept and acknowledge their desire and need for nurturing, protection and the acceptance of a loving female presence. Claiming the Goddess energy within himself, helps a man to be a more balanced lover, companion and father. It also frees men from the cultural pressure to always be in control. What makes the Goddess important? Today, our world is getting smaller and our actions have the power to effect more and more people, (as you well know being on the Internet.) Our environment is threatened by too many years of human carelessness. In the past fifteen years scientists have started to call the earth Gaia, after the Greek Goddess, because they have realized that we are all connected to the earth and we are all dependant upon each other for survival. Calling the earth Gaia, reminds us all that She is our ever- bountiful Mother. A reverence for female principles and Goddess consciousness helps to put us all in touch with the beauty and magic of nature and her creatures. Understanding the nature of the Gaia, and other Goddesses, is a way of expanding our respect for the environment, and balancing the male and female energies of the Universe. Are Goddesses real? Yes, the museums are full of Goddesses. What "real" means, depends on who you are and how you view Goddesses. For those who practice a Goddess religion today, the Goddess is the "Divine Creatrix of All Life", the "Queen of Heaven" and the center of their religious faith. To others, She is a metaphor for "Mother Nature," and represents earth's sacred balance. For some people, She is
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the "Lady" whose companion is the "Lord." There are also people who simply view Goddesses as quaint bits of ancient art, unaware of the growing number of people who have incorporated Goddess consciousness into their everyday lives. Can I believe in both Goddess and God? Yes, many people do. Faith and spirituality are very personal; we each have our own path. The spiritual essences you call upon to help you along that path is your choice. If you were not a seeker, you would not be reading this. There are as many ways of expressing spirituality, as there are people to explore it. Many Christians and Jews have learned to balanced their reverence for both God and Goddess divinity quite successfully. Others focus primarily on one or the other. Since we as humans are a blending of both male and female energies, it is natural to balance our spiritual lives in a similar way. The Yin Yang symbol is a beautiful reminder of the perfect balance that is achieved when these two energies come together in a positive way.
THE GREAT GODDESS PREHISTORIC
Crowned Butterfly Goddess - 4000 BC - Arising from the horns of the sacred bull, this Minoan Crowned Butterfly Goddess symbolized fertility and regeneration in ancient Crete.
Bird Goddess - 5000 B.C. - This Goddess is depicted with bee eyes and antennae as well as the three parallel lines which identify her as a Bird Goddess. She symbolized fertility and regeneration in Neolithic Spain.
Eye Goddess - Found throughout Mesopotamia. In 3500 - 2,000 B.C.Syria, this Sumerian Madonna Goddess was known as Mari, Whose huge eyes searched men's souls.
Goddess of Laussel - Old Stone Age (30,000 - 20,000 B.C.E.)
Nile Goddess - This prehistoric fertility Goddess with a bird's head was fashioned from ancient Nile mud.
Goddess of Lespugne - Fertility Goddess carved in ivory from ancient France. (30,000 - 20,000 B.C.)
Goddess of Menton - Old Stone Age (30,000 - 20,000 B.C.)Goddess of Willendorf Great Goddess (30,000 - 20,000 B.C.) Paleolithic Fertile Mother. Old Stone Age.
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Goddess of Willendorf - Great Goddess (30,000 - 20,000 B.C.) Paleolithic Fertile Mother. Old Stone Age.
Akussa- Egyptian Goddess of Sunset. Ament - Ancient Egyptian Hawk Goddess. Libyan/Egyptian Goddess of the West. She lived in a tree at the edge of the desert where She watched the gates of the underworld and welcomed the newly deceased. She appears with an ostrich feather on Her head. Anuket - The Clasper. Goddess personifying the Yonic source of the Nile Flood. Her symbol was the cowrie. Bringer of food, Creator of all good things, Filler of granaries, Patroness of the poor and needy. The Embracer (Anukis - Greek) Water Goddess. She wore a feather headdress. Au Set - Whom the Greeks called Isis - Oldest of the Old, from Whom all things arose, Eternal Savior of the race of men. She was the Egyptian throne, the pharaohs sat on her lap, protected by Her arms or wings. She was worshipped throughout the
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Greco-Roman world as well as in Egypt where She was known as Au Set. Lady of the Moon, Mother of the Crops. Offerings of baskets of grain, guarded by sacred serpent. Swallow was sacred to Her. Sycamore Her sacred tree. Bloodstone and turquoise Her sacred stones. Exceeding Queen. Tamarisk tree, Water lily sacred to Her. The One Who is All held dominion over life and death, marriage, healing, handicrafts and writing, fertility and immortality. Daughter of Nut, the Sky and Geb, the Earth, She was born in the swamp land of the Nile. The ankh is the symbol of the union of AuSet (Isis) and Osiris. Her wings and solar disc nestled between lunar bovine horns denotes Her protection of the Pharaohs (the male spirit) and Her promise of rebirth. Bast - Ancient Egyptian Cat Goddess. Patron Goddess of pleasure and music, She also was protectress against contagious diseases and evil spirits. Mother of all cats, Egypt's most sacred animal.Bubastis, Her Holy city was home to the land's greatest temple. Cats were taken to the Holy city upon their deaths, where they were embalmed in Sacred Temples and buried. Originally in the Nile delta, Lion Goddess of Sunset, symbolizing the fertilizing force of the Sun's rays. She ruled pleasure and dancing, music and joy. Bestower of mental and physical health. Hundreds of thousands of Her worshipers gathered in Her holy city Bubastis where they were greeted by flutes. It was a great celebration - worship service and vast trade fair. Bau - Mother Goddess of the Sky of Babylonia and Phoenicia. Buto - Cobra Goddess Hathor - The Great Celestial Cow Goddess of ancient Egypt. Creator of the world and all it contains. Protectress of women, She is the Goddess of love and joy, the mistress of merriment. She is the sovereign of music and dance and the weaving of garlands. She often places Her spirit in the sistrum, a sacred rattle which drove away evil spirits. Her temple was the home of intoxication and place of enjoyment. She nourishes the living with Her milk and welcomes the dead into the next world. She was worshipped in 11th century B.C. Israel. Sometimes depicted with a lion head, as the Sphinx. Lotus was Her flower. Hepat - Goddess of Midwives. aka Hekit. Frog was Her animal. Maat - The All Seeing Eye, Goddess of Truth and Judgment, Law Giver and Dispenser of Justice. She weighed each man's soul against a feather. Lapis lazuli is Her sacred stone. Menos - Moon Goddess credited with invention of writing.
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Metseger - Ancient Snake Goddess of Thebes - Protectress of desert tombs. Neith - Ancient Egyptian Warrior Goddess who was also skilled in domestic arts. It was She who wove the world on Her loom. Oldest of Egyptian Deities. Acacia is Her sacred tree. Nekhebet - Protectress of women in childbirth, this Egyptian Vulture Goddess suckled the royal children and the Pharaoh. She is the protectress of ancient Upper Egypt. Goddess of Death & Rebirth. Egypt's oldest oracle was the shrine of Nekhebet. The Egyptian word for Mother was the sign of the vulture. Nephthys - (Nebthet) Goddess of the Dead & the Underworld. Nut - Ancient Egyptian Sky Goddess with Her body arched over the world forming the vault of the heavens, protecting the Earth beneath. Often represented as a woman with elongated body, touching the Earth with only toes and fingertips, while her star-spangled belly forms the arch of the heavens. Mother Goddess personifying the Night Sky. Renenet - Egypt's Lady of the Double Granary. Goddess of suckling, Who gave each baby it's ren (secret name-soul) along with it's mother's milk. Sekhmet - The Powerful - The Lion Goddess of Battle. She is an ancient Egyptian Fire Goddess, the healer of broken bones and fractures. Selkhet - Ancient Egyptian Scorpion Goddess Seshat - Egyptian Mistress of the House of Books, the Goddess of writing, history, measurements, calculation, record keeping and architecture. Goddess of Hieroglyphics. Lady of the Builder's Measure. Tait - Title of Isis as weaver and knotter of the threads of Fate, governing all happenings with Her magical manipulation of strands. Taueret - Egyptian Mother Goddess of the Nile. The Great Hippopotamus Goddess of childbirth and nursing. Tefnut - Lion Goddess of the Underworld. Uadjit - This ancient Egyptian Snake Goddess was the protectress of the Pharaoh and Lower Egypt. She is often represented as a winged, crowned Cobra. 2000 B.C. Mother of Creation. Celestial Serpent. aka UaZit. The cobra symbol meant goddess
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in hieroglyphics. Serpent Mother whose symbol was worn in the crowns of all deities and rulers. With the Vulture Goddess, She represented cycles of birth and death, beginning and ending. These 2 archaic Goddesses were known as the Two Mistresses by whose authority all pharaohs ruled and the cycles of nature were constantly renewed.
THE GREAT GODDESS MIDDLE EAST
Achamoth - Mother Goddess Who gave birth to the creator of the material universe, according to early Gnostic Christians. Aka - Ancient Turkish Mother Goddess. Al-Lat - Arabian Moon Goddess, Universal Source of Nourishment. Mother Earth and Her Fruits. Arabic Supreme Goddess. A triple Goddess with Al-Uzza and Menat. Oaths are sealed with the vow "By the salt, By the fire, and by Al-Lat who is the greatest of all." Al-Mah - Persian Moon Goddess. Nubile Woman. Al-Uzza - Powerful One. Arabic Goddess. Founder of MohammedÕs tribe, the Koreshites, hereditary tenders of Her Sacred Stone in Mecca.The Mighty. Mohammed worshipped this Desert Goddess of the Morning Star. Acacias are Her sacred tree. Anath - Strength of Life. Worshipped by Canaanites, Amorites, Syrians, Egyptians, Hebrews, Phoenicians. Queen of Heaven and Mistress of all the gods.
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Anatu - Great Mesopotamian Goddess, Ruler of the Earth and Queen of the Sky. Aramaiti - Iranian Earth Goddess, Whose language was the original language of the Christian Gospels. Mother of the People made of Clay.
Arianna - Great Goddess of Persia (Iran).
Aruru - Sumero-Babylonian Great Goddess Who was the original Potter Who created human beings out of clay. Asherah - Semitic name of the Great Goddess. Sacred Grove, Divine Harlot, Lady of Heaven, Queen of the Gods, Lady Who Traverses the Sea. Sacred Cow. Symbol stylized multi branched tree. She Who gives birth to the gods, Goddess of the Tree of Life, Goddess of the Grove. She Who gives birth, Wet-nurse of the gods. Ugaritic Mother Goddess. She was the Force of Life, experienced as benevolent and enduring, found in flocks of cattle and groves of trees, evoked in childbirth and planting time. Sometimes appeared as a naked, curly-haired Goddess riding a sacred lion and holding lilies and serpents in up-raised hands. Ashnan - Sumerian Goddess of Grain. Atthar - Ancient Arabic Sun Goddess. Torch of the Gods. Belit-Ilani - Babylonian Mistress of the gods. Evening Star of Desire. Portrayed as a woman Who bears a suckling baby on Her left arm and Who blesses the child with Her right hand. Chaabou - Semitic Earth Mother. Deborah - Queen Bee Goddess of early Mycenae and Anatolia. Identified with the Tree of Life. Derceto - Babylonian Sea Goddess. The Whale of Der.Dike - Goddess of Justice.
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Aspect of the Triple Goddess with Ananke and Heimarmene. Pre-hellenic Syrian Fish Mother Goddess. Erua - Babylonian Queen of Heaven. She controlled birth among all creatures in Her land. Fatima - Arabian Moon Goddess, Creatress, Source of the Sun, Tree of Paradise. She existed from the beginning of the material world. Gula - Babylonian Great Goddess. Lady of Birth and Mother of Dogs. Fate Goddess. The Great Doctoress Who could cure or cause sickness. Inanna - Sumerian Queen of the Land. Source of the Earth's life blood. She filled the wells, rivers and springs with Her blood. 2,000 B.C.E. Juniper is Her tree.
Ishtar - Babylonian Great Goddess, Star, Light of the World. Righteous judge, Lawgiver, Bestower of Strength, Lady of Victory, Forgiver of Sins. Mother of Harlots, Compassionate Prostitute. Framer of all decrees. Often depicted in breastoffering pose. Mother of the fruitful breast. Juniper sacred to Her.
Kadi - Babylonian Goddess of Der, a Serpent with a Woman's head and breasts.
Lilith - totem the owl. Divine Lady. In Jewish mythology, She was Adam's first wife (before Eve) Sumero-Babylonian Goddess. Her flower is the lily. Manat - Arabic Moon Goddess. Ruler of Fate, Luck and Fortune. She was venerated in a Sacred Stone at Kodaid in pre-Islamic times and was one of the Trinity of Fates worshipped at Mecca. Moon Mother of Mecca. aka Al-Lat, Al-Uzza. Lapis Niger (Black stone) sacred to Her.
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Mari - Mother Sea, Great Fish Who gave birth to the gods, Fruitful Mother. Middle Eastern Sun Goddess. Shayba - Arabic-Aramaean title of the Great Goddess. Shayba was Old Woman whose spirit dwelt in the Sacred Stone of the Kaaba in Mecca. Shebat - Mesopotamian Moon Goddess.
Shekina - Jewish Cabalistic version of Shakti. The Soul of God. God required his Shekina for Wisdom and Creativity.
Tiamat - Serpent Goddess of the Watery Abyss. Sumerian Creatress. Sumero-Babylonian Goddess Mother, from Whose formless body the Universe was born at creation. Personification of The Deep. Mother Sea. Tirgata - Fish Goddess of Syria.
THE GREAT GODDESS INDIA / TIBET
Aditi - Hindu Great Goddess, as the Woman Clothed with the Sun. Sun Goddess, Mother of all the Lights of Heaven. She gave birth to the twelve zodiacal spirits. Ananta - Indian Serpent Queen. aka Sarparajni. She enveloped all gods during their death, sleeping between incarnations. Banka-Mundi - Hunting Goddess of the Khoud. Merely uttering Her name made one fearless against jungle beasts. Bardaichila - Assamese Storm Goddess. Bentakumari - Assamese Water Goddess. First fish of the season was given to Her. Bhasundara - Tibetan Goddess of Prosperity Bhavani - Common name for Mother Goddess of India. Bestower of Existence. Evoked by women in labor, who burned perfume to honor Her. Bisal-Mariamna - Shakti of Sunlight in Mysore. Symbolized by a brass pot full of water called the Kunna-Kannadi or “eye mirror”. Into this pot are put pepper
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leaves and coconut flowers, a small metal mirror leans against it. Budhi Pallien - Assamese Forest Goddess, appears as a tiger roving through the Indian jungle. Chomo-Lung-Ma - Goddess Mother of the Universe, original name of Mt.. Everest. One of the oldest Indian deities. Devi - Dearly Beloved Goddess Durga - the Queen Mother, Warrior Goddess, rode tigers into battle defending Her children, the gods. Hudigamma - Hindu Mother Goddess served by eunuch priests dressed in women's clothes. Indrani - Queen of the gods. Ista Devata - Tantric Patroness of the Self. Individual Guardian Angel of the Enlightened Sage. Kadru - Serpent Goddess, Mother of the Nagas, or Cobra people. Kali - Black Earth Mother, Conqueror of Time, Goddess of fertility, death and regeneration. Dark Mother, Hindu triple Goddess of creation, preservation and destruction. Birth and Death Mother. Treasure house of Compassion, Giver of Life to the World. Her mantras brought into being the very things whose names She spoke for the first time, Originator of the creative word or Logos. A triple Goddess Maiden, Mother, Crone. Lady of the Dead. The Ocean of Blood at the beginning and end of the world. Also known as Jagadamba. Kauri - Indo-European Swan Goddess. Cowrie shell was sacred to Her. Khon-Ma - Mother Earth, Ruler of All Spirits emanating from the Earth element. Kundalini - Serpent Goddess representing the inner power of the human body. Kurukulla - Dravidian Goddess of Caverns. Lakshmi - Goddess of fortune,wealth and abundance. Portrayed as a golden skinned woman sitting or standing on a lotus, Her symbol. Hindu Goddess of Sovereignty. Source of the divine drink Soma. aka Padma, Lady Lotus. Goddess of Beauty and Good Fortune. Manasa-Devi - Serpent Goddess of Bengal, identified with the Moon, bearing the Moons's magic name Mana.
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Marici - Buddhist Diamond Sow, Great Goddess seated on a lotus surrounded by 7 pigs. Glorious One. Sun of Happiness. Maya - Virgin aspect of the triple Hindu Goddess, symbolized by a Spider, spinner of magic, fate and earthly appearances. The spider's web was likened to the Wheel of Fate and the spider to the Goddess as a Spinner, sitting at the hub of Her Wheel. Mother of the Enlightened One, Buddha. Her colors were white, red and black. Hawthorne, Her tree. Nanda Devi - Blessed Goddess. Mountain Mother Who gave birth to the Ganges. Nanda Devi is one of the Holiest Mountains of the Himalayan chain. Parvati - Maiden aspect of Kali. Daughter of the Mountain. Shiva's bride. Daughter of Heaven. Also known by Maya, Sati, Durga, Shakti, Privithi. Dark and colorful, ornate and mysterious. The richness of hues in Her attire as well as Her jewels symbolize Her power. She lifts Her veil to reveal Her beauty, shining like the Sun rising over the mountain of Anapurna. The cocoon, butterfly and the karmic golden wheel reflect Her deep connection with life and death, cause and effect, and transformation. Prajnaparamita - Personification of Wisdom Prakriti - Nature. Sanskrit title of Kali as female Holy Trinity, commanding the Gunas, the white, red and black threads of Creation, Preservation and Destruction. She embodied past, present, future; earth, sea, sky; youth, maturity, age. Privithi - Very ancient Earth Mother. Sara Kali - Queen Kali, Mother Goddess of the gypsies. The Mother, the Woman, the Sister, the Queen, the source of all Romany blood. Queen of Heaven and Earth. Sarama - Vedic Bitch Goddess, Mother of the brindled Dogs of Yama. The Huntress. Saranyu - Goddess Who gave birth to all animals, Mother of all Creatures. Vedic Mare Goddess, Mother of the Centaurs. Sarasvati - White skinned Goddess of poetry, music, science and learning as well as all creative arts. Inventor of the Sanscrit language. She wears a crescent moon on her brow and rides a swan or a peacock, or is seated on a lotus. The Flowing One. Inventor of all the arts of civilization: music, letters, mathematics, calendars, magic, the Vedas and all other branches of learning. Ancient River Goddess. Queen of Heaven. Mother of Waters. aka Ganga. Originally a River Goddess, She originated in the Ocean. Great
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culinary Goddess, She invented Soma, or Amrita (drink of bliss). Independent of nature. Goddess of sensual love, creativity, beauty, art and music. Goddess of learning and teaching. Savitri - Hindu Mother of Civilization, She Who brought forth music and literature, rhythm, time, measurements, day and night, memory, conquest, victory and yoga. Shakti - Tantric title of the Great Goddess. Cosmic Energy. The Tantras say the female principle antedates and includes the male principle and this female principle is the Supreme Divinity. Tantric doctrine says mortal women are life itself, and Goddess-like, because they embody the principle of Shakti. The series of Universes appear and disappear with the opening and shutting of her eyes. (from the Lalita Sahasranamam) Final union with Shakti occurred at the moment of Death, according to Tantric mystics. Shasti - Bengali Feline Goddess, depicted riding a cat. Goddess of childbirth and Protectress of Children. Shitala - Protectress against small pox. Mothers appealed to Her for help for their children. Sita - Furrow, the Goddess Earth as the wife of Rama (Krishna). Smashana-Kali - Kali Ma as the Goddess of cremation grounds and other places of Death. Her yantra was an 8 petaled lotus with multiple repetitions of the inverted triangle. The meaning was Rebirth following Death. Her priestesses, called dakinis, arranged funerals and tended the dying. Tara - Pre-Vedic Savior Goddess, known from India to Ireland. Indo-European primal Goddess Earth. An extremely ancient festival held annually at Athens was named after Her, Taramata (Mother Tara) nicknamed The Rioting because of its wild orgiastic customs. The sacred grove of Tara in Ireland was the Goddess’s genital shrine. In India, Tara is called The Most Revered of the old pre-vedic Goddesses. Wine is sacred to Her. Goddess of Compassion, The Diamond Sow. Diamonds are Her sacred stone. Tibetan Buddhist Great Mother. She is a Boddhisattva, an enlightened One who has vowed to incarnate until all beings have attained enlightenment. She also vowed to incarnate only as a female. She governs the Underworld, the Earth and the Heavens, birth, death and regeneration, love and war, the seasons, all that lives and grows, the Moon cycles. Green Tara is Her Nature-related aspect. Typically She is seen as a slender and beautiful woman of white complexion, long golden hair and blue eyes. She can also appear as red, black or dark blue. Her animals are the sow, mare, owl and raven. Goddess of spiritual transformation. When worshiping Tara, recognize
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all you see as Her body, made of green light, all you hear is Her divine speech, and all your thoughts as Her divine wisdom. Every molecule of air is Her divine energy and when you lie down, your head rests in Her lap. Uma - The Golden Goddess, personifying light and beauty. Daughter of the Mountains, Patroness of yogic ascetism. Kali’s Crone aspect. aka Prisni, Mother of the Dark Season, Daughter of Heaven. Mother Death. Ushas - Vedic Goddess of the Dawn.
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Chang-O - Moon Goddess. Keeper of the Ambrosia of Immortality. Hsi Wang Mu - Lady Queen of the West. Great Mother Who kept the Peaches of Immortality in a magic orchard in the West. Kuan Yin - Eponymous Great Mother of China, Lady Who brings children, represents the principle of Karuna, Boundless Compassion. Often appeared as a Fish Goddess. Mat Chinoi - Serpent Goddess, Mother of the Chinese. In her belly lived beautiful angels who received the souls of the dead. Shin-Mu - Mother of Perfect Intelligence, China's Holy Virgin.
THE GREAT GODDESS JAPAN
Amaterasu - Supreme Shinto Sun Goddess from Whom the imperial family traced descent. Great Shining Heaven.
Benten - Goddess of Luck, Inspiration, Talent, Wealth and Romance. Queen of the Sea, a dragon woman Who swam in state through Her domain with a retinue of white snakes. Sometimes depicted as a beautiful woman mounted on a dragon. Fuji - Grandmother, Ancestress, Holy Mother Mountain. Uzume - Goddess of Merriment.
THE GREAT GODDESS POLYNESIA
Hina - Virgin Goddess, Creatress of the World. She was the Moon and the First Woman. All women embody Her spirit. Laka - Hawaiian Goddess of Hula. Maile and Plumaria are Her Flowers. Pele - Goddess of Fire and the Underworld. Mt.. Kiluaea. Tangoroa - Polynesian Dove Goddess
THE GREAT GODDESS MAYA / AZTEC
Chalchiœhtlicue- Aztec Goddess Who held dominion over all running water, including rain. Because of Her dismay and anger over the wickedness of humanity, She sent a flood, tears of the Goddess, to erase and cleanse the world of evil, but in Her kindness, She provided a bridge of many hues (the rainbow) for the righteous. She was often summoned for protection of the newborn and for strength of the marriage bond and perfect love. Usually, She is depicted wearing a jade necklace, turquoise earrings, and a crown of feathers, signifying Her association with vegetation, the water of life and growth. Her black and white apparel remind us of Her dual nature. Chicomecoatl - Mexican Goddess, Heart of the Earth and ancestress of all peoples. Her messengers were seven serpents. Chimalman - Aztec Virgin Goddess. Aspect of the Triple Goddess. Coatlicue - Lady of the Serpent Skirt, Mother of all Aztec deities, as well as the Sun, Moon and Stars. She produced Life and received the dead. She was associated with volcanic mountains.
Malinalxochitl - Primal Mother of Aztec mythology, ruler of men and beasts.
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Mictecaciuatl - Eponymous Mother Goddess of Mexico. Lady of the Place of the Dead. Tlalteutli - Aztec Goddess of Creation. At the beginning of Time, the Universe was made of Her body. Tlazolteotl - Aztec Mother Goddess resembling the medieval Hecate as Queen of the Witches. Her animals were the snake and the screech owl. Her sabbats were held at crossroads. Her symbol was a broomstick. She was associated with the Moon. She Who gave birth to the Sun. Xochiquetzal - Goddess of All Women, Goddess of Love. Daughter of Coatlicue. Mexican Aphrodite, many faceted Love Goddess, Moon Virgin, fairy queen and Madonna. Patroness of marriage and sacred harlots, dance songs, spanning, weaving, changes and transformations, magic and art. Mother of all races. The Dove was her totem, Marigold her flower. Goddess of Love and Dancing.
THE GREAT GODDESS ANCIENT CRETE
Ariadne - Most Holy, High Fruitful Mother. Moon Goddess. Britomartis - Cretan Sweet Girl. Great Goddess of Minoan Crete. Lily was Her flower. Dictynna - Lawgiving Goddess of Mount Dicte. Her plant was Dittany. Europa - Full Moon, the Great Goddess as Mother of all Europe. White Moon Cow. Garlanded white bulls were sacrificed to this Lunar Cow Goddess in Crete and Mycenae from a very early date. Leukippe - White Mare- Horse Goddess. Minoan Snake Goddess - 1600 - 1500 B.C.E. Pasipha - She Who Shines for All. Cretan Moon Goddess. Rhea - Aegean Universal Mother, Great Goddess, Pre-Hellenic Great Mother Goddess. Also known as Britomartis, Great Goddess of Bronze Age Crete and the Aegean Islands. Great Mother. She had no consort
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and ruled supreme before the coming of patriotic Hellenic invaders. Archetypal Triple Goddess. Britomartis, the Sweet Virgin, Dictynna, the Lawgiving Mother and Aegea, the foundress of Aegean civilization. aka Coronis. Pre-Roman Latium knew Her as Rhea Silvia, Rhea of the Woodland, under Whose rule, the Vestal Virgins were neither celibate nuns, nor servants of the state, as they became in later ages. They were choosers and deposers of the early Latin kings, a college of matronae who ruled the rulers and took no husbands. Her children were cared for by Acca Larentia - the Holy Harlot or High Priestess.
THE GREAT GODDESS ANCIENT GREECE
Amphitrite - Sea Goddess
Ananke - Necessity. Neo-Platonic Pythagorean Goddess Who governed the world according to Karmic Law. Aspect of the Triple Goddess with Dike and Heimarmene.
Aphrodite - Greek Love Goddess who sailed the seas in a scallop shell. Queen of the Sea. Her Sacred metal is copper. Goddess of birth, life, love, death, time and fate, reconciling man to all of them through sensual and sexual mysticism. Patroness of arts and letters, craft and culture.The Dove was her totem. Myrtle was Her sacred
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plant, sacred number 6. Goddess of Love and Beauty and Laughter. Loving Goddess. Goddess of Love. The irresistible Goddess who stole away even the wits of the wise. She sprang from the sea near Cythera and was called The Foam-risen. Beautiful Golden Goddess. Cythera and Cyprus are Her sacred places. Myrtle was Her tree, Dove Her bird, sometimes too the sparrow and swan. Copper sacred to Her, Emerald and Pearl, Rose and Violet. Arachne - Goddess of Spinning, Weaving, Thread arts. Spinner of the Web of Fate. Artemis - Amazonian Moon Goddess, Mother of all animals, Goddess of the Heart, Divine Huntress, Patroness of nurture, fertility and birth. Scythian tribes who worshipped Her were called Alani (Hunting Dogs). Great Bitch, her priestesses were the Sacred Bitches. The word Bitch took on negative meaning in Christian Europe because it is one of the most sacred titles of the Goddess. The term "son of a bitch" did not mean son of a dog, but spiritual son of the pagan Goddess. Virgin Moon Goddess, Lady of the Beasts, Mistress of the Animals. Sometimes depicted as a bear. Mugwort, Wormwood are Her plants. Willow, Her tree. A mellissae, Queen Bee, She is sometimes surrounded by bees. Athene - Goddess of Wisdom, totem the owl, Mother Goddess of the city of Athens, the Holy Virgin. Scales of Judgment, Celestial Virgin dispensing the fates of men. Olive was Her tree, owl Her bird. Gray-eyed, Flashing eyed Embodiment of Wisdom, Reason and Purity. Protectress of civilized life, handicrafts and agriculture. Inventor of the horse bridle, Who first tamed horses for human use. Sulfur sacred to Her. Olive, Her tree. Baubo - Greek Goddess of Laughter. Buto - Serpent Goddess aka Uazit. Cer (Ker) - Goddess of violent death. Ceto - Sea Goddess. Circe - Death Goddess, falcon Her bird. Pure Mother Bee. Poppy Her flower. Coronis - Crow Goddess Daphne - Laurel Goddess. Oleander Her plant.
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Demeter - Doorway of the Mysterious Feminine. 13th century B.C. Goddess of the Harvest, Her spirit was manifest in the final sheaf of the harvest. Mistress of Earth and Sea. Mother Goddess from 13th century B.C. Mycenae through the Middle Ages of Europe. Goddess of the Corn. Sacred Sow. Sulfur was sacred to Her. Every field of grain was Demeter's holy grain. The threshing floor, too was under Her protection. Both were Her temples where at any moment She might be present. Demeter of the corn-ripe yellow hair. Goddess of the Eleusinian Mysteries, celebrated at Harvest time, September, every 5 years, lasted 9 days. Most sacred of all Greek and Roman festivals. Poppy is Her flower. Eos - Birth Goddess, Rosy-fingered Dawn. Eurydice - Greek Mother of Fate, the Orphic name for Goddess of the Underworld. Snakes were Her sacred animals, and constant companions. Eurynome - Universal One, Pelasgian Creatress Who danced alone on the primordial ocean of Chaos until She brought the elements to order. Gaea - Mother Earth, Mother of the Gods, the Deep Breasted One, Oldest of Divinities. Galatea - Milk-giving Goddess. She Who made the Wheel of the Stars with Her Milk. Hebe - Maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess, Hebe.Hera.Hecate. She governed the Tree of Life with itÕs Magic Apples of Immortality. Goddess of Youth. Hecate - Moon Goddess, Protectress of childbirth. Her totem was a Frog. Wise Crone of the Hebe.Hera.Hecate triple Goddess. She is worshipped where three roads meet. Goddess of Magic and Prophecy. Protectress of travelers. Monkshood (Wolfbane) Her plant. Goddess of the Dark of the Moon, the black nights when the Moon is hidden. Often depicted with a basket. Henna sacred to Her, and willow, Her tree.
THE GREAT GODDESS
Hera - Great Mother of the Triple Goddess, Hebe, Hera, Hecate. Pomegranate Her fruit. Protectress of married women. Cow and Peacock are sacred to Her. Cuckoo, as the rainbird was sacred to Her. Lily, Her flower.
Hestia - Goddess of the Hearth. One of the oldest matriarchal Goddesses. She represented the Heart of the Home. aka Vesta. Every banquet began and ended with an offering to Her. Each city had a public hearth sacred to Hestia where the fire was never allowed to go out.
Hygeia - Health. She and Her Sister Goddess Panacea sprang from the milk of the Goddess Rhea.
Io - Moon. The White Cow Goddess Who Mothered the Ionians.
Iris - Goddess of the Rainbow. Source of the waters from on high, Mother of Love. Bridge between Heaven and Earth. Messenger of the gods. Gathered the souls of women. Iris is Her flower.
Kore - Holy Virgin, Inner Soul of Mother Earth. One of the earliest designations of the Female Spirit of the Universe.
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Leda - Goddess Who gave birth to the World Egg. Swan is Her totem.
Leto - Greek Mother of the Moon and Sun (Artemis and Apollo).
Maia - Grandmother of Magic, Mother of Greeks Enlightened One, Hermes. White Goddess. Her tree the Hawthorne, also called the May tree. Nike - Pre-Hellenic Victory Goddess of Samothrace. Oenothea - Wine Goddess. Dispenser of Immortality, keeping gods and men alive with Her Magic Ambrosia. Pandia - All Goddess, one of three daughters of the Moon in Greece. A title of the female Trinity. Her two sisters were Erse and Nemea. Pandora - All Giver, title of Earth Goddess Rhea. She poured out blessings from Her honey-vase called a pithos. Pangaea - Universal Gaea, title of the Earth Mother at Her mountain shrine in Thrace. She was called Ida, Olympia, Panorma, Universal Mountain Mother. Penelope - She Whose Face is Veiled. Greek Goddess of Fate. The Weaver. Persephone - Queen of the Underworld. Destroyer Goddess. Crone of the Triple Goddess with Kore and Demeter. Narcissus Her flower. Pitys - Fir tree Goddess. Satyrs wore fir twigs in Her honor. Selene - Variant of Semele -Moon Goddess
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Semele - Mother of Dionysus. Associated with both the Earth and the Moon. Themis - Pre-Hellenic Creatress. Her children were Themistes, Oracles. She founded the oracle of Delphi long before it was taken over by Apollo. Egyptians called Her Temu, spirit of the fertile Abyss that gave birth to all things in the beginning.
Tyche - Greek Fortune, Goddess of Destiny.
THE GREAT GODDESS CELTIC
Aine - Land Goddess of the Eoghanachta tribes in Munster. She is invoked at Midsummer when torches are taken through the fields to bless the growing corn with sacred fire. Airmed - Goddess of the Tuatha de Danaan, the most ancient deities of Ireland. She had great magical powers and herb craft was Her specialty. Ardwinna - Continental Celtic Goddess of the Wildwood. She demanded a fine for every animal killed in Her wood, which She was said to oversee mounted on a wild boar. Arianrhod - Mother Goddess of Celtic Aryans, Keeper of the endlessly circling Silver Wheel of the Stars, symbol of Time. Silver Wheel That Descends into the Sea. Welsh Sorceress Goddess of the Silver Wheel. Beautiful and pale of complexion, She was the most powerful of the mythic children of the Mother Goddess Don. Willow is Her tree. Arnamentia - Ancient British Goddess of Spring Waters.
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Artio - Great Goddess of wildlife in Celtic Gaul and Britain. Badb - Crow Goddess. Form of Morrigan, great Irish War Goddess. Sometimes took the form of a hooded crow, a wolf, a bear or a heifer, or a giant woman Who straddled a river with one foot on each bank. Banba - Irish Earth Goddess. Land Unplowed for a Year. Ban Naomha - Irish Fish Goddess. Becuma - Irish Goddess of the Magic Boat. Belisama - Celtic Goddess of the Mersey River. Blancheflor - White Flower, Celtic Lily Maid Who represented the Maiden aspect of the triple Goddess. The red flower stands for the Mother and the black bird for the Crone, according to the three sacred colors of the Gunas. Blodewedd - Welsh Virgin Goddess of Spring, totem the owl, bird of wisdom and lunar mysteries. The Ninefold Goddess of the western isles of Paradise. (Arianrhod) Flowerface. Most beautiful and treacherous. Boann - Primal Goddess of the River Boyne. She of the White Cow. Bodua - Continental Celtic War Goddess. Branwen - Goddess of Regeneration Who kept the Cauldron of Regeneration. Alder was Her tree. The White Bosomed One. Welsh Love goddess. Venus of the Northern Sea. The crow is Her animal. She is the White Crow. Briget (Brigid) - Triple Goddess of the great Celtic empire of Brigantia, which included parts of Spain, France and the British Isles. Female sage, Protectress of poets. Unable to eradicate the cult of Briget (pronounced Breed), the Catholic church made Her a saint, saying She was a nun Who founded a convent at Kildare. But the convent was known for its heathenish miracles and evidences of fertility magic. Cows never went dry; flowers and shamrocks sprang up in Her footprints, eternal Spring reigned in Her bower. Her feast day is the first of February, the first day of Spring in the pagan calendar. Imbolc, the day of union between Goddess and God. Teacher of the martial arts and Patroness of battle. Wells were sacred to Her. Shamrock Her sacred plant. Rowan Her tree. Scallop shell sacred to Her. Goddess of smithcraft, poetry and inspiration, healing and medicine. Bright Arrow, Bright One, Inventor of whistling. No man was allowed to pass beyond the hedge surrounding Her sanctuary. Lady of Fire and Sunlight. She is sometimes depicted with a cauldron as a symbol for inspiration. Her shrine at Kildare was maintained by 19 virgins who tended Her undying fire until almost modern times. On Her feast day of Imbolc, the universal Celtic fertility day, the Goddess Brigit kindles the fire
THE GREAT GODDESS
in the Earth, preparing the way for Spring. Her power is that of fire-in-water: a power that heals and nourishes. Imbolc is the first day of Spring, mid-way through the dark half of the year. Brigit, Goddess of all creative activity, rekindles the fire in the Earth, preparing it for the reemergence of green things. This stirring of new life is manifested by the first flowing of milk in the udders of ewes, a few weeks before the lambing season. Agricultural tools are reconsecrated for use, household fires and the fire of the smith’s forge are blessed by the Goddess (often by a woman who plays the role of Brigit) and talismans of rushes, Brigit’s Crosses are made for the protection of homes. Brigit’s snake comes out of the mound in which it hibernates, and it’s behavior is thought to determine the length of the remaining period of frost. The Triple Brigit - On Imbolc, She is revealed in Her 3 aspects. As Muse, She inspires bards with the spirit of truth. As Guardian of the forge and consort of smiths, She is the patroness of warriors. As the Lady of the Land Who knows all herbs, She is the greatest of healers. Oystercatcher is Her sacred bird. Caillech - Old Celtic name for Kali, The Great Goddess in Her Destroyer aspect. The Veiled One. Elder Her tree. Great pre-Celtic Goddess of British Isles. She had an eye in the middle of a blue-black face. She had red teeth and white hair. Controlled the seasons and the weather. Cosmic goddess of Earth and Sky, Moon and Sun. Canola - Ancient Irish Goddess. Inventor of the Irish harp. Carman - Irish Goddess of Sterility. Cerridwen - Triple Goddess. The Great Sow. The Old White One - Sow Goddess of ancient Wales who gave gifts of grain, bees and piglets. A fertility Goddess. Birch Her tree. Cessair (Kesara) - Early Irish Earth goddess. When Ireland coalesced out of the Underworld, the first beings to reach it were the followers of Cessair, a chieftain Who brought with Her 50 women and 3 men. Dana - Eponymous Great Mother of the Danes and the Irish Tuatha D? Danaan, people of the Goddess Dana. Danu - aka Anu, Ana, Cat Ana, Aine. Ancient Ancestress Goddess of Ireland. Dictynna - Lawgiving Goddess of Mount Dicte. Epona - Celtic/Saxon Horse Goddess of Iron Age Britain. Her cult stretched throughout Europe, from Spain to Eastern Europe and northern Italy to Britain. Irish kings were symbolically united with a white mare up to the 11th century. The Divine Horse still stands on a hillside at Uffington, 370 feet long, carved in chalk. She has the power to appear as a lively woman or a horse. Sometimes, She was the essence of a turbulent stream, for She is also a fertility Goddess, looked to for the
THE GREAT GODDESS
cultivation of maternal instincts, prosperity and ample crops. Her waters are a source of healing and She watches over dogs and horses. She symbolizes wild freedom. Her dark counterpart, the Black Mare or Night Mare (Melanippe). Great Mare Goddess Who granted sovereignty over the land to the continental Celts. After Roman conquest, She became patroness of horses and all who work with horses. Traditionally shown with a stable key. Eriu - The Lady Eire - ancient Irish Goddess, Controller of the western apple garden of immortality. Flidhais - Woodland Goddess, sometimes took the form of a doe. Morgan Le Fay - Death Goddess. Wells were sacred to Her. aka Morrigan, Mara, Fata Morgana. Raven Her bird. Shamrock Her plant. Morrigu - Goddess of Battle. She sometimes takes the shape of a woman washing a bloodied piece of clothing at the edge of a ford. The warrior who beholds Her knows that he will soon die. Nimue - Moon Goddess of Fate. Rhiannon - Other World Birch Goddess. Raven Her bird. Sinclair - Sacred Light. Sulis - Also known as Sul or Sol (Norse). Ancient Celtic Sun Goddess, worshipped especially on hilltops overlooking springs. The Springs at Bath were originally known as Aquae Sulis (Waters of the Sun).
THE GREAT GODDESS NORSE / TEUTONIC
Edda - Great Grandmother, Norse Mother Earth. Also the word for sacred poetry inspired by Her. Icelandic sagas or Eddas usually opened with an invocation to this Goddess, Who gave birth to the oldest third of the human race. Freya - Great Goddess of northern Europe. Leader of the primal matriarchs called Afliae, Powerful Ones or D’sir, Divine Grandmothers. Norse Goddess of Love and Beauty. Arainbow was Her jeweled necklace. She rode a chariot drawn by cats. Sometimes depicted as the Sow, “mistress” of the gods. She is the Chief Valkyrie in Her falcon cloak. Ruler of death, She chose from the dead spread across battlefields, taking them to Her palace Sessrumnir, meaning “rich in seats”. In time they might be born once more through the nurturance of the moist Earth, another aspect of Freya. She was also a helpful deity to women in labor. Hopeful lovers worshipped Her. Goddess of sexuality and making magic with love prayers. Amber is her gem. She traveled throughout the heavens either in a chariot with a retinue of cats or on the golden boar, Hildeswin. The runes of Her sword signify power, fertility, and birth. Yew is sacred to Her. Gunnlőd - Norse Earth Goddess Halja - Gothic name for Hel, Goddess of the Underworld Hel - Norse Queen of the Underworld. Goddess of the Dead. Wells were sacred to Her. Elder Her tree. Holly Her plant. Horsel - Teutonic Moon Goddess Idun - Norse Goddess. The Renewing One. In Her western garden grew the apples of Immortality. Saga - ancient Norse Goddess, Speaker, Sayer. Goddess of sacred poetry, charms, words of power. 38
THE GREAT GODDESS
Skadi - Celto-Teutonic Goddess in Her Destroyer aspect. Queen of the Shades, Mother Death. Dark twin of Freya. Known as Scath or Scatha by the Celts. Urd - Norse Earth Goddess. Ursel - aka Ursela, Saxon She-Bear Goddess.
THE GREAT GODDESS SCANDINAVIA
Angeyja - Scandinavian Water Goddess. Atla - Scandinavian Water Goddess. Audumla - Scandinavian Cow of Creation. Avfruvva - Mermaid Goddess of Finland. Baduhenna - War-Maddened. Scandinavian War Goddess. Sol - Norwegian Sun Goddess.
THE GREAT GODDESS SLAVIC GODDESSES
•Bereginy - Bóginki in Polish (boo-GIN-kee) Traditionally "covens" of old women performed the rituals and sacrifices for these river bank nymphs. Bóginki means "little Goddess". They were said to steal human babies and leave behind changelings called Odmience in Polish, Oborotni in Russian. These spirits were the original spirits of life and predate the sky deities. They are the forerunners of the Rusalki. •Domawiczka (Doh-mah-VEETCH-kah) female Domovoi or wife of the Domovoi. May be the same as the Kikimora. There are very few reports on this spirit, but they usually involve her rewarding anyone who bathes or finds her baby. • Kikimora(kee-kee-MOHR-ah) or Shishimora female house spirit who usually lives in the cellar or behind the stove. She comes out at night to spin and will look after the housework and the chickens if the home is well tended. If the household is a sloppy one she will wine, whistle and tickle the children at night. She is sometimes married to the domovik. To appease an angry Kikimora, you should wash all your pots and pans in a fern tea. She appears as an average woman with hair down (Slavic women always kept their heads covered) or sometimes with chicken feet. She would occasionally appear, spinning, to one about to die. •Lesovikha - (Leh-soh-VEE-kah) Female Leszi. Sometimes an ugly woman with large breasts, sometimes a naked young girl - or a woman in white as tall as the trees. 41
THE GREAT GODDESS
•Poludnica - Psezpolnica in Serbian (poh-wood-NEET-sah) Lady Midday, from "Poluden" - noon. She may appear as a 12-yr old girl, a beautiful woman or an old hag but is only seen at the hottest part of a summer's day. She is known to steal children or lead them astray in the fields and Russian mothers threaten their children with "Be good or the Poludnica will get you. She sometimes pulls the hair of farm workers or attacks women who have just given birth and wander out at noontime. She carries a scythe and will stop people in the field to either ask difficult questions or engage them in conversation. If the person fails to answer a question or tries to change the subject of the conversation, the Poludnica will strike them with illness or cut off their head (Poland). The Wends, German Slavs, called her pscipolnitsa and pictured her as carrying shears, a symbol of death. When not in the fields or streets, the Poludnica was said to float on the winds. Marija Gimbutas calls her "sunstroke" personified. It is thought that the Poludnica was the explanation for the dangers of working in the noon heat and remained a part of more recent legend because of her usefulness in scaring children away from valuable crops. • Polunocnica - (Poh-woo-nok-NEET-sah) "lady midnight". A "demon" said to torment children in the middle of the night. May have originally been the third Zorya of midnight • Poluvirica - (Poh-woo-vee-REET-sa) "female half-believer". This forest spirit probably had an earlier name but was later called poluvirica due to the belief that non-Christians returned after death as various home and forest spirits. She appears naked, with a long face, long hanging breasts and three braids of hair down her back. She is usually seen carrying a child. • Rusalka (roo-SAHW-kah) Female water Spirit. These souls of unbabtized babies or drowned maidens became beautiful pale girls with long flowing hair. They wear white or are sometimes naked, usually with poppies in their hair. They lived in the waters during the winter, but moved to the forests and fields during Rusal'naia week (hence the name) where they could often be seen perched in trees. A danger to humans, the Rusalki may lead cattle astray, steal children, fall upon people from the treetops and tickle them to death or kidnap young lads to take as lovers. They love to come out in the moonlight to sing and dance the khorovod (circle dance). If they find someone bathing near where they dance, often, they will drown them. Tying ribbons to trees in which they were known to perch is one way to appease them. Linens and scarves, as well as eggs were also left as offerings. Before these nature spirits were associated with the souls of the "unclean" dead, it is believed they were the spirits who brought moisture to forest and field.
THE GREAT GODDESS
•Baba Jaga - (BAH-bah YAH-gah) Jezi Baba in Polish (YEH-zhee BAH-bah) "Grandmother Bony-shanks". A terrifying Witch who flew through the air in a mortar using the pestle as a rudder and sweeping away her tracks with a broom. She lived in a revolving house which stood on chicken legs. Her fence was made of human bones and was topped with skulls. The keyhole was a mouth filled with sharp teeth. She would aid those who were strong and pure of heart and eat those who were not. I see her as a Goddess of death and initiation. •Dodola from "doit" - to give milk. A South Slavic cloud/rain goddess. Rain was thought to be a form of divine milk, sometimes thought to be from Dodola, sometimes the milk of Mokosh. Often, the clouds were perceived to be heavenly women or even cows. In Serbia, the rites of Dodola were kept up until quite recently: During a drought a girl, called Dodola, clad only in greenery and flowers was led through the village while her companions sang "Dodola" songs: We pass through the village, and the clouds across the sky. We go quicker, and the clouds go quicker, But the clouds have overtaken us and have bedewed the fields. We go through the village, and the clouds across the sky, and see, a ring drops from the clouds. - W.R.Ralston p.227-229 Afterwards, the girl dances and spins while the woman douse her with water. This practice is thought to convince the heavenly women, clouds, to rain upon the earth, represented by the greenery. The custom has survived in the Polish Dyngus-smigus Easter custom •Dziewona (jeh-VOH-nah) This huntress was said to run throughout the Carpathian forests. A version of Diana whose legend is probably due to contact with the Romanians. •Jurata (yoo-RAH-tah) A Baltic Sea Goddess who took the form of a mermaid. She was said to live in an underwater palace made of amber polished to look like gold. The mighty Perun fell in love with her beauty, but Jurata had eyes only for a human fisherman. The jealous God of Thunder send down a bolt of lightning which killed both Jurata and her fisherman. When pieces of amber wash ashore, they are said to be pieces of Jurata's ruined palace. Another version of this myth has her palace and lover destroyed by her own sea father who disapproved of her romance with a mere mortal. Durning storms it is said one may still here her lamenting over the loss of her lover.(Poland) •Lada (LAH-dah, WAH-dah) Lada is the Slavic goddess of love, beauty and domestic harmony. In Russia, when a couple is happily married, it is said they "live in lada", in love. Lad is also a word meaning "peace, union, harmony" as in the proverb "When a husband and wife have lad, they don't require klad (Treasure)" - Ralston, p.105. She is said to reside in the
THE GREAT GODDESS
underworld, vrij, until the Vernal Equinox, Maslenica, when she returns, bringing the lark and springtime with her. Like Jarilo, Lada is often portrayed as a goddess who is born and dies yearly. Her sacred tree is the lime/linden, supposedly because its leaves are shaped like hearts. As a Slavonian love song goes: "As the bee is drawn by the linden-bloom (or lime-perfume), My heart is drawn by thee." - Leland, p.138
One story has her married to Swarog who without her could not have created the world. Other sources give her a brother/lover named Lado which would make them divine twins such as Freya and Frey. There is also some mention of her two sons, Lel & Polel, and that of a daughter, Liuli or Lielia. She and her daughter are the Rozhanitsy - Goddesses of a child's fate •Marzanna (mahr-ZAH-nah), Marena Death and winter personified. the Marzanna appeared as an old woman dressed in white. Annually, an effigy of her was made, escorted to the edge of the village and thrown out. In Poland ist was burned then "drowned". This was customary as both the fire of the sun, and the rainwaters were needed for the fertility of the crops. •Matka or Mata Syra Zjemlja (MAHT-kah SIHR-ah ZHYEM-yah) "...Matushka Zemlia, Mother Earth, giving suck from bountiful breasts to countless children. When the peasants spoke of Matushka Zemlia, their eyes, usually dull and expressionless, were flooded with love, like the eyes of children who see their mother at a distance." - Shmarya Levin Moist Mother Earth, seems to have never been personified as other Earth Goddesses were (given human form), but worshipped in her natural form. She may, however, be the same Goddess as Mokosh. Along with the ancestral worship shown in the belief in household spirits, Earth worship was most adamantly clung to despite the Christianizing of the Slavic world. She had absolute sanctity and no one was allowed to strike her or begin farming until her birthgiving time at Maslenica. Memorial day and Assumption day (sorry - I have no dates as of yet) were her name days so no plowing or digging could be done then. Anyone spitting on the Earth had to beg her forgiveness. Property disputes were settled by calling her to witness the justice of the claims. Oaths and marriages were confirmed by swallowing a clump of earth or holding it on the head. Boundaries were measured while walking them with a clump of earth on the head. Villages were protected from cattle plague & epidemic by plowing a furrow around them to release Mother Earth's power. If no priest was present, sins were confessed to the earth and into the 20th century survived the custom of begging the Earth's forgiveness prior to death.
THE GREAT GODDESS
Earth worship was transferred to the cult of Mary and is why she is such a central part of Slavic Christianity. Unlike other nature deities, Mata Syra Zemlja was never personified as a Goddess with human features. In the early 1900's to save their village from plague of cholera the older women circled the village at midnight quietly getting the younger women to come out. Without the men's knowledge, they chose nine maidens and three widows who were led out of the village and undressed down to their shifts. The maidens let their hair down, white shawls covered the heads of the widows. They armed themselves with ploughs and items of frightening appearance such as animal skulls.The maidens took up scythes and the entire procession marched around the village, howling and shrieking, while ploughing a deep furrow to release the spirits of the Earth. Any man who came upon the procession was felled by the maidens "without mercy". •Mjésjac (MYEH-syahnts) The Moon Deity- Sometimes seen as "The Sun's old bald uncle", sometimes his wife who grows older every winter as she moves away from her husband across the sky. In the summer, her youth returns and they are once again re-united and remarried. •Mokosz (MOH-kosh) Some believe her name means "moisture" and therefore believe her to be the personified version of Mat' Syra Ziemlja (Moist Mother Earth). Images of her survive to this day in Russian embroidery with arms raised, flanked by two horsemen. She is usually describedas having a large head & long arms. In Onolets, she was believed to walk abroad or spin wool at night and if a sheep mysteriously lost it's hair, it meant that Mokosh had sheared them. Mokosh is associated with weaving, spinning, and perhaps that is why she is seen as the Goddess of fate. As all forms of cloth making and embroidery are ritually and magically done, she is seen as the Goddess of Magic. She is also a Goddess of fertility and bounty often portrayed holding a horn or cornucopia. Some sources say she rules over occult knowledge and divination. She is also sometimes referred to as wife of Swarog which would then create a marriage of "heaven" and "earth". Rybakov called her the Great Mother Goddess of the Slavs. 16th century church chronicles contain a question posed to women parishoners "Did you not go to Mokosz?" It was believed that if Mokosz were pleased with the women's offerings, she would help the women with their laundry. This helps to support some people's theory that Mokosz was actually a water Goddess. As a wandering goddess, she is thought to be tied into the fertility of the earth and rain is sometimes called "Mokosz milk." Mokosz has survived in the legends of Mokosha - minor female spirits who punish women for spinning on Friday, Mokosh sacred day. Her worship was transfered to that of St. Paraskeva-Friday.
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Mokosh's day is Friday - her feast day is on the Friday between Oct 25 and Nov 1. She was given offerings of vegetables which seem to have been the focal point of the day. One reference fixes this date on Oct 28. •Slava A beautiful bird - a messenger of God Perun, every feather of which was said to shine a different color. This beautiful bird was called MATEPb CBA (Mater Sva) which can be translated either as Mater Slava (Mother Glory), Mater svex (Mother of everyone) or Mater Sova (Mother Owl - which may be why much of Russian Folk art depicts an owl). This flame colored bird usually appeared in the critical moment and pointed with its wing the direction in which an army should go. Everyone knew that either glory or a glorious death awaited the warriors and the prince had no choice but to follow the bird's lead. (from Taras at Adventure World E-zine) She is probably the forerunner of the Firebird •Vesna "Spring". A Vernal Goddess, possible Serbian in origin, possibly another name or tabootitle for Lada. •The Zorya - (ZOR-yah) These daughters of Dazhdbog are the Auroras of dawn and dusk, and sometimes have a third sister, midnight (perhaps, Polunocnica) however, this makes little sense as the name, "Zorya" literally means "dawn." It is more probably that modern artists and neo-Pagans have added the third Zorya in order to "Wiccify" her as most in the Slavic system is dual and Polunocnica has a sister/counterpart, Poludnica - Lady Noon. The Zorya are the Guardians of the God or hound, which is chained to the constellation, Ursa Major. Like the Fenris wolf of the Norse mythos , this creature will destroy the world if it ever breaks free. The custom of making the colourful eggs, pysanky, is somehow supposed to strengthen the links in his chain. Each morning, Zorya Utrenyaya opens the gates of Dazhdbog's Eastern palace so he may ride across the sky. In the evening, Zorya Vechernyaya closes the gates after her father's daily ride is finished. Their other two sisters, Zezhda Dennitsa and Vechernyaya Zezhda, the morning star and evening star are the caretakers of their father's horses and are sometimes considered to be the same two goddesses. These Goddesses, associated with Venus, are sometimes merged into one warrior Goddess, Zorya, who hides and protects warriors with her veil
THE GREAT GODDESS OTHER GODDESSES
Akewa - Sun Goddess of the Toba of Argentina. Sister of all earthly women. Akka - Eponymous ancestral Goddess of Akkad. The Old Woman, the Grandmother or the Midwife. Water-drawer Who brought gods to birth out of the Primal Deep. Altan-Telgey - Mongolian Earth goddess. Golden Surface. Amashilamma - Sumerian Cow Goddess. Amma - Norse Grandmother Goddess Who gave birth to the race of Freemen. Anat (Anata) - Great Goddess of the Ugaritic pantheon had 4 separate aspects: Warrior, Mother, Virgin and Wanton. Mother of all nations, Virgin Mistress of the gods. Angerboda - The Hag of the Iron Wood. aka Hel. Apia-Fellus - Scythian Earth Goddess Ararat - Ancient Anatolian World Creator Goddess, embodied the famous Mt.. Ararat in modern Armenia. Armathr - Mother of Prosperity. Icelandic Goddess incarnate in a Sacred Stone. Arinna – Hittite/Anatolian Great Goddess, Most Sacred Goddess of the Sun. 47
THE GREAT GODDESS
Artimpaasa - Scythian Love Goddess Who ruled the Moon. Aspelenie - Lithuanian Goddess ruled the corner of the house behind the stove. Her animal form was a little ringed snake. Astarte - Phoenician Great Goddess. Lady of Byblos, one of the oldest forms of the Great Goddess in the Middle East. Her shrine at Byblos dates back to the Neolithic and flourished through the Bronze Age. True Sovereign of the World. She was the creating, preserving and destroying Goddess worshipped by all Indo-European cultures. Queen of the Stars, Mother of all Souls. Lily was Her flower. aka Tanit. The White sow. Dove, Her bird. Womb. Her colors were red and white, Acacia and Tamarisk are Her trees. Sometimes depicted with the head of a lioness. In some pictures She stands small-breasted and naked on the back of a lioness, with a lotus and a mirror in one hand and 2 snakes in the other. Tamarisk is Her sacred tree. Atargatis - Philistine Fish Goddess. (Dea Syria, Derceto, Derketo) Syrian/Aramaic Mermaid Goddess of fertilizing moisture. Beautiful and wise Vegetation Goddess, Sky Goddess, Dolphin-crowned Sea Goddess. Auchimalgen - Moon Goddess, Protectress of the Araucanians of Chile. Aunt Nancy - Haitian voodoo Spider Woman. Azer-Ava - Rain bringing Sky Goddess of the Mordvins of eastern Russia. Ba Alat (Belili, Beltis) - Our Lady, chief deity of the Phoenicians. She was shown as a heavily-built naked woman Whose hands supported Her mature breasts. Wise old Lady of the Trees. Bachue - Great ancestral Goddess of the Chibcha from Columbia. Beiwe - Arctic Sun Goddess of the Saami. She made new plants grow and Protectress of reindeer. When She was invoked, a special prayer was always said for the insane. Bendis - Thracian Goddess of Destruction, the Crone and the Waning Moon. Cappodocian Earth Goddess. Beruth - Phoenecian High Goddess, Mother Earth. Bila - Australian Sun Goddess. Biliku - Creatress of the Earth. Andamanese Islands Goddess. Kindly and fearsome, She sometimes appeared in a spider's form. She was the first to own fire.
THE GREAT GODDESS
Bonto - Mordvin Creator Goddess. Buana - Good Mother. Cow Goddess. Milk-giving Mother of wealth and plenty. Bugady Musun - Siberian Mother of the Animals. Sometimes depicted as a very old, very strong woman. In Her animal form, She was a huge female elk or a wild reindeer. Ruler of all life, all food. Byul-Soon - Korean Star Goddess. Car - Indo-European Goddess. Mother of carnivals, charms and the alphabet. Cybele - Great Mother Goddess of Phrygia. 200 B.C. Depicted with a lion at Her feet. Also known as Zemelo to the Phrygians. Great Mother of the gods from Ida. Lady of the Caves. Lapis Niger (Black stone) sacred to Her. Mother of the gods. Her sanctuaries were on mountains, frequently in caves. Her animals lions. Her priests, the galli, were self-emasculated eunuchs, attired in female garb and wearing long hair, fragrant with ointment. Rose is Her sacred flower. Erigone - Goddess of Justice. aka Astraea, Starry One. Har - Patroness of Temple Prostitutes. Heimarmene - Pythagorean Goddess of Fate. Aspect of the triple Goddess with Ananke and Dike. Kupala - Slavonic Water Mother Who annually renews Her virginity and vitality of nature with baptism. Her worshipers bathed themselves in rivers and purified their souls with the Dew of Kupala, gathered during the night of Her festival. Lucetia (Lucina) - Sabine Goddess, the Mother of Light. She bestowed gifts of light, enlightenment and eyesight, especially as the Opener of eyes of newborn children. A wreath of rue tied with a red ribbon was her healing charm. Magog - Biblical name of the Scythian Amazonian Goddess and Her land in the north, whence came equestrian warriors greatly feared by the Semites. Magpie Her bird. Mamokoriyama - Primal Mother of the Yanomamo tribes, Who gave birth to the first people. Mara - Exceedingly ancient name of the Goddess-as-Crone, the Death-bringer. Mary - Virgin Mother of Jesus. Myrrh sacred to Her.
THE GREAT GODDESS
Mastor-Ava - Earth Goddess of Russia. Mati-Syra-Zemlya - Moist Mother Earth worshipped by Slavic peasants even under orthodox Christianity. Her ceremonies take place outside the church, on the anniversaries of old pagan festivals. In August, She is invoked with libations of hemp oil. Medea - Wise One. Eponymous Mother Goddess of the Medes. She was the All Wise One Who dwelt forever in Heaven. Miti - Mother Goddess of the Chukchi. She gave secret of magic to humans. Modir - Norse Mother Goddess Nammu - Sumerian Mother of the Universe. Nemesis - Goddess of Retribution Ninhursag - Akkadian Goddess, Mistress of Serpents. She Who gives life to the dead.Sumerian Mountain Mother. Creatress of first human beings whom She made out of clay. Associated with serpents and the Sacred Cow. Ninsun - Akkadian Goddess Who knew all Knowledge, Mother of Gilgamesh. Ninti - Lady of Life, Lady of the Rib. Sumerian Birth Goddess Who enabled pregnant women to make their babies bones out of their own ribs. Niobe - Snowy One. Anatolian Mountain Goddess Omphale - Lydian Goddess of the Hub, Omphalos, the navel-stone marking the center of the Universal Womb. Rati - Balinese Goddess. Erotic Delight, Goddess of Sexual passions, Mistress of the Gods. Represented with huge breasts, a pregnant belly, a mouth twisted to one side and shaped like a vulva. Overflowing sexuality and fertility. Lady of Heaven. Muse of erotic poetry. Siduri Sabitu - Babylonian Goddess of the Wine of Eternal Life. Sige - Silence. Primal Creatress of Gnostics, who said Silence was the Mother of the Great Goddess Herself. Out of Her was born the first Word, the Logos of Creation. Sophia - Gnostic creation myth said Sophia was born from the primordial female power Sige. Sophia gave birth to a male spirit, Christ, and a female spirit, Achamoth. Goddess of Wisdom. The World Soul was born of Her smile. Seven fold
THE GREAT GODDESS
mandala represents 7 branches of learning. Stella Maris - Star of the Sea. Epithet of Isis, Ishtar, Aphrodite, Venus, Mari-Anna and the Virgin Mary. Sunna - German Sun Goddess. Tanit - Cathiginian name for Phoenician Great Goddess Astarte, Queen of the Stars. Her priestesses were famous astrologers. aka Astroarche, Queen of the Stars. Thalassa - Great Goddess at Rhodes and Miletus, Mother of the Telchines (enchanters). Patroness of sex and marriage. Uni - Etruscan Great Mother, Triple Goddess. Vir-Ava - Forest Mother, form of Azer-Ava. Friendly tree Goddess Who welcomed berry pickers and mushroom hunters. Va-Kul - Zyrian Mother of Waters, worshipped throughout the Middle Ages as a powerful Goddess Whose displeasure could cause catastrophe. Walpurga - May Queen of Germany. Walpurisnacht was the orgiastic festival of the Springtime. Sacred Marriage. Zemelo - Great Mother Goddess of Phrygia.
THE GREAT GODDESS
We all come from the Goddess And to Her we shall return, Like a drop of rain Flowing to the ocean.
May the Goddess bless all your steps! Blessed be! Marco Nektan
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