Deity of the Day for November 17th is Kali, The Hindu Goddess

Deity of the Day



(Raja Ravi Varma)


Kali is the Hindu goddess (or Devi) of death, time, and doomsday and is often associated with sexuality and violence but is also considered a strong mother-figure and symbolic of motherly-love. Kali also embodies shakti – feminine energy, creativity and fertility – and is an incarnation of Parvati, wife of the great Hindu god Shiva. She is most often represented in art as a fearful fighting figure with a necklace of heads, skirt of arms, lolling tongue, and brandishing a knife dripping with blood.

Kali’s name derives from the Sanskrit meaning ‘she who is black’ or ‘she who is death’, but she is also known as Chaturbhuja Kali, Chinnamastā, or Kaushika. As an embodiment of time Kali devours all things, she is irresistibly attractive to mortals and gods, and can also represent (particularly in later traditions) the benevolence of a mother goddess.

Kali’s name derives from the Sanskrit meaning ‘she who is black’ or ‘she who is death’.

The goddess is particularly worshipped in eastern and southern India and specifically in Assam, Kerala, Kashmir, Bengal, – where she is now worshipped in the yearly festival of Kali Puja held on the night of a new moon – and in the Kalighat Temple in the city of Calcutta.

Kali’s Birth

There are several traditions of how Kali came into existence. One version relates when the warrior goddess Durga, who had ten arms each carrying a weapon and who rode a lion or tiger in battle, fought with Mahishasura (or Mahisa), the buffalo demon. Durga became so enraged that her anger burst from her forehead in the form of Kali. Once born, the black goddess went wild and ate all the demons she came across, stringing their heads on a chain which she wore around her neck. It seemed impossible to calm Kali’s bloody attacks, which now extended to any wrongdoers, and both people and gods were at a loss what to do. Fortunately, the mighty Shiva stopped Kali’s destructive rampage by lying down in her path, and when the goddess realised just who she was standing on, she finally calmed down. From this story is explained Kali’s association with battlegrounds and areas where cremation is carried out.

In another version of the goddess’ birth, Kali appeared when Parvati shed her dark skin which then became Kali, hence one of her names is Kaushika (the Sheath), whilst Parvati is left as Gauri (the Fair One). This story emphasises Kali’s blackness which is symbolic of eternal darkness and which has the potential to both destroy and create.

In a third version, men and gods were being terrorised by Daruka who could only be killed by a woman, and Parvati was asked by the gods to deal with the troublesome demon. She responded by jumping down Shiva’s throat. This was because many years previously Shiva had swallowed halahala, the poison which had risen from the churning of the ocean during the creation and which had threatened to pollute the world. By combining with the poison still held in Shiva’s throat, Parvati was transformed into Kali. Leaping from Shiva’s throat in her new guise, Kali swiftly despatched Daruka and all was well with the world once more.

Finally, in yet another version of Kali’s birth, there is the story of the terrible demon Raktabija (Blood-seed). This demon was, like most demons, causing a great deal of trouble with people and gods alike but even worse was his ability to produce more demons every time a drop of his blood spilt to the ground. Therefore, each time Raktabija was attacked, the only result was more demons to deal with. The gods decided to work together and combine all of their shakti or divine energy and produce one super being that could destroy Raktabija; the result was Kali (in another version only Durga produces Kali). Given all the divine weapons of the gods, Kali swiftly sought out Raktabija and his demons and proceeded to swallow them all whole so as not to spill anymore blood in the process. Raktabija himself was killed when Kali lopped off his head with a sword and then drank all of his blood, making sure none fell to the ground and thereby ensuring no more demons could menace the world.

Another famous story involving Kali is her escapade with a band of thieves. The thieves wanted to make a human sacrifice to Kali, and unwisely chose a Brahmin monk as a likely victim. Dragging him to the nearest temple, the thieves prepared to make the sacrifice in front of the statue of Kali when suddenly the statue came to life. Outraged at the thieves’ plan to kill a monk, the goddess took swift revenge and decapitated the whole gang, even tossing their heads about for fun, whilst naturally the Brahmin escaped to continue his life of scholarly reflection.

Kali In Hindu Art

In art Kali is most often portrayed with blue or black skin, naked, and wearing a Bengali type crown of clay which is painted or gilded. She is, like many Hindu deities, a multiple armed figure with the number of arms being four, eight, ten, twelve, or even eighteen. Each arm usually holds an object and these can include a sword, dagger, trident, cup, drum, chakra, lotus bud, whip, noose, bell, and shield. Sometimes her left hand forms the abhaya mudra, whilst the right makes the offering varada mudra. She is often represented seated with legs crossed and having eight feet.

Kali’s most common pose in paintings is in her most fearsome guise as the slayer of demons, where she stands or dances with one foot on a collapsed Shiva and holds a severed head. She wears a skirt of severed human arms, a necklace of decapitated heads, and earrings of dead children, and she often has a terrifying expression with a lolling tongue which drips blood.



About the Author

Mark Cartwright

Mark holds an M.A. in Greek philosophy and his special interests include the Minoans, the ancient Americas, and world mythology. He loves visiting and reading about historic sites and transforming that experience into free articles accessible to all.

Located on the website, Ancient History Encyclopedia










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Deity of the Day for November 10th is Balder, Old Norse Baldr

Deity of the Day


Old Norse Baldr

The god of light, joy, purity, beauty, innocence, and reconciliation. Son of Odin and Frigg, he was loved by both gods and men and was considered to be the best of the gods. He had a good character, was friendly, wise and eloquent, although he had little power. His wife was Nanna daughter of Nep, and their son was Forseti, the god of justice. Balder’s hall was Breidablik (“broad splendor”).Most of the stories about Balder concern his death. He had been dreaming about his death, so Frigg extracted an oath from every creature, object and force in nature (snakes, metals, diseases, poisons, fire, etc.) that they would never harm Balder. All agreed that none of their kind would ever hurt or assist in hurting Balder. Thinking him invincible, the gods enjoyed themselves thereafter by using Balder as a target for knife-throwing and archery.

The malicious trickster, Loki, was jealous of Balder. He changed his appearance and asked Frigg if there was absolutely nothing that could harm the god of light. Frigg, suspecting nothing, answered that there was just one thing: a small tree in the west that was called mistletoe. She had thought it was too small to ask for an oath. Loki immediately left for the west and returned with the mistletoe. He tricked Balder’s blind twin brother Hod into throwing a mistletoe fig (dart) at Balder. Not knowing what he did, Hod threw the fig, guided by Loki’s aim. Pierced through the heart, Balder fell dead.

While the gods were lamenting Balder’s death, Odin sent his other son Hermod to Hel, the goddess of death, to plead for Balder’s return. Hel agreed to send Balder back to the land of the living on one condition: everything in the world, dead or alive, must weep for him. And everything wept, except for Loki, who had disguised himself as the witch Thokk. And so Balder had to remain in the underworld.

The others took the dead god, dressed him in crimson cloth, and placed him on a funeral pyre aboard his ship Ringhorn, which passed for the largest in the world. Beside him they lay the body of his wife Nanna, who had died of a broken heart. Balder’s horse and his treasures were also placed on the ship. The pyre was set on fire and the ship was sent to sea by the giantess Hyrrokin.

Loki did not escape punishment for his crime and Hod was put to death by Vali, son of Odin and Rind. Vali had been born for just that purpose. After the final conflict (Ragnarok), when a new world arises from its ashes, both Balder and Hod will be reborn.

In some versions it was his mother who had these disturbing dreams about his death.




by Micha F. Lindemans

Encyclopedia Mythica™

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Deities, The Gods | 1 Comment

Let’s Talk Witch – Pantheon Pathways


Pantheon Pathways


As Witches, we often draw upon the mythology of many different lands to find the god and goddess figures that we identify with most strongly. And while this can vary greatly from Witch to Witch (like everything else we do-hey, at least we are not a bunch of boring conformists), many of us are drawn to the pantheons (from the Greek “temple of the gods,” meaning the officially recognized gods of a particular people) of the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Celtic cultures, with a few Norse and Hindu gods thrown in for good measure.

It is interesting to see how much the gods from one culture resemble the gods in another. It makes sense, I suppose, when you consider that most Pagan peoples had the same interests as we do today: love, protection, prosperity, the moon, growing things, etc.

In addition, it is historically possible in many cases to follow the path that a god took from one culture to another. For instance, many of the Roman gods and goddesses were taken more or less directly from the Greeks who preceded them.

It is fine to focus on one pantheon or culture, but it is also okay to mix and match. The gods that want you will find you, that much is for sure.



Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft

Deborah Blake


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Deity of the Day for November 3rd is Hades

Deity of the Day



In Greek mythology and legend, Hades is known as the god of the underworld. A brother of Zeus, when the world got split up into portions after the overthrow of their father, the Titan Cronos, Hades didn’t exactly get the best deal. While Zeus became king of Olympus, and their brother Poseidon won domain over the sea, Hades got stuck with the land of the underworld. Because he’s unable to get out much, and doesn’t get to spend a lot of time with those who are still living, Hades focuses on increasing the underworld’s population levels whenever he can.

Although he is the ruler of the dead, it’s important to distinguish that Hades is not the god of death  – that title actually belongs to the god Thanatos.

Hades’ best-known legend may well be his role in the tale of Persephone and her mother, the grain goddess Demeter. Persephone caught the eye of Hades, who took her back to the underworld, and Demeter’s grief caused the crops on earth to die. By the time Persephone got back to her mother, she had eaten six pomegranate seeds, and so was doomed to spend six months of the year in the underworld. In a few modern, more sanitized versions of the story, Persephone is not held against her will but chooses to stay there for six months each year so that she can bring light to the souls doomed to spend eternity with Hades.

This rendering of the tale, however, does not seem to have much scholarly or academic evidence supporting it.

Hades also features prominently in the adventures of Hercules, or Herakles, and they battled each other several times. Hades presides over funeral rites, and those who are laid to rest with the proper rituals and ceremonies are welcome in the underworld. After death, the souls of those who have died must meet the ferryman, Charon, at the River Styx.

Once they have paid Charon for passage, they cross the Styx, and the Acheron, known as the river of woe, on their way to the underworld. Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t pay Charon – or whose bodies were not properly prepared and buried – were doomed to wander the land of the living, haunting the shores of the river for a hundred years.

Of note, Hades’ name has become a synonym for the realm of the underworld. So we have Hades the god, who rules Hades the place. The name, Hades, actually means invisible – in one legend, Hades was given a helmet of invisibility by the Cyclops, to use in the battle against the Titans.

He is typically portrayed as a dark, bearded man holding a pickaxe or staff that he uses to drive shadows ahead of him, as well as the key to the underworld. Hades is often accompanied by the black horses who pull his chariot, and his loyal watchdog, the three-headed Cerberus.

Interestingly, in addition to being a god of the underworld, Hades is also associated with the treasures held within the earth itself – gold, silver, and other mined bounty, as well as the seed-crops that flourish in the soil. Because of this, he is sometimes seen as a god of wealth and riches. Plato refers to Hades as Pluton, the giver of wealth. In Roman mythology and legend, Pluto has similar aspects to Hades.

References in pop culture include the role of Hades, as hilariously voiced by James Woods, in the Disney animated film Hercules, and the portrayal of Cerberus as a very large dog named Fluffy in the Harry Potter films. In the Percy Jackson movies, Hades is played by British comedian Steve Coogan, and he also makes a brief appearance in Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series, in the book Skin Game. Hades appears in countless video games, including the God of War franchise, the Final Fantasy series, and Age of Empires.




Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Deities, The Gods | 5 Comments

Gods and Goddesses of Death and the Underworld

Gods and Goddesses of Death and the Underworld

Death is rarely so apparent than it as at Samhain. The skies have gone gray, the earth is brittle and cold, and the fields have been picked of the last crops. Winter looms on the horizon, and as the Wheel of the Year turns once more, the boundary between our world and the spirit world becomes fragile and thin. In cultures all over the world, the spirit of Death has been honored at this time of the year.

Here are just a few of the deities who represent death and the dying of the earth.

  1. Anubis (Egyptian): This god with the head of a jackal is associated with mummification and death in ancient Egypt. Anubis is the one who decides whether or not one the deceased is worthy of entering the realm of the dead.
  2. Demeter (Greek): Through her daughter, Persephone, Demeter is linked strongly to the changing of the seasons and is often connected to the image of the Dark Mother and the dying of the fields. When Persephone was abducted by Hades, Demeter’s grief caused the earth to die for six months, until her daughter’s return.
  3. Freya (Norse): Although Freya is typically associated with fertility and abundance, she is also known as a goddess of war and battle. Half of the men who died in battle joined Freya in her hall, Folkvangr, and the other half joined Odin in Valhalla.
  4. Hades (Greek): Hades was the Greek god of the underworld – let’s look at some of his legends and mythology, and see why this ancient god is still important today.
  5. Hecate (Greek): Although Hecate was originally considered a goddess of fertility and childbirth, over time she has come to be associated with the moon, cronehood, and the underworld. Sometimes referred to as the Goddess of the Witches, Hecate is also connected to ghosts and the spirit world. In some traditions of modern Paganism, she is believed to be the gatekeeper between graveyards and the mortal world.
  6. Hel (Norse): This goddess is the ruler of the underworld in Norse mythology. Her hall is called Éljúðnir, and is where mortals go who do not die in battle, but of natural causes or sickness.
  7. Meng Po (Chinese): This goddess appears as an old woman, and it is her job to make sure that souls about to be reincarnated do not recall their previous time on earth. She brews a special herbal tea of forgetfulness, which is given to each soul before they return to the mortal realm.
  8. Morrighan (Celtic): This warrior goddess is associated with death in a way much like the Norse goddess Freya. The Morrighan is known as the washer at the ford, and it is she who determines which warriors walk off the battlefield, and which ones are carried away on their shields. She is represented in many legends by a trio of ravens, often seen as a symbol of death.
  9. Osiris (Egyptian): In Egyptian mythology, Osiris is murdered by his brother Set before being resurrected by the magic of his lover, Isis. The death and dismemberment of Osiris is often associated with the threshing of the grain during the harvest season.
  10. Whiro (Maori): This underworld god inspires people to do evil things. He typically appears as a lizard, and is the god of the dead.
  11. Yama (Hindu): In the Hindu Vedic tradition, Yama was the first mortal to die and make his way to the next world, and so he was appointed king of the dead. He is also a lord of justice, and sometimes appears in an incarnation as Dharma.

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, The Goddesses, The Gods, The Sabbats | Leave a comment

Deity of the Day for October 19th is The Norns

Deity of the Day

The Norns

The Norns, or Nornir, were the Norse and Germanic fates, the demi-goddesses of destiny. The Æsir often sought their council. They are similar to the Moirae  and Fates of Greco-Roman myth. As in the Germanic mythological tradition, they were known to be three sister goddesses: Clotho (“The Spinner”), Lachesis (“The Decider”), and Atropos (“The Inevitable”).

The original Norn was undoubtedly Urd, a word which can be translated to mean “Fate”. The Well of Urd, which was situated at the base of the great cosmic tree Yggdrasil, is named after this Norn. The two additional Norns that are known by name are Verdandi (“Present” [or “Necessity” in some versions]) and Skuld (“Future” [or “Being” in some versions]). All three Norns live at the Well of Urd in Asgard.


It was believed that the Norns decided the destinies of gods, giants, and dwarfs, and were responsible for the fates of every individual human being. The Anglo-Saxons referred to Urd by the name of Wyrd, and in England there was maintained a belief in the tremendous powers of the three sisters long after the arrival of Christianity. For instance, in Shakespeare’s tragic play Macbeth, the Three Sisters on “the blasted heath” were obviously inspired by the Norns and other mythological fate goddesses.

It would seem more than possible that the Norns were also originally conceived as spinners. However, in Germanic mythology, the Greek and Roman concept of the Fates spinning an individual length of yarn for each mortal life does not appear.

In Mythology

According to Norse mythology, nothing lasts forever, and even the great Yggdrasil has been said to decay one day. The Norns try to stop or slow this process by pouring mud and water from the Well of Urd over its branches. The magical liquid stops the decaying process for a short time.

In other versions pertaining the Norns, they were thought to give assistance to birth, and that each person has their own personal Norn.



Mythology Wikia


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Goddesses Who Can Assist You In Your Spellcrafting

Goddesses Who Can Assist You In Your Spellcrafting

Aphrodite: Greek; Goddess of passionate, sexual love. Aphrodite will assist you in pulling loving energy toward yourself.

Aradia: Italian; Queen of the Witches, daughter of Diana. Aradia is an extremely powerful entity and a protectress of Witches in general.

Artemis: Greek; Goddess of the Moon.

Astarte: Greek; Fertility Goddess. Whether you wish to bear children or have a magnificent garden, Astarte will assist in your desire.

Demeter: Greek; Earth Mother archetype. Excellent Goddess where birthing or small children are involved.

Diana: Roman; Moon Goddess and Goddess of the Hunt. Diana is many faceted. She is seductress (as she enchanted her brother Lucifer to beget Aradia in the form of a cat) as well as a mother figure for Witches.

Isis: Egyptia; represents the complete Goddess or the Triple Goddess connotation in one being.

Persephone: Greek; Goddess of the Underworld as well as Harvest. Daughter of Demeter.

Selene: Greek; Goddess of the Moon and Solutions. Appeal to Selene to bring a logical answer to any problem.

Venus: Roman; Goddess of Love and Romance

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Spellcrafting, The Goddesses | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Gods You Can Use In Your Spellcrafting

Gods You Can Use In Your Spellcrafting


Adonis: Greek; consort of Aphrodite. Also another name for “lord”. In Phoenician his counterpart is Astarte. A vegetarian God. Roman counterpart is Venus.

Apollo: Greek and Roman; twin brother of Artemis. God of the Sun, Light and the Arts.

Cernunnos: Celtic; Horned God and consort of the Lady. Also Kernunnos.

Eros: Greek; God of Romance and Passionate Love.

Hymen: Greek; God of Marriage and commitment. His counterpart is Dionysus.

Luce: Italian; Soulmate and Brother of Diana. Father of Aradia. God of the Sun and Light.

Osiris: Egyptian; counterpart of Isis. Over-all God form including vegetation and after-life.

Pan: Greek; God of Nature and the Woods, Laughter and Passion. Also music and personal abandon. Of course, you can refer to either the God and/or Goddess as merely Lord and Lady if it makes you feel more comfortable.

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