The Goddesses

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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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.

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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

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Deity of the Day for September 25th is Hera, Queen of the Gods in Greek Mythology

Deity of the Day


Queen of the Gods in Greek Mythology


In Greek mythology, the beautiful goddess Hera was queen of the Greek gods and the wife of Zeus, the king. Hera was goddess of marriage and childbirth. Since Hera’s husband was Zeus, king not only of gods, but of philanderers, Hera spent a lot of time in Greek mythology angry with Zeus. So Hera is described as jealous and quarrelsome.

Hera’s Jealousy

Among the more famous victims of Hera’s jealousy is Hercules (aka “Heracles,” whose name means the glory of Hera).

Hera persecuted the famous hero from before the time he could walk for the simple reason that Zeus was his father, but another woman — Alcmene — was his mother. Despite the fact that Hera was not Hercules’ mother, and despite her hostile actions — such as sending snakes to kill him when he was a newborn baby, she served as his nurse when he was an infant.

Hera persecuted many of the other women Zeus seduced, in one way or another.

“The anger of Hera, who murmured terrible against all child-bearing women that bare children to Zeus….”

Theoi Hera: Callimachus, Hymn 4 to Delos 51 ff (trans. Mair)

“Leto had relations with Zeus, for which she was hounded by Hera all over the earth.”
Theoi Hera: Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 21 (trans. Aldrich)


Hera’s Children

Hera is usually counted single parent mother of Hephaestus and the normal biological mother of Hebe and Ares. Their father is usually said to be her husband, Zeus, although Clark [“Who Was the Wife of Zeus?” by Arthur Bernard Clark; The Classical Review, (1906), pp.

365-378] explains the identities and births of Hebe, Ares, and Eiletheiya, goddess of childbirth, and sometimes named child of the divine couple, otherwise.

Clark argues that the king and queen of the gods had no children together.

Hebe may have been fathered by a lettuce. The association between Hebe and Zeus may have been sexual rather than familial.

Ares might have been conceived via a special flower from the fields of Olenus. Zeus’ free admission of his paternity of Ares, Clark hints, may be only to avoid the scandal of being a cuckold.

On her own, Hera gave birth to Hephaestus.


Parents of Hera

Like brother Zeus, Hera’s parents were Cronos and Rhea, who were Titans.
Roman Hera

In Roman mythology, the goddess Hera is known as Juno.


Fast Facts About Hera

Name: Greek – Hera; Roman – Juno


Parents: Cronus and Rhea

Foster Parents: Oceanus and Thetys, among others

Siblings: Hestia, Demeter, Poseidon, Hades, and Zeus

Mates: Zeus

Children: Ares, Hephaestus, Eileithyia, Hebe

Role of Hestia

For Humans: Hera was goddess of marriage. In later myth, Hera is treated as the queen of heaven, the female counterpart of Zeus
For Gods: Queen

Canonical Olympian? Yes. Hera is one of the canonical Olympians.




Author: N.S. Gill

N.S. Gill’s Ancient/Classical History Glossary

Article located on

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Deity of the Day for September 4 is Cybele, Mother Goddess of Rome

Deity of the Day


Mother Goddess of Rome

Cybele, a mother goddess of Rome was at the center of a rather bloody Phrygian cult, and was sometimes known as Magna Mater, or “great goddess.” As part of their worship, priests performed mysterious rites in her honor. Of particular note was the sacrifice of a bull performed as part of an initiation into Cybele’s cult. This ritual was known as the taurobolium, and during the rite a candidate for initiation stood in a pit under a floor with a wooden grate.

The bull was sacrificed above the grate, and the blood ran through holes in the wood, showering the initiate. This was a form of ritual purification and rebirth. For an idea of what this probably looked like, there’s an amazing scene in the HBO series Rome in which the character Atia makes a sacrifice to Cybele to protect her son Octavian, who later becomes the emperor Augustus.

Cybele’s lover was Attis, and her jealousy caused him to castrate and kill himself. His blood was the source of the first violets, and divine intervention allowed Attis to be resurrected by Cybele, with some help from Zeus. Thanks to this resurrection story, Cybele came to be associated with the endless cycle of life, death and rebirth. In some areas, there is still an annual three-day celebration of Attis’ rebirth and Cybele’s power around the time of the spring equinox, called the Hilaria.

Like Attis, it is said that Cybele’s followers would work themselves into orgiastic frenzies and then ritually castrate themselves.

After this, these priests donned women’s clothing, and assumed female identities. They became known as the Gallai. In some regions, female priestesses led Cybele’s dedicants in rituals involving ecstatic music, drumming and dancing. Under the leadership of Augustus Caesar, Cybele became extremely popular. Augustus erected a giant temple in her honor on the Palatine Hill, and the statue of Cybele that is in the temple bears the face of Augustus’ wife, Livia.

As the Roman Empire spread, deities of other cultures found themselves absorbed into Roman religion. In the case of Cybele, she later took on many aspects of the Egyptian goddess Isis.



Author: Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert

Article found on & owned by


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Deity of the Day for Tuesday, August 25th is Bellona, Roman Goddess of War

Deity of the Day


Roman Goddess of War

Bellona was an Ancient Roman goddess of war. She was called the sister of Mars, and in some sources, his wife or an associate of his female cult partner Nerio. Bellona’s main attribute is the military helmet worn on her head, and she often holds a sword, a shield, or other weapons of battle.

Politically, all Roman Senate meetings relating to foreign war were conducted in the Templum Bellonæ (Temple of Bellona) on the Collis Capitolinus outside the pomerium, near the Temple of Apollo Sosianus. The fetiales, a group of priest advisors, conducted ceremonies to proclaim war and peace, and announce foreign treaties at the columna bellica, in front of her temple.

The name Bellona is transparently derived from the Latin word bellum “war”—the older form Duellona demonstrates its antiquity, showing the same sound change as duellum.

In art, she is portrayed with a helmet on her head, usually wearing a breastplate or plate armour, bearing a sword, spear, shield, or other weaponry, sometimes holding a flaming torch or sounding the Horn of Victory and Defeat. In heraldic crests, she may be shown as a goddess with spread feathered wings bearing a helmet or coronet.

Ammianus Marcellinus, in describing the Roman defeat at the Battle of Adrianople refers to “Bellona, blowing her mournful trumpet, was raging more fiercely than usual, to inflict disaster on the Romans”.

Near the beginning of Shakespeare’s Macbeth (I.ii.54), Macbeth is introduced as a violent and brave warrior when the Thane of Ross calls him “Bellona’s bridegroom” (i.e. Mars). In Henry IV, Part I, Hotspur describes her as “the fire-eyed maid of smoky war” (IV.i.119). And in The Two Noble Kinsmen (1613), set in pre-Roman Athens, the sister of Hippolyta will solicit her divine aid for Theseus against Thebes (I.iii.13).

The goddess has also proved popular in post-Renaissance art as a female embodiment of military virtue, and an excellent opportunity to portray the feminine form in armour and helmet.

The composer Francesco Bianchi and the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte together created a Cantata first performed in London on 11 March 1797 & called Le nozze del Tamigi e Bellona, (The Wedding of the Thames and Bellona), to mark the British naval victory over the Spanish at the Battle of Cape St Vincent.

Also, the “Temple of Bellona” was a popular choice of name for the small mock-temples that were a popular feature of 18th- and 19th-century English landscaped gardens (e.g. William Chambers’s 1760 Temple of Bellona for Kew Gardens, a small Doric temple with a four-column facade to contain plaques honouring those who served in the Seven Years’ War of 1756–64).

First World War poet Edgell Rickwood wrote a poem “The Traveller” where he marches toward the front line in company of Art, the God Pan and the works of essayist Walter Pater. As they approach the active war, they meet Bellona. One by one the pleasurable companions are forced to flee by the violence of war, until Bellona rejoices in having him to herself.

Samuel R. Delany’s 1975 novel Dhalgren is set in the city of Bellona.

The detective novel The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L Sayers is set at a fictional London club whose membership is composed of active or retired military officers, and is named after the goddess.


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Deity of the Day for August 20th – Pomona, Roman Goddess

Deity of the Day

Goddess Pomona


Areas of Influence: Pomona was one of the Numina, the Roman guardian spirits who watched over people, homes and special places. She protected fruiting trees and gardens.

She is an agricultural Goddess , responsible for the care and cultivation of fruit trees and orchards. Her name is actually derived from the Latin word pomun, meaning fruit. Her dedication to her work left her little time for love. She turned down the offers of marriage from Silvanus and Picus but was eventually tricked into marriage by Vertumnus. This deity was served by high priests known as Flamen Pomonalis in a sacred grove known as the Pomonal.

Origins and Genealogy: I can find no references to her parents, siblings and children.

Strengths: A nurturer, dedicated to her job. As a fertility Goddess she represented abundance.

Weaknesses: So busy looking after her trees that she has little time for herself.

Symbolism: A popular figure in art she is shown as a beautiful Goddess carrying a knife to prune with and a platter of fruit or a cornucopia.

Sacred Animal/Bird/Plant: Apples.

Festival: A feast was held annually on the November 1st when apples, nuts and grapes were consumed to celebrate the harvest.

Unlike many of the Roman Goddesses she has no specific Greek equivalent.

Pomona’s Archetype

The Mother

The Mother is a life-giver and the source of nurturing, devotion, patience and unconditional love. The ability to forgive and provide for her children and put them before herself is the essence of a good mother.

In its shadow aspect the Mother can be devouring, abusive and abandoning. The shadow Mother can also make her children feel guilty about becoming independent and leaving her. It is not necessary to be a biological Mother to have this stereotype. It can refer to anyone who has a lifelong pattern of nurturing and devotion to living things.

As Goddess of the harvest she represents the Mother Archetype as she nurtures the fruits, trees and the plants in the garden.

How to Work With This Archetype

The Mother

You are exhibiting the features of the shadow Mother if you smother your children and are over protective. Encourage independence and allow children to make mistakes but be available to give care and advice when it’s needed.

The other shadow Mother is the one that abandons her children, or is so busy that she has no time for nurturing her young.




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