An-A-Z-of-GODDESSES

 
An A-Z of GODDESSES

Aditi: ('Limitless') Hindu Mother Goddess, self-formed, the Cosmic Matrix.
Mother of the Sun God Mitra and the Moon God Varuna.

Ambika: Hindu, 'the generatrix,' wife of Shiva or of Rudra.

Annapurna: Hindu. Goddess who provides food; she lives on top of Mount
Annapurna.

Aphrodite: ('Foam-Born') Greek Goddess of sexual love. She was born of the
bloody foam of the sea where Cronus threw the genitals of his father Uranus
after castrating him. Married, on Zeus's orders, to the lame Smith God
Hephaestus, and unfaithful to him with the war God Ares. She was in fact an
ancient East Mediterranean Goddess and can be equated with Astarte.

Arachne: Greek Spider Goddess. A Lydian girl skilled in weaving, she dared to
challenge Athene to compete with her. The contest was held, and Arachne's work
was faultless: impudently, it portrayed some of the Gods' less reputable deeds,
including Athene's father Zeus abducting Europa. Furious, Athene turned her
into a spider, doomed eternally to spin thread drawn from her own body. But the
Spider Goddess is more archetypal than this story suggests: spinning and
weaving the pattern of destiny like the Moerae or the Norns, and enthroned in
the middle of her spiral-pathed stronghold like Arianrhod. Athene here
represents Athenian patriarchal thinking, trying to discipline earlier Goddess-
concepts.

Aradia: Italian (Tuscany) Witch Goddess, surviving there into this century.
Daughter of Diana and Lucifer (i.e. of the Sun and the moon), she came to Earth
to heal the people and to teach her mother's magic. As she became a woman, she
became aware of her being a divine child. Others became jealous of her, and at
the age of 22, they slayed her. Her followers were heart-broken, they placed
her body in a cave and sealed it off. Three days later she stepped from the
cave alive. She told the people not to worry, and soon after 'left' to follow
her true path to the god and goddess. She is often considered a demi-goddess,
although to many she is seen as being a real person. After Christian
intervention she was supposedly the one to bring a number of the Strega
traditions back into the light, responsible for the Tanarra, Fanarra and
Janarra traditions of Stregheria today, as well as being honored by the Aridian
tradition (part of the Tanarra tradition), which was named after Arida, a
village itself named after Aradia. The Strega traditions are known to be very
secretive today, they are mainly family traditions, however Aradia is
worshipped by many, including many other pagans and witches.

Ariadne: Cretan and Greek. The daughter of King Minos of Crete, who with her
her cunning thread helped Theseus find his way into the labyrinth to kill the
Minotaur, and out again. She eloped with him, but he abandoned her on the
island of Naxos. She was consoled by Dionysus, who in her Naxos cult was
regarded as her consort.

Arianrhod: ('Silver Wheel') Major Welsh Goddess. Mother of Llew Llau Gyffes by
her brother Gwydion. Her consort Nwyvre ('Sky, Space, Firmament') has survived
in name only. Caer Arianrhod is the circumpolar stars, to which souls withdraw
between incarnations; she is thus a Goddess of reincarnation. Honoured at the
Full Moon.

Artemis: Greek Nature and Moon Goddess. Daughter of Zeus and Leto, and twin
sister of Apollo (though a day older). She probably absorbed a pre-Indo-
European Sun Goddess, and her twinning in classical legend with the Sun God
Apollo may stem from this. The Greeks assimilated her to a pre-Greek mistress
of wild beasts. Bears were sacred to her, and she was associated with the
constellation Ursa Major.

Astarte: Canaanite version of Ishtar; fertility goddess. Chief goddess of Tyre
and Sidon. Astarte was also the Greek form of the name Ashtart. Tends to merge
with Asherat and Anat, and with the Egyptian Hathor. She came to Egypt; Rameses
II built a temple honoring her, and she and Isis were said to be firm friends.

Athena: Greek, a Warrior Goddess, yet also one of intelligence and the arts of
peace. Protector of towns, above all of Athens.

Banshee: (Bean Sidhe , 'Woman Fairy') Irish. Attached to old Irish families
('the O's and the Mac's'), she can be heard keening sorrowfully near the house
when a member of the family is about to die. Still very much believed in, and
heard.

Bast: Egytian Cat Goddess of Bubastis in the Delta. Originally lion-headed, she
represented the beneficient power of the Sun, in contrast to Sekhmet who
personified its destructive power.

Bean-Nighe: ('Washing Woman') Scottish and Irish. Haunts lonely streams washing
the bloodstained garments of those about to die.

Befana: ('Epiphany') Italian Witch Fairy who flies her broomstick on Twelfth
Night to come down chimneys and bring presents to children.

Binah: ('Understanding') Hebrew. The Supernal Mother, third Sephirah of the
Cabalistic Tree of Life. She takes the raw directionless energy of Chokmah, the
Supernal Father (the second Sephira), and gives it form and manifestation; she
is thus both the Bright Mother, Aima (nourishing) and the Dark Mother, Ama
(constricting).

Bona Dea: ('Good Goddess') Roman Earth Goddess of Fertility, worshipped only by
women; even statues of men were covered where her rites took place.

Brighid, Brigid, Brigit, Brid: Irish Goddess of Fertility and Inspiritation,
daughter of the Dagda; called 'the poetess.' Often triple ('The Three
Brigids'). Her characteristics, legends and holy places were taken over by the
historical St Bridget.

Cailleach Beine Brick: A Scottish legendary witch probably recalling an earlier
local goddess.

Callisto: ('Most Beautiful') Greek Moon Goddess, to whom the she-bear was
sacred in Arcadia. Envisaged as the axle on which everything turns, and thus
connected with the Ursa Major constellation. Linked with Artemis, often called
Artemis Callisto.

Carman: Irish. Wexford Goddess, whence Gaelic name of Wexford, Loch Garman
(Loch gCarman).

Cerridwen: Welsh Mother, Moon and Grain Goddess, wife of Tegid and mother of
Creirwy (the most beautiful girl in the world) and Avagdu (the ugliest boy).
Owner of an inexhaustible cauldron called Amen, in which she made a magic
draught called 'greal' ('Grail?') from six plants, which gave inspiration and
knowledge. Mother of Taliesen, greatest of all Welsh bards. Most of her legends
emphasize the terrifying aspect of the Dark Mother; yet her cauldron is the
source of wisdom and inspiration.

Cliona of the Fair Hair: Irish. South Munster Goddess of great beauty, daughter
of Gebann the Druid, of the Tuatha De Danaan. Connected with the O'Keefe family.

Clota: Scottish. Goddess of the River Clyde.

Cybele: Greek. Originally Phrygian, finally merged with Rhea. Goddess of
Caverns, of the Earth in its primitive state; worshipped on mountain tops.
Ruled over wild beasts. Also a Bee Goddess.

Dakini: Hindu. One of the Six Goddess Governing the Six Bodily Substances; the
others being Hakini, Kakini, Lakini, Rakini and Sakini.

Dana, Danu: The major Irish Mother Goddess, who gave her name to the Tuatha De
Danann ('Peoples of the Goddess Dana'), the last but one occupiers of Ireland
in the mytholigical cycle.

Demeter: ('Earth-Goddess-Mother') Greek goddess of the fruitful Earth,
especially of barley. Daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Her brother Zeus, tricking
her in the form of a bull, made her the mother of Persephone.

Diana: Roman equivalent of the Greek Moon and Nature Goddess Artemis, and
rapidly acquired all her characteristics. Like Artemis, classically regarded as
virgin but originally a Sacrificial-Mating Goddess.

Dione: Phoenician/Greek. Also known as Baltis. A Nature or Earth Goddess,
overlapping with Diana and Danae. Daughter of Uranus and Gaia. Married her
brother Cronus, who gave her the city of Byblos.

Discordia: Roman Goddess of Discord and Strife, who preceeded the chariot of
Mars. Greek equivalent Eris.

Ereshkigal: ('Queen of the Great Below') Assyro-Babylonian Goddess of the
Underworld, sister of Ishtar (Inanna). Known as 'Star of Lamentation,' or
sometimes simply as Allatu ('The Goddess').

Eris: Greek goddess of Discord.

Erin: Irish. One of the Three Queens of the Tuatha De Danann, daughters of the
Dagda, who asked that Ireland be named after them.

Frigg, Freya: ('Well-Beloved, Spouse, Lady') Most revered of the Teutonic
Goddesses. Wife and sister of Odin.

Gaia: ('Earth') The 'deep-breasted,' the primordial Greek Earth Mother, the
first being to emerge from Chaos. She was regarded as creating the universe,
the first race of gods, and humankind.

Glaisrig, Glaistig: A Scottish Undine, beautiul and seductive, but a goat from
the waist down (which she hides under a long green dress). She lures men to
dance with her and then sucks their blood. Yet she can be benign, looking after
children or old people or herding cattle for farmers.

Gorgons, The: Greek. Three daughters of Phorcys and his sister Ceto. Winged
monsters with hair of serpents, they turned men to stone by their gaze. They
were Euryale and Stheno, who were immortal, and Medusa who was mortal and
killed by Perseus.

Grian: ('Sun') Irish. A Fairy Queen with a court on Pallas Green Hill, Co.
Tipperary. Also a general Goddess symbol.

Gruagach, The: ('The Long-Haired One') Scottish. Female fairy to whom the
dairymaids used to pour libations of milk into a hollow stone.

Gwenhwyfar, Guinevere, Gueneva: Arthur's queen. Traces of Triple Goddess.

Hathor: Egyptian. An ancient Sky Goddess; Ra's daughter by Nut, or his wife;
sometimes the wife or mother of Horus the Elder, Goddess of pleasure, joy,
love, music and dancing. Protectress of women and embodiment of the finest
female qualities.

Hecate: Greek, originally Thracian and pre-Olympian; at the same time a Moon
Goddess, and Underworld Goddess and a Goddess of magic.

Hel, Hela: Teutonic Goddess of the kingdom of the dead, not considered as a
place of punishment. Daughter of Loki and Angurboda, and sister of the Midgard
serpent of the ocean encircling the Earth, and of the devouring Fenris-wolf.
Half her face was totally black.

Hestia: ('Hearth') Greek. First daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and oldest of the
Olympians. Goddess of domestic fire and of the home in general. Poseidon and
Apollo both wanted to marry her but she placed herself under Zeus' protection
as eternally virgin. She received the first morsel of every sacrifice. Roman
equivalent Vesta.

Inanna: ('Lady of Heaven') Sumerian Queen of Heaven, Mother Goddess to whom the
Semitic Ishtar was assimilated.

Isis: Egyptian. The most complete flowering of the Goddess concept in human
history. Daughter of Earth God Geb and Sky Goddess Nut.

Kali: Hindu, Tibetan, Nepalese. Often called Kali Ma ('the Black Mother'). A
terrible but necessary destroyer, particularly of demons, but also a powerful
creative force, much misunderstood in the West.

Kundalini: ('Coiled') Hindu. The feminine Serpent Force, especially in its
relation to organic and inorganic matter; the universal life-force of which
electricity and magnetism are mere manifestations. Envisaged as moving in a
left-handed spiral, when aroused in the human body, from the base of the spine
up to the brain.

Lady of the Lake: Arthurian. In some legends Vivienne (or Viviane); in others,
 Vivienne was the daughter of the Lady of the Lake by Dylan, son of Arianrhod
and Gwydion. In Thomas Mallory, the Lady of the Lake is called Nimue.

Lakshmi: Hindu Goddess of good fortune and plenty, and the personification of
beauty.

Leannan Sidhe: Irish fairy lover, succubus. In the Isle of Man she is
malevolent and vampiric.

Lilith: In Hebrew legend, she was Adam's first wife, who would not subordinate
herself to him and was turned into a demoness.

Lorelei: German. A beautiful siren who sat on a cliff above the Rhine, luring
boatmen to their death with her songs.

Luna: The Roman Moon Goddess, identified with Diana and the Greek Selene.

Malkuth: ('The Kingdom') Hebrew. Personification of Earth, of the Earth-soul;
the goddess in actual manifestation.

Mary Magdalene: Hebrew. Held in Christian tradition to have been a reformed
prostitute; but there are no biblical grounds for this whatsoever.

Maya: Hindu. The Goddess of Nature, the universal creatress.

Medusa: Greek. The only mortal member of the three Gorgons. Her hair was turned
to serpents by Athene because she dared to claim equal beauty with hers.
Her gaze turned men to stone.

Minerva: Roman. Wife of Jupiter, forming a triad with his other wife, Juno.

Morgan: ('Of the Sea') Arthur's half-sister Morgan le Fay; but would seem to be
a much older Goddess, possibly the Glastonbury Tor one, for her island is
Avalon.

Neith: Egyptian. A very ancient Delta Goddess, protectress of Sais; her emblem
was the crossed arrows of a predynastic clan.

Nemesis: (also known as Rhamnusia) Greek. Daughter of Erebus and Nyx.
Goddess of divine anger, justice and vengeance, especially against mortals who
offended the moral law, broke taboos or achieved too much happiness or wealth.
Her anger is directed toward human transgression of the natural, right order of
things and of the arrogance causing it. Nemesis pursues the insolent and the
wicked with inflexible vengeance. Her cult probably originated from Smyrna.
She balanced things and is also in this sense the bringer of Karma. In
mythology, Nemesis was responsible for Narcissus's death. Many nymphs and girls
fell in love with him but he rejected them. One of these nymphs, Echo, was so
distraught over this rejection that she withdrew into a lonely spot and faded
until all that was left was a plaintive whisper. The goddess Nemesis heard the
rejected girls prayers for vengeance. Narcissus was punished by Nemesis, who
made him fall in love with his own reflection, seen in a fountain pool. He was
unable to satisfy his own desire, and wasted away. His blood changed into
flowers (the narcissus).
Nemesis is portrayed as serious looking woman with in her left hand a whip, a
rein, a sword, or a pair of scales. In the Hellenistic period she was portrayed
with a steering wheel. Nemesis is often associated with the goose. She has
changed into the form of a goose before in mythology.

Nicneven: Scottish Samhain Witch Goddess. Tradition places her night according
to the old (Julian) calendar, on 10 November.

Nimue: Arthurian. Thomas Mallory's name for the Lady of the Lake.

Nostiluca: Gaulish Witch Goddess.

Nyx: (Greek) Mother of Nemesis.

Oshun and Oya: Nigerian, Yoruba tribe and Brizilian Voodoo. Sisters, daughters
of Yemaja, and wives of the Thunder God Shango.
Oshun was beautiful and Oya plain, and there was jealousy between them.
Goddesses respectively of the rivers Oshun and Niger.

Pandora: ('Gift of All') The Greek Eve, fashioned in clay by Hephaestus on
Zeus' orders to punish Prometheus for having stolen fire from heaven. Her name
means that each God or Goddess gave her an appropriate gift. Zeus gave her a
box which she must not open. She did open it, and all the evils that plague
humankind came out of it. All that was left at the bottom was Hope.

Persephone: Greek and Phoenician. Originally a purely Underworld Goddess,
became a corn-seed Goddess, daughter of Demeter.

Pythia: ('Pythoness') Greek. Serpent Goddess, daughter of Gaia.

Rhiannon: ('Great, or Divine, Queen'). Welsh fertility and Otherworld Goddess.

Sarasvati: Hindu. Wife of Brahma, born of his body. Goddess of speech, music,
wisdom, knowledge and the arts.

Sekhmet: ('The Powerful') Egyptian Lioness-Goddess, Eye of Ra who was her
father. Wife of Ptah as Goddess of the Memphite triad, and mother of Nefertum,
God of the setting Sun (later replaced by Imhotep).

Selene: Greek Moon Goddess, daughter of Hyperion and Theia, and sister of
Helios (the Sun) and Eos (Dawn); though sometimes said to be the daughter of
Zeus or of Helios.

Sophia: ('Wisdom') A Gnostic Aeon; but Wisdom personified as female was earlier
also characteristic of Hebrew and Greek-Hebrew thinking.

Tailtiu: Irish. Foster-mother of Lugh, who instituted the Tailtean Games,
central event of the Festival of Lughnasadh (1 August), in her memory.

Tara: ('Radiating') Hindu Star Goddess, wife of Brihaspati (identified with the
planet Jupiter), teacher of the Gods.

Tenemit: Egyptian Underworld Goddess, who gave ale to the deceased.

Tiamat: Assyro-Babylonian Primordial Sea Mother Goddess, the mass of salt
waters, who with her mate Apsu (the sweet waters) begat the original chaotic
world and who also symbolized it and ruled it.

Ulupi: Hindu. A Serpent Goddess, one of the Nagis, dwelling in Patala, the
lowest level of the Underworld.

Valkyries, The: Teutonic. In late Scandinavian myth, they brought the souls of
those slain in battle to Odin.

Venus: Roman. Originally a Goddess of Spring and protectress of vegetation and
gardens, was a minor deity till she became assimilated to the Greek Aphrodite
in the second century BC.

Vesta: ('Torch, Candle') Roman Goddess of fire, both domestic and ritual.
Daughter of Saturn and Ops. Domestically she presided over the hearth and the
preparation of meals.

Virgin Mary, The: Mother of Jesus.

Vivienne, Viviane: Arthurian. Sometimes referred to as the Lady of the Lake,
sometimes as the Lady's daughter.

Yesod: ('Foundation') Hebrew. Ninth Sephira of the Cabalistic Tree of Life,
sphere of the Moon and of the astral plane.