Deities

WOTC Extra – The God


Egyptian Comments & Graphics

WOTC Extra – The God

 

The God has been revered for eons. He is neither the stern, all-powerful deity of Christianity and Judaism, nor is He simply the consort of the Goddess. God or Goddess, they are equal, one.

We see the God in the Sun, brilliantly shining overhead during the day, rising and setting in the endless cycle which governs our lives. Without the Sun we could not exist; therefore it has been revered as the source of all life, the warmth that bursts the dormant seeds into life and hastens the greening of the Earth after the cold snows of winter.

The God is also tender of the wild animals. As the Horned God He is sometimes seen wearing horns on His head, symbolizing His connection with these beasts. In earlier times, hunting was one of the activities thought to be ruled by the God, while the domestication of animals was seen to be Goddess-oriented.

The God’s domains include forests untouched by human hands, burning deserts and towering mountains. The stars, since they are but distant suns, are sometimes thought to be under His domain.

The yearly cycle of greening, maturation and harvest has long been associated with the Sun, hence the solar festivals of Europe which are still observed in Wicca.

The God is the fully ripened harvest, intoxicating wine pressed from grapes, golden grain waving in a lone field, shimmering apples hanging from verdant boughs on October afternoons.

With the Goddess He also celebrates and rules sex. The Wicca don’t avoid sex or speak of it in hushed words. It’s a part of nature and is accepted as such. Since it brings pleasure, shifts our awareness away from the everyday world and perpetuates our species, it is thought to be sacred. The God lustily imbues us with the urge that ensures our species’ biological future.

Symbols often used to depict or to worship the God include the sword, horns, spear, candle, gold, brass, diamond, the sickle, arrow, magical wand, trident, knife and others. Creatures sacred to Him include the bull, dog, snake, fish, stag, dragon, wolf, boar, eagle, falcon, shark, lizard and many others.

Of old, the God was the Sky Father, and the Goddess, the Earth Mother. The God of the sky, of rain and lightning, descended upon and united with the Goddess, spreading seed upon the land, celebrating Her fertility.

Today the deities of Wicca are still firmly associated with fertility, but every aspect of human existence can be linked with the Goddess and God. They can be called upon to help us sort through the vicissitudes of our existences and bring joy into our often spiritually-bereft lives.

This doesn’t mean that when problems occur we should leave them in the hands of the Goddess. This is a stalling maneuver, an avoidance of dealing with the bumps on the road of life. However, as Wiccans we can call on the Goddess and God to clear our minds and to help us help ourselves. Magic is an excellent means of accomplishing this. After attuning with the Goddess and God, Wiccans ask Their assistance during the magical rite that usually follows.

Beyond this, the Goddess and God can help us change our lives. Because the Deities are the creative forces of the universe (not just symbols), we can call upon Them to empower our rites and to bless our magic. Again, this is in direct opposition to most religions. The power is in the hands of every practitioner, not specialized priests or priestesses who perform these feats for the masses. This is what makes Wicca a truly satisfying way of life. We have direct links with the Deities. No intermediaries are needed; no priests or confessors or shamans. We are the shamans.

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

Scott Cunningham

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Let’s Talk Witch – The Goddess


Egyptian Comments & Graphics

Let’s Talk Witch – The Goddess

 

The Goddess is the universal mother. She is the source of fertility, endless wisdom and loving caresses. As the Wicca know Her, She is often of three aspects: the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone, symbolized in the waxing, full and waning of the Moon. She is at once the unploughed field, the full harvest and the dormant, frost-covered Earth. She gives birth to abundance. But as life is Her gift, She lends it with the promise of death. This is not darkness and oblivion, but rest from the toils of physical existence. It is human existence between incarnations.

Since the Goddess is nature, all nature, She is both the Temptress and the Crone; the tornado and the fresh spring rain; the cradle and the grave.

But though She is possessed of both natures, the Wicca revere Her as the giver of fertility, love and abundance, though they acknowledge Her darker side as well. We see Her in the Moon, the soundless, ever-moving sea, and in the green growth of the first spring. She is the embodiment of fertility and love.

The Goddess has been known as the Queen of Heaven, Mother of the Gods that Made the Gods, the Divine Source, the Universal Matrix, the Great Mother, and by countless other titles.

Many symbols are used in Wicca to honor Her, such as the cauldron, cup, labrys, five-petalled flowers, the mirror, necklace, seashell, pearl, silver, emerald.-.. to name a few.

As She has dominion over the Earth, sea and Moon, Her creatures are varied and numerous. A few include the rabbit, the bear, the owl, the cat, dog, bat, goose, cow, dolphin, lion, horse, wren, scorpion, spider and bee. All are sacred to the Goddess.

The Goddess has been depicted as a huntress running with Her hounds; a celestial deity striding across the sky with stardust falling from Her heels; the eternal Mother heavy with child; the weaver of our lives and deaths; a Crone walking by waning moonlight seeking out the weak and forlorn, and as many other beings. But no matter how we envision Her, She is omnipresent, changeless, eternal.

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

Scott Cunningham

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Deity of the Day for March 2 is Bastet

Deity of the Day

Bastet

 

Bastet was a goddess in ancient Egyptian religion, worshiped as early as the Second Dynasty (2890 BC). As Bast, she was the goddess of warfare in Lower Egypt, the Nile River delta region, before the unification of the cultures of ancient Egypt. Her name is also spelled Baast, Ubaste, and Baset.

The two uniting cultures had deities that shared similar roles and usually the same imagery. In Upper Egypt, Sekhmet was the parallel warrior lioness deity to Bast. Often similar deities merged into one with the unification, but that did not occur with these deities with such strong roots in their cultures. Instead, these goddesses began to diverge. During the Twenty-Second Dynasty (c. 945–715 BC), Bast had changed from a lioness warrior deity into a major protector deity represented as a cat. Bastet, the name associated with this later identity, is the name commonly used by scholars today to refer to this deity.

 

Name

Bastet, the form of the name which is most commonly adopted by Egyptologists today because of its use in later dynasties, is a modern convention offering one possible reconstruction. In early Egyptian, her name appears to have been 𓃀ꜣ𓊃𓏏𓏏. In Egyptian writing, the second 𓏏 marks a feminine ending, but was not usually pronounced, and the aleph may have moved to a position before the accented syllable, ꜣ𓃀𓊃𓏏. By the first millennium, then, 𓃀ꜣ𓊃𓏏𓏏 would have been something like *Ubaste (< *Ubastat) in Egyptian speech, later becoming Coptic Oubaste.

During later dynasties, Bast was assigned a lesser role in the pantheon bearing the name Bastet, but retained. Thebes became the capital of Ancient Egypt during the 18th Dynasty. As they rose to great power the priests of the temple of Amun, dedicated to the primary local deity, advanced the stature of their titular deity to national prominence and shifted the relative stature of others in the Egyptian pantheon. Diminishing her status, they began referring to Bast with the added suffix, as “Bastet” and their use of the new name was well-documented, becoming very familiar to researchers. by the 22nd dynasty the transition had occurred in all regions.

The town of Bast’s cult (see below) was known in Greek as Boubastis (Βούβαστις). The Hebrew rendering of the name for this town is Pî-beset (“House of Bastet”), spelled without Vortonsilbe.

What the name of the goddess means remains uncertain. One recent suggestion by Stephen Quirke (Ancient Egyptian Religion) explains it as meaning “She of the ointment jar”. This ties in with the observation that her name was written with the hieroglyph “ointment jar” (𓃀ꜣ𓊃) and that she was associated with protective ointments, among other things.[3] Also compare the name alabaster which might, through Greek, come from the name of the goddess.

She was the goddess of protection against contagious diseases and evil spirits.

She is also known as The Eye of Ra.

From lioness-goddess to cat-goddess

Bastet first appears in the 3rd millennium BC, where she is depicted as either a fierce lioness or a woman with the head of a lioness. Images of Bast were often created from a local stone, named alabaster today. The lioness was the fiercest hunter among the animals in Africa, hunting in co-operative groups of related females.

Originally she was viewed as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt. As protector, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh, and consequently of the later chief male deity, Ra, who was also a solar deity, gaining her the titles Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra.

Her role in the Egyptian pantheon became diminished as Sekhmet, a similar lioness war deity, became more dominant in the unified culture of Lower and Upper Egypt known as the Two Lands.

In the first millennium BC, when domesticated cats were popularly kept as pets, Bastet began to be represented as a woman with the head of a cat and ultimately, by the 22nd dynasty emerged as the quintessential Egyptian cat-goddess. In the Middle Kingdom, the domestic cat appeared as Bast’s sacred animal and after the New Kingdom she was depicted as a woman with the head of a cat or a lioness, carrying a sacred rattle and a box or basket.

 

Source:
Wikipedia

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Deity of the Day for February 25 is Hermes

Deity of the Day

Hermes

The Messenger of Gods in Greek Mythology

Hermes is the god of merchants, shepherds, athletics, literature and thieves in Greek mythology. He is Zeus’ son from the mountain nymph named Maia. His counterpart in Roman mythology is Mercury or Mercurius.

Hermes was able to move very swiftly between the divine world of god and the world of immortals and he acted as the messenger of the gods. He was also the protector of travelers and it was his duty to guide the souls of dead to the realm of Hades, the underworld.

Hermes was also a great inventor; he invented the lyre (Apollo’s favorite instrument) from a tortoise the first day he was born. According to myths he also invented the syrinx (a kind of pan pipe), measures, weights, musical scales and the science of astronomy. He is also considered as “the patron of athletes” since he is the inventor of many kinds of sports and races.

 

Hermes Helping Odysseus and Perseus

Hermes is known to be a helpful god and he helped heroes like Odysseus and Perseus during their adventures according to some myths. During his journey, Odysseus was captured by a nymph named Calypso, daughter of the Titan Atlas. She was trying to convince Odysseus to marry her by saying she would make him immortal if he did so. However, Zeus wanted Odysseus to be free. Hermes delivered Zeus’ message to Calypso and Calypso released Odysseus. Another instance that Hermes helped Odysseus was about Odysseus’ meeting with Circe, a minor goddess (or a nymph) that had the ability to turn her enemies into enemies. Circe organized a feast for Odysseus and his men and tricked them into eating the food on which she put one of her magical potions. Being suspicious about Circe’s hospitality, one of Odysseus’ men, Eurylochus, has not eaten the food and was able to warn Odysseus about this. When Odysseus was on his way to rescue his men, who were transformed into pigs by Circe’s magic, he encountered Hermes who was sent by Athena to help Odysseus. To prevent him from being affected by Circe’s magic, Hermes gave Odysseus a holy herb named “moly” , a rare plant which Hermes told only he could dig deep to find thanks to his godly abilities. When the moment came Circe thought that Odysseus was under the effect of her magic and tried to hit him her wand, an act that would complete Odysseus’ transformation into an animal. Odysseus took out his sword and threatened Circe. Circe released Odysseus’ men and transformed them back into men. As a reward Circe made them taller and more handsome than how they were before.

Hermes also gave Perseus his winged sandals, which allowed him to fly, when Perseus was on his way to slay the Gorgon Medusa. In some accounts it is also told that the weapon used by Perseus to kill Medusa was Hermes’ golden sword.

Hermes, The Trickster God

Hermes was also a devious god who used his wit many times to reach his aim. For example, when accused by Apollo about stealing his cattle, Hermes answered Apollo with wise sentences and made him believe that he did not have anything to do with Apollo’s cattle.

Hermes is usually depicted with “the kerykeion”, the messenger’s staff, in his hand while wearing a winged cap or his broad-brimmed hat and winged sandals.

 

Source:

Mythologian.net

 

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Deity of the Day for Feb. 23rd – Ganesha, Hindu Elephant-Deity

Deity of the Day

Ganesha

Lord of Success

All About the Hindu Elephant-Deity

 

Ganesha — the elephant-deity riding a mouse — has become one of the commonest mnemonics for anything associated with Hinduism. This not only suggests the importance of Ganesha, but also shows how popular and pervasive this deity is in the minds of the masses.

The Lord of Success
The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. In fact, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja.

Significance of the Ganesha Form
Ganesha’s head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha’s left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.

The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. And he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.

How Ganesha Got His Head
The story of the birth of this zoomorphic deity, as depicted in the Shiva Purana, goes like this: Once goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy’s head in rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad (gana) to fetch the head of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops. Hence his name ‘Ganapati’. Shiva also bestowed a boon that people would worship him and invoke his name before undertaking any venture.

However, there’s another less popular story of his origin, found in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana: Shiva asked Parvati to observe the punyaka vrata for a year to appease Vishnu in order to have a son. When a son was born to her, all the gods and goddesses assembled to rejoice on its birth. Lord Shani, the son of Surya (Sun-God), was also present but he refused to look at the infant. Perturbed at this behaviour, Parvati asked him the reason, and Shani replied that his looking at baby would harm the newborn. However, on Parvati’s insistence when Shani eyed the baby, the child’s head was severed instantly. All the gods started to bemoan, whereupon Vishnu hurried to the bank of river Pushpabhadra and brought back the head of a young elephant, and joined it to the baby’s body, thus reviving it.

Ganesha, the Destroyer of Pride
Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent manifestations. “All Hindus worship Ganesha regardless of their sectarian belief,” says D N Singh in A Study of Hinduism. “He is both the beginning of the religion and the meeting ground for all Hindus.”

Ganesh Chaturthi
The devotees of Ganesha are known as ‘Ganapatyas’, and the festival to celebrate and glorify him is called Ganesh Chaturthi.

 

Source:

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Deity of the Day for February 19th is Juno, The Roman Goddess

Deity of the Day

 Juno

The Roman Goddess

 

Areas of Influence: Juno was the Goddess of marriage, pregnancy and childbirth.

She was the Queen of the Gods and part of the Capitoline triad that also included Minerva and Jupiter.

This Deity was an embodiment of the traditional female roles of wife and mother.

One of her titles was Lucino (meaning light) as she helped to bring children into the light of this world at birth. She was also said to set and strengthen a child’s bones.

She was also Goddess of conception, a Goddess to be called upon in labour and one who helped settle disagreements between spouses.

Juno protected the finances of the Roman people. In this role she was the patron Goddess of the royal mint.

Before she absorbed many of Hera’s characteristics several scholars suggest that she was a Maiden Goddess.

The Month of June was named after her and it was considered the most favourable month to get married in.

Her other claim to fame is that as an archetypal figure she appears in Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.

Each Roman woman was said to have her own Juno which represented her female spirit.

Origins and Genealogy: According to later Roman myths she was the sister and consort of Jupiter and the mother of Mars, Hebe and Vulcan.

Mars was conceived when the Goddess was imoregnated by a flower.

Strengths: Leadership and a loyal wife.

Weaknesses: Jealousy and vindictiveness.

 Symbolism

This Roman Goddess had a more warlike nature than Hera and was often depicted in a goat skin coat that was favoured among Roman soldiers.

She was also able to throw lightning bolts like her husband Jupiter.

Sacred Birds: Geese and peacocks.

Sacred Plants: The wild fig tree.

Festivals: A special ceremony was dedicated to her in the home to celebrate the begining of each lunar month.

Her main festival, the Matronalia was held on 1st March. On this day married woman asked their husbands to give them money to make offerings to the Goddess.

A smaller celebration known as the Nonae Caprotinae took place on 7th July.

Greek and Etruscan Equivalents: The Goddess Hera was the Greek equivalent to Juno.

Uni was the Etruscan Goddess who shared many similarities with this De

Juno’s Archetypes

The Queen :

In the positive aspect the Queen represents the regal feminine. Using her benevolent authority to protect others. This Archetype can signify the power of women who rule over anything from the office to the home environment.

The shadow aspect reflects the tendency to become arrogant, controlling and aggressive when challenged.

As Queen of the Roman pantheon Hera has power and authority. Like her Greek counterpart, Hera, she misuses her position when she feels threatened.

The Companion:

This stereotype is loyal, tenacious and unselfish in their service to a more authoritive figure. In this relationship she provides the with emotional and practical support to enable her partner to concentrate on his mission. This was long considered the traditional role of the wife.

The shadow Companion manifests as betrayal, breaking confidences and identity loss through constantly suppressing your own needs.

Despite her husbands numerous affairs Juno remained loyal to her husband.

How To Work With These Archetypes

The Queen:

The Queen asks whether you rule over your domain fairly, protecting every body’s rights and feelings.

Or do you need to look at patterns of trying to control others to protect your own emotional and personal position? If this is one of your patterns, you need to ask yourself what are you afraid of losing and where does that fear stem from ?

The Companion:

Do you have a long history of playing the loyal Companion to other people? Are you happy with this role or do you feel that the partnership is unequal and resent the fact that your needs are not being met? How do you express this resentment?

The shadow aspect of the Companion suggests you look at ways at achieving a better balance. Begin to rediscover who you are and what you want in life and allow time to follow your own interests.

 

Source:
Goddess-guide.com

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Deity of the Day for Feb. 16th is Eirene, Greek Goddess of Peace

Deity of the Day

Eirene

The Greek Goddess of Peace

Eirene Greek goddess of peace was said to be the daughter of Zeus and Themis. She was one of the Horae, and her sisters were Eunomia (goddess of order, law and legislation) and Dike (goddess of moral justice). The Horae were also goddesses of the seasons (spring, summer and autumn in Greece) and Irene was the goddess associated with spring and all things blooming.

She was represented with a cornucopia, a sceptre and a torch. In art, she was depicted as a beautiful young woman. In one of the most famous statues from the Greek antiquity, Eirene Greek goddess of peace holds in her left arm baby Ploutos, the god of wealth and plenty. This statue was sculpted by Cephisodotus the Elder (father of Praxiteles) and was located in the agora of Athens, to celebrate the Common Peace of 371 BC (i.e. peace between all parts involved in a war, not just bilateral peace established between two cities). This statue was a reminder for everyone that properity flourishes when there is peace.

In Aristophanes’ comedy called Peace, Trygaeus, a citizen of Athens, flies on a giant dung beetle to the house of the gods in heavens, because he wants to plead with them to restore peace on earth. There, he only finds Hermes, who tells him that the other gods are sick of war and of the prayers of the mortals and just went away. Only Polemos (War) lives there now. He imprisoned Peace in a cavern and we wants to grind all Greeks to paste, in a giant mortar.

When War goes looking for an adequate pestle, Trygaeus calls all Greeks to come and free Peace. All kind of Greeks, from many city-states, come to the rescue. Those who work most are the farmers, because they are those who appreciate Peace more.

In the end, Eirene/Peace is freed, but she does not want to speak to the Greeks: she is angry with them because they made her suffer. She whispers in Hermes’ ear that she offered Greeks truces, many times, but they all spoke in the assembly against her and in favour of War. Trygaeus apologizes for all his countrymen.

When he returns on earth, Trygaeus prepares a sacrifice for Eirene Greek goddess of peace, but a slave tells him not to kill the lamb on the goddess’ altar, because she hates to see blood.

The Chorus sings about how nice it is to spend winter afternoons with friends, in front of the fire and enjoying the good life in times of peace, as opposed to having to do the regimental drill in times of war.

Now, that Eirene came back to Greece, the businesses of the sickle maker and of the jar makers flourish again, while those who make weapons and war equipment should reconvert their object: Trygaeus suggests that spears should be turned into vine poles, helmet crests should be used as dusters and breastplates as chamber pots!

Source:

greek gods and goddess

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Deities of Love and Marriage


Miscellaneous & Cute Valentines Day Comments
Deities of Love and Marriage

By Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article Is Found On & Owned by About.com

 

Throughout history, nearly all cultures have had gods and goddesses associated with love and marriage. Although a few are male — Eros and Cupid come to mind — most are female, because the institution of marriage has long been viewed as the domain of women. If you’re doing a working relating to love, or if you wish to honor a particular deity as part of a marriage ceremony, these are some of the gods and goddesses associated with the very human emotion of love.

 

• Aphrodite (Greek)
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and sexuality, a job she took very seriously. She was married to Hephaistos, but also had a multitude of lovers — one of her favorites was the warrior god Ares. A festival was held regularly to honor Aphrodite, appropriately called the Aphrodisiac. At her temple in Corinth, revelers often paid tribute to Aphrodite by having rambunctious sex with her priestesses. The temple was later destroyed by the Romans, and not rebuilt, but fertility rites appear to have continued in the area. Like many Greek gods, Aphrodite spent a lot of time meddling in the lives of humans — particularly their love lives — and was instrumental in the cause of the Trojan War.

 

• Cupid (Roman)
In ancient Rome, Cupid was the incarnation of Eros, the god of lust and desire. Eventually, though, he evolved into the image we have today of a chubby cherub, flitting about zapping people with his arrows. In particular, he enjoyed matching people up with odd partners, and this eventually ended up being his own undoing, when he fell in love with Psyche. Cupid was the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. He typically is seen on Valentine’s Day cards and decorations, and is invoked as a god of pure love and innocence — a far cry from his original form.
• Eros (Greek)
Although not specifically a god of love, Eros is often invoked as a god of lust and passion. This son of Aphrodite was a Greek god of lust and primal sexual desire. In fact, the word erotic comes from his name. He is personified in all kinds of love and lust — heterosexual and homosexual — and was worshipped at the center of a fertility cult that honored both Eros and Aphrodite together. During the classical Roman period, Eros evolved into Cupid, and became portrayed as the chubby cherub that still remains as a popular image today. He is typically shown blindfolded — because, after all, love is blind — and carrying a bow, with which he shot arrows at his intended targets.

 

• Frigga (Norse)
Frigga was the wife of the all-powerful Odin, and was considered a goddess of fertility and marriage within the Norse pantheon. Frigga is the only one besides Odin who is allowed to sit on his throne, Hlidskjalf, and she is known in some Norse tales as the Queen of Heaven. Today, many modern Norse Pagans honor Frigga as a goddess of both marriage and prophecy.

 

• Hathor (Egyptian)
As the wife of the Sun God, Ra, Hathor is known in Egyptian legend as the patroness of wives. In most classical depictions, she is portrayed either as a cow goddess, or with a cow nearby — it is her role as mother that is most often seen. However, in later periods, she was associated with fertility, love and passion.

 

• Hera (Greek)
Hera was the Greek goddess of marriage, and as the wife of Zeus, Hera was the queen of all wives! Although Hera fell in love with Zeus (her brother) immediately, he isn’t often faithful to her, so Hera spends a lot of time fighting off her husband’s numerous lovers. Hera is centered around the hearth and home, and focuses on family relationships.

 

• Juno (Roman)
In ancient Rome, Juno was the goddess who watched over women and marriage. Although Juno’s festival, the Matronalia, was actually celebrated in March, the month of June was named for her. It’s a month for weddings and handfastings, so she is often honored at Litha, the time of the summer solstice. During the Matronalia, women received gifts from their husbands and daughters, and gave their female slaves the day off work.

 

• Parvati (Hindu)
Parvati was the consort of the Hindu god Shiva, and is known as a goddess of love and devotion. She is one of many forms of Shakti, the all-powerful female force in the universe. Her union with Shiva taught him to embrace pleasure, and so in addition to being a destroyer god, Shiva is also a patron of the arts and dance. Parvati is an example of a female entity who has a profound effect on the male in her life, for without her, Shiva would not have been complete.

 

• Venus (Roman)
The Roman equivalent of Aphrodite, Venus was a goddess of love and beauty. Originally, she was associated with gardens and fruitfulness, but later took on all the aspects of Aphrodite from the Greek traditions. Similar to Aphrodite, Venus took a number of lovers, both mortal and divine. Venus is nearly always portrayed as young and lovely. The statue Aphrodite of Milos, better known as the Venus de Milo, depicts the goddess as classically beautiful, with womanly curves and a knowing smile.

 

• Vesta (Roman)
Although Vesta was actually a goddess of virginity, she was honored by Roman women along with Juno. Vesta’s status as a virgin represented the purity and honor of Roman women at the time of their marriage, and so it was important to keep her in high regard. In addition to her role as virgin-in-chief, however, Vesta is also a guardian of the hearth and domesticity. Her eternal flame burned in many Roman villages. Her festival, the Vestalia, was celebrated each year in June.

 

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