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Hathor (Egyptian: Ḥwt-Ḥr, "Mansion of Horus"), is an Ancient Egyptian goddess who personified the principles 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.
The cult of Hathor pre-dates the historical period and the roots of devotion to her are, therefore, difficult to trace, though it may be a development of predynastic cults who venerated the fertility, and nature in general, represented by cows.
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 Narme 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.
The Ancient Egyptians viewed reality as multi-layered in which deities who merge together for various reasons, whilst retaining divergent attributes and myths, were not seen as contradictory but complementary. In a complicated relationship Hathor is at times the mother, daughter and wife of Ra and, like Isis, is at times described as the mother of Horus, and associated with Bast.
The cult of Osiris promised eternal life to those deemed morally worthy. Originally the justified dead, male or female, became an Osiris but by early Roman times females became identified with Hathor and men with Osiris.
In Aztec mythology, Cihuacoatl ("snake woman"; also Cihuacóatl) was one of a number of motherhood and fertility goddesses.
Cihuacoatl was especially associated with midwives, and with the sweatbaths where midwives practiced. She is paired with Quilaztli and was considered a protectress of Chalmeca and patroness of Culhuacan. She helped Quetzalcoatl create the current race of humanity by grinding up bone from the previous ages, and mixing it with his blood. She is also the mother of Mixcoatl, whom she abandoned at a crossroads. Tradition says that she often returns there to weep for her lost son, only to find a sacrificial knife.
Although she was sometimes depicted as a young woman, similar to Xochiquetzal, she is more often shown as a fierce skull-faced old woman carrying the spears and shield of a warrior. Childbirth was sometimes compared to warfare and the women who died in childbirth were honored as fallen warriors. Their spirits, the Cihuateteo, were depicted with skeletal faces like Cihuacoatl. Like her, the Cihuateteo are thought to haunt crossroads at night to steal children.
Hecate or Hekate. Hecate is the transcription from the Latin, whereas Hekate is the transcription from the Greek, both refer to the same goddess.
Hecate is an ancient goddess who is sometimes depicted as being a triple formed goddess. She has rulership over earth, sea and sky, and is variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, fire, light, the Moon, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, necromancy and sorcery as well as a more universal role as Saviour (Soteira), Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul.
Hecate may have originated among the Carians of Anatolia, where variants of her name is found as a name given to children. William Berg observes, "Since children are not called after spooks, it is safe to assume that Carian theophoric names involving hekat- refer to a major deity free from the dark and unsavoury ties to the underworld and to witchcraft associated with the Hecate of classical Athens."
Today she is claimed as a goddess of witches, who sometimes refer to this maiden goddess as a "crone goddess" as part of a triplicity known as the Maiden Mother and Cronethough this view of her conflicts with her characterization as a virgin, and occasion as a Mother in all classical and historical sources. It has been justified by the fact that she is a triple goddess, which some modern-day Wiccans associate with the concept of 'Maiden, Mother, Crone', a modern interpretation of triple goddesses 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. Her statuary usually shows her facing in three different directions, but always with the same maiden face and body as clearly illustrated in all historical depictions and descriptions of her, with the exception of later descriptions in the Greek Magical Papyri which sometimes refer to her as having the heads of animals. She closely parallels the Roman goddess Trivia, with whom she was identified in Rome
The traditional story is that, long ago, there was a time of famine. The chief of the Lakotas sent out two scouts to hunt for food. As the scouts travelled they saw a figure in the distance. As they approached they saw that it was a beautiful young woman in white clothing. One of the scouts was filled with desire for the woman. He approached her, telling his companion he would attempt to embrace the woman, and if he found her pleasing, he would claim her as a wife. His companion warned him that she appeared to be a sacred woman, and to do anything sacrilegious would be folly. The scout ignored his advice.
The companion watched as the scout approached and embraced the woman, during which time a white cloud enveloped the pair. After a while, the cloud disappeared and only the mysterious woman and a pile of bones remained. The remaining scout was frightened, and began to draw his bow, but the woman beckoned him forward, telling him that no harm would come to him. As the woman spoke Lakota, the young man decided she was one of his people, and came forward. When he arrived, she pointed to a spot on the ground where the other scout's bare bones lay. She explained that the Crazy Buffalo had compelled the man to desire her, and she had annihilated him.
The scout became even more frightened and again menaced her with his bow. At this time, the woman explained that she was Wakan/holy and his weapons could not harm her. She further explained that if he did as she instructed, no harm would befall him and that his tribe would become more prosperous. The scout promised to do what she instructed, and was told to return to his encampment, call the Council and prepare a feast for her arrival.
The woman's name was PtesanWi which translated White Buffalo Calf Woman. She taught the Lakotas seven sacred rituals and gave them the chanunpa or sacred pipe which is the holiest of all worship symbols. After teaching the people and giving them her gifts, PtesanWi left them promising to return. Later, the story became attributed to the goddess Wohpe, also known as Whope, or Wope.
When Roman Catholic missionaries first came among the Lakota, their stories of the Virgin Mary and Jesus became associated with the legend of White Buffalo Calf Woman. The syncretic practice of identifying Mary with PtesanWi and Jesus with the chununpa continues among Lakota Christians to this day.
The story of PtesanWi is associated with the white buffalo.
In Norse mythology, Freyja (Old Norse the "Lady") is a goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death. Freyja is the owner of the necklace Brísingamen, rides a chariot driven by two cats, owns the boar Hildisvíni, possesses a cloak of falcon feathers, and, by her husband Óðr, is the mother of two daughters, Hnoss and Gersemi. Along with her brother Freyr (Old Norse the "Lord"), her father Njörðr, and her mother (Njörðr's sister, unnamed in sources), she is a member of the Vanir. Stemming from Old Norse Freyja, modern forms of the name include Freya, Freja, Freyia, Frøya, and Freia.
Freyja rules over her heavenly afterlife field Fólkvangr and there receives half of those that die in battle, whereas the other half go to the god Odin's hall, Valhalla. Within Fólkvangr is her hall, Sessrúmnir. 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 Óðr, is frequently absent. She cries tears of red gold for him, and searches for him under assumed names. Freyja has numerous names, including Gefn, Hörn, Mardöll, Syr, Valfreyja and Vanadís.
Kālī, is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, shakti. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Kali means "the black one". Since Shiva is called Kāla—the eternal time—Kālī, his consort, also means "Time" or "Death" (as in time has come). Hence, Kāli is considered the goddess of time and change. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation still has some influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatārini (literally "redeemer of the universe"). Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess.
Kālī is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing. She is associated with many other Hindu goddesses like Durga, Bhadrakali, Sati, Rudrani, Parvati and Chamunda. She is the foremost among the Dasa Mahavidyas, ten fierce Tantric goddesses.
Guanyin is the bodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists, usually as a female. The name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin which means "Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the World". She is also sometimes referred to as Guanyin Pusa. Some Buddhists believe that when one of their adherents departs from this world, they are placed by Guanyin in the heart of a lotus then sent home to the western pure land of Sukhāvatī.
It is generally accepted among east Asian adherents that Guanyin originated as the Sanskrit Avalokiteśvara which is her male form. Commonly known in English as the Mercy Goddess or Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin is also revered by Chinese Taoists (sometimes called Daoists) as an Immortal. However, in Taoist mythology, Guanyin has other origination stories which are not directly related to Avalokiteśvara.
Amaterasu, Amaterasu-ōmikami or Ōhirume-no-muchi-no-kami is a part of the Japanese myth cycle and also a major deity of the Shinto religion. She is the goddess of the sun, but also of the universe. The name Amaterasu derived from Amateru meaning "shining in heaven." The meaning of her whole name, Amaterasu-ōmikami, is "the great august kami (god) who shines in the heaven". The Emperor of Japan is said to be a direct descendant of Amaterasu.
The Wawilak sisters were heroines of an Australian Aboriginal myth. Like most Dreamtime figures, they traveled about, creating objects and places as they went. The sisters each had an infant boy. One day one of the sisters somehow spilled some of her menstrual blood into the serpent Yurlunggur's pool, and this so enraged the serpent that he caused a flood and swallowed the sisters and the boys before himself becoming a rainbow, signaling the end of the flood. Later the serpent returned to the ground and vomited up the sisters and the boys.
Yemanja is an orisha, originally of the Yoruba religion, who has become prominent in many Afro-American religions. Africans from what is now called Yorubaland brought Yemaya/Yemoja and a host of other deities/energy forces in nature with them when they were brought to the shores of the Americas as captives. She is the ocean, the essence of motherhood, and a protector of children.
In Yorùbá mythology, Yemoja is a mother goddess; patron deity of women, especially pregnant women; and the Ogun river. Her parents are Oduduwa and Obatala. There are many stories as to how she became the mother of all saints. She was married to Aganju and had one son, Orungan, and fifteen Orishas came forth from her. They include Ogun, Olokun, Shopona and Shango. Other stories would say that Yemaya was always there in the beginning and all life came from her, including all of the orishas.
Her name is a contraction of Yoruba words: "Yeye emo eja" that mean "Mother whose children are like fish." This represents the vastness of her motherhood, her fecundity and her reign over all living things.
Yemaya is celebrated in Ifá tradition as Yemoja. As Iemanja Nana Borocum, or Nana Burku, she is pictured as a very old woman, dressed in black and mauve, connected to mud, swamps, earth.
Inanna is the goddess of love- but not marriage. She is connected with extramarital sex and sensual affairs, prowling streets and taverns for sexual adventure. In the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh points out Ishtar's (Akkadian version of Inanna) infamous ill-treatment of her lovers. Inanna also has a very complicated relationship with her lover Dumuzi in "Inanna's Descent to the Underworld" (c.f. "Inanna's Descent to the Underworld").She also is one of the Sumerian war deities: "She stirs confusion and chaos against those who are disobedient to her, speeding carnage and inciting the devastating flood, clothed in terrifying radiance. It is her game to speed conflict and battle, untiring, strapping on her sandals."Battle itself is sometimes referred to as "the dance of Inanna."
Consider her description in one hymn: "When the servants let the flocks loose, and when cattle and sheep are returned to cow-pen and sheepfold, then, my lady, like the nameless poor, you wear only a single garment. The pearls of a prostitute are placed around your neck, and you are likely to snatch a man from the tavern." Despite her association with mating and fertility of humans and animals, Inanna was not a mother goddess, though she is associated with childbirth in certain myths. Inanna was also associated with rain and storms and with the planet Venus, the morning and evening star as was the Greco-Roman goddess Aphrodite or Venus.
In the Hawaiian religion, Pele is the goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes.
She is a popular figure in many stories of ancient Hawaii known as Hawaiian mythology. Ka wahine ʻai honua ("the earth-eating woman") is an epithet for the goddess.
Gaia was the goddess or personification of Earth in ancient Greek religion, one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia was the great mother of all: the heavenly gods, the Titans and the Giants were born from her union with Uranus (the sky), while the sea-gods were born from her union with Pontus (the sea).
Oshun, or Ochun in the Yoruba religion, is an Orisha who reigns over love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy. She is worshipped also in Brazilian Candomblé Ketu, with the name spelled Oxum. She should not be confused, however, with a different Orisha of a similar name spelled "Osun," who is the protector of the Ori, or our heads and inner souls. Ochun relates mostly to woman but also man.
Ọṣhun 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.
Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty. She is the consort of the god Vishnu. Also called Mahalakshmi, she is said to bring good luck and is believed to protect her devotees from all kinds of misery and money-related sorrows. Representations of Lakshmi are also found in Jain monuments.
Lakshmi is called Shri or Thirumagal because she is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities, or Gunas, and also because she is the source of strength even to Vishnu. When Vishnu incarnated on earth as avatars Rama and Krishna, Lakshmi incarnated as his consort. Sita (Rama's wife), Radha (Krishna's lover) and Rukmini and the other wives of Krishna are considered forms of Lakshmi.
Lakshmi is worshipped daily in Hindu homes and commercial establishments as the goddess of wealth. She also enjoys worship as the consort of Vishnu in many temples. The festivals of Diwali and Kojagiri Purnima are celebrated in her honour.
Selene was the Greek moon goddess, daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia (according to Hesiod), and the sister of Helio and Eos. Later, she was identified with Artemis and called Phoebe. As Phoebe she was a huntress and archer. Selene was worshiped on the days of full and new moons.
She is described in the Homeric Hymn to Semele as mating with Zeus, through which union she produced Pandeia. She was in love with Endymion, according to Sappho and later sources. With him she had 50 daughters representing the months between the Olympic games. Every night, Selene visited and embraced Endymion, who slept as a result of the gift to him of eternal life and youth through eternal sleep.
In the Ennead of Egyptian mythology, Nut (alternatively spelled Nuit, Newet, and Neuth) was the goddess of the sky. She was seen as a star-covered nude human arching over the earth.
Her name is translated to mean 'sky'and she is considered one of the oldest deities among the Egyptian pantheon, with her origin being found on the creation story of Heliopolis. She was originally the goddess of the nighttime sky, but eventually became referred to as simply the sky goddess. Her headdress was the hieroglyphic of part of her name, a pot, which may also symbolize the uterus. Mostly depicted in nude human form, Nut was also sometimes depicted in the form of a cow whose great body formed the sky and heavens, a sycamore tree, or as a giant sow, suckling many piglets (representing the stars).
Maat or ma'at also spelled māt or mayet, was the ancient Egyptian concept 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. Her (ideological) counterpart was Isfet.
The earliest surviving records indicating Maat is the norm for nature and society, in this world and the next, was recorded during the Old Kingdom, the earliest substantial surviving examples being found in the pyramid texts of Unas (ca. 2375 BCE and 2345 BCE).
Later, as a goddess in other traditions of the Egyptian pantheon, where most goddesses were paired with a male aspect, her masculine counterpart was Thoth and their attributes are the same. After the rise of Ra they were depicted together in the Solar Barque.
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, Duat.Her feather was the measure that determined whether the souls (considered to reside in the heart) of the departed would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully.
Pharaohs are often depicted with the emblems of Maat to emphasise their role in upholding the laws of the Creator.
Isis is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. 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), and she is depicted suckling him in an attitude similar to that of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus. 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.
In the typical form of her myth, 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 Seth. Using her magical skills, she restored his body to life after having gathered the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Seth.
Myths of the Female Divine Goddess by Leeming & Page Goddess: Myths of the Feminine Divine By David Leeming
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell Women Who Run with the Wolves By Clarissa P. Estees The Double Goddess By Vicki Noble The Great Cosmic Mother By Monica Sjoo & Barbara Mor When God was a Woman By Merlin Stone The Once and Future Goddess By Elinor Gadon
The Mist of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley