Deities of the Spring Equinox


Deities of the Spring Equinox

Spring is a time of great celebration in many cultures. It’s the time of year when the planting begins, people begin to once more enjoy the fresh air, and we can reconnect with the earth again after the long, cold winter. A number of different gods and goddesses from different pantheons are connected with the themes of Spring and Ostara. Here’s a look at some of the many deities associated with spring, rebirth, and new life each year.

Asase Yaa (Ashanti)
This earth goddess prepares to bring forth new life in the spring, and the Ashanti people of Ghana honor her at the festival of Durbar, alongside her husband Nyame, the sky god who brings rain to the fields. As a fertility goddess, she is often associated with the planting of early crops during the rainy season. In some parts of Africa, she is honored during an annual (or often bi-annual) festival called the Awuru Odo. This is a large gathering of extended family and kinship groups, and a great deal of food and feasting seems to be involved.

In some Ghanaian folktales, Asase Yaa appears as the mother of Anansi, the trickster god, whose legends followed many West Africans to the New World during the centuries of the slave trade.

Interestingly, there do not appear to be any formalized temples to Asase Yaa – instead, she is honored in the fields where the crops grown, and in the homes where she is celebrated as a goddess of fertility and the womb. Farmers may opt to ask her permission before they begin working the soil. Even though she is associated with the hard labor of tilling the fields and planting seeds, her followers take a day off on Thursday, which is her sacred day.

Cybele (Roman)
This mother goddess of Rome was at the center of a rather bloody Phrygian cult, in which eunuch priests performed mysterious rites in her honor. Her lover was Attis (he was also her grandson, but that’s another story), 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. In some areas, there is still an annual three-day celebration of Attis’ rebirth and Cybele’s power.

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.

Today, many people still honor Cybele, although not in quite the same context as she once was. Groups like the Maetreum of Cybele honor her as a mother goddess and protector of women.

Eostre (Western Germanic)
Little is known about the worship of this Teutonic spring goddess, but she is mentioned by the Venerable Bede, who said that Eostre’s following had died out by the time he compiled his writings in the eighth century. Jacob Grimm referred to her by the High German equivalent, Ostara, in his 1835 manuscript, Deutsche Mythologie.

According to the stories, she is a goddess associated with flowers and springtime, and her name gives us the word “Easter,” as well as the name of Ostara itself. However, if you start to dig around for information on Eostre, you’ll find that much of it is the same. In fact, nearly all of it is Wiccan and Pagan authors who describe Eostre in a similar fashion. Very little is available on an academic level.

Interestingly, Eostre doesn’t appear anywhere in Germanic mythology, and despite assertions that she might be a Norse deity, she doesn’t show up in the poetic or prose Eddas either. However, she could certainly have belonged to some tribal group in the Germanic areas, and her stories may have just been passed along through oral tradition.

So, did Eostre exist or not? No one knows. Some scholars dispute it, others point to etymological evidence to say that she did in fact have a festival honoring her. Read more here: Eostre – Spring Goddess or NeoPagan Fancy?

Freya (Norse)
This fertility goddess abandons the earth during the cold months, but returns in the spring to restore nature’s beauty. She wears a magnificent necklace called Brisingamen, which represents the fire of the sun. Freyja was similar to Frigg, the chief goddess of the Aesir, which was the Norse race of sky deities. Both were connected with childrearing, and could take on the aspect of a bird. Freyja owned a magical cloak of hawk’s feathers, which allowed her to transform at will. This cloak is given to Frigg in some of the Eddas.

As the wife of Odin, the All Father, Freyja was often called upon for assistance in marriage or childbirth, as well as to aid women struggling with infertility.

Osiris (Egyptian)
Osiris is known as the king of Egyptian gods. This lover of Isis dies and is reborn in a resurrection story. The resurrection theme is popular among spring deities, and is also found in the stories of Adonis, Mithras and Attis as well.

Born the son of Geb (the earth) and Nut (the sky), Osiris was the twin brother of Isis and became the first pharoah. He taught mankind the secrets of farming and agriculture, and according to Egyptian myth and legend, brought civilization itself to the world. Ultimately, the reign of Osiris was brought about by his death at the hands of his brother Set (or Seth).

The death of Osiris is a major event in Egyptian legend.

Saraswati (Hindu)
This Hindu goddess of the arts, wisdom and learning has her own festival each spring in India, called Saraswati Puja. She is honored with prayers and music, and is usually depicted holding lotus blossoms and the sacred Vedas.



Patti Wigington
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Pagan Study of the Gods & Goddesses, Today, Adonis



Adonis is a seasonal life/death/rebirth God associated with Tammuz, Atunis, Baldr, Osiris, Attis and Jesus. The name means “Lord”

His feast day is the Adonia and was celebrated in what is now August. Young women mourn him on this day and plant seeds of quick blooming, short lived flowers in his honor.

Conception and Birth
King Theias (or Cinyras) of Syria (or Smyrna) had a daughter named Myrrha (or Smyrna if you prefer). She was quite lovely and he bragged that she was lovelier even than Aphrodite. Aphrodite decided that a man who was so enamored by a girl’s beauty, certainly deserved her love, and caused poor Myrrha to fall madly in love with her own father.

Of course, she was horrified at the thought that she should be feeling this way about her father and did her very best to ignore her feelings. But this only made things worse. She swooned at his smile and shuddered at his touch. She woke sweating in the night from dreams of him and then sobbed at the shame of it. She became depressed, spoke little and ate less. Her nurse, who had served her since birth could tell that something was wrong and pressed the girl until she finally revealed her horrible secret.

At first her nurse urged her to continue to suppress her feelings and tried to treat her with sleeping droughts and appetite stimulants and by diverting her attention with entertaining games, outings and stories. She even attempted to arouse her interest in other men, but to no avail. Myrrha was pining, and she was wasting away. Her nurse was certain she would die if something wasn’t done soon.

On a certain evening, when Myrrha’s mother had gone to celebrate the festival of Demeter, the nurse noticed the King was quite drunk. She led him to bed, and then led Myrrha to his side. Myrrha lay by her father in the darkness and they knew a night of passion like none known since. He was enamored, and begged to know who she was, but she would not tell him and promised to return only when it was quite dark. He agreed, and she returned night after night under cover of darkness.

One night, after they had made love she fell asleep. He lit a lamp and held it up and was horrified to see his own daughter laying naked beside him! He bellowed his rage and went for his sword, determined to kill her, but she fled outside and Aphrodite, took pity on her and turned her into a tree before he could reach her. Myrrha’s pain was so great, having lost her father’s love and her lover and having given in to shameful temptation that even as a tree, the girl wept sweet smelling resin that came to be known as Myrrh.

Sometime later, a boar came by and rubbed its tusks on the tree, causing it to split and the young Adonis emerged. Fearful that his father/grandfather would certainly kill him if he discovered him, Aphrodite scooped him up and took him to the underworld and asked its Queen, Persephone, to look after him.

Adonis grew in beauty and strength and both Goddesses fell in love with him. When Aphrodite wanted him back, Persephone refused and she kept him as her own lover in the Underworld.

Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, settled the argument, giving each Goddess his custody for one third of the year, and granting him a third of the year to himself. He chose, however, to stay with Aphrodite during that third.

Aphrodite warned Adonis to stay by her side, but the boy loved to hunt and inevitably, he went out into the forest alone one day. Discovering his absence, Aphrodite rushed to his side, but too late. He lay dying having been gored in the groin by a boar. She arrived in time to catch his last breath. She sprinkled him with nectar, and red anemones sprang up where his blood stained the ground. For the first time, Aphrodite wished she wasn’t mortal, and cried out her lament to the skies that she could join Adonis in the underworld, but she knew it could not be.




Greek mythology

Adonis, in Greek mythology, a youth of remarkable beauty, the favourite of the goddess Aphrodite (identified with Venus by the Romans). Traditionally, he was the product of the incestuous love Smyrna (Myrrha) entertained for her own father, the Syrian king Theias. Charmed by his beauty, Aphrodite put the newborn infant Adonis in a box and handed him over to the care of Persephone, the queen of the underworld, who afterward refused to give him up. An appeal was made to Zeus, the king of the gods, who decided that Adonis should spend a third of the year with Persephone and a third with Aphrodite, the remaining third being at his own disposal. A better-known story, hinted at in Euripides’ Hippolytus, is that Artemis avenged her favourite, Hippolytus, by causing the death of Adonis, who, being a hunter, ventured into her domain and was killed by a wild boar. Aphrodite pleaded for his life with Zeus, who allowed Adonis to spend half of each year with her and half in the underworld.

The central idea of the myth is that of the death and resurrection of Adonis, which represent the decay of nature every winter and its revival in spring. He is thus viewed by modern scholars as having originated as an ancient spirit of vegetation. Annual festivals called Adonia were held at Byblos and elsewhere to commemorate Adonis for the purpose of promoting the growth of vegetation and the falling of rain. The name Adonis is believed to be of Phoenician origin (from ʾadōn, “lord”), Adonis himself being identified with the Babylonian god Tammuz. Shakespeare’s poem Venus and Adonis (1593) is based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book X.

Written By:

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica


A tale as old as time


The myth of Adonis, a tale as old as time, is a legendary love story that combines tragedy and death on the one hand, and the joy of coming back to life on the other. The story of the impossibly handsome Adonis and his lover the goddess Aphrodite originally dates back to the ancient civilizations of the Near East. It was popular among the Canaanites, and very well-known to the people of Mesopotamia and Egypt as well, though referred to by different names in each civilization. It is the legend of the god of beauty who faced death when he was young, but came back to life for the sake of his beloved Aphrodite. The myth has been a source of great inspiration for many poets, artists and historians alike, leading to its widespread use as a major theme in literary and intellectual productions.

From The Canaanite Adon To The Greek Adonis

The god Adon was considered one of the most important Canaanite gods: he was the god of beauty, fertility and permanent renewal. The name itself, “Adon”, means “The Lord” in Canaanite. In Greek mythology and the Hellenic world generally, he was called Adonis, and became known by that name among those nations. Other adaptations of Adon in various civilizations include the Canaanite god Baal who was worshiped in Ugarit, and Tammuz or Dumuzi (meaning July) as he was known to the Babylonians. In Egypt, he was Osiris, the god of resurrection.

In addition to the god Adonis, the myth involves his everlasting mistress Astarte, the goddess of love and beauty. She was known as Aphrodite to the Greeks, and Venus to the Romans. Their stories were so intertwined that Adonis’ myth would be incomplete without mentioning Astarte and the legendary love story that brought them together.

When Aphrodite saw Adonis she was so amazed by his beauty that she decided to hide him from the rest of the goddesses.

The role that Cyprus played in transferring the myth of Adonis and Astarte from the Canaanite regions to the Greeks – and from the latter to the Romans – is a very significant one. However, perhaps due to the lack of Mesopotamian and Canaanite sources written about this legend (and often the ambiguity of such sources), the late Greek writings are the main references for this tale of eternal love. Hence, the myth is most popularly known as that of Adonis and Aphrodite, rather than Adon and Astarte.

Adonis in Greek Mythology

Based on the different Greek sources (such as Bion of Smyrna) and the other Roman references (like Ovid’s Metamorphoses) a general consensus on the story of Adonis and Aphrodite is as follows:

A great king called Cinyras (in some sources known as Theias, the king of Assyria) had a daughter named Myrrha, who was very beautiful. The king used to boast about his daughter being more beautiful than Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. When Aphrodite heard of this, she became angry and decided to retaliate. She used her son Eros, the god of desire and attraction, to make Myrrha fall in love with her father, and even deceived him into committing incest. When Cinyras discovered the trick, he swore to kill Myrrha, who in turn escaped from her father after realizing she was pregnant. Myrrha was ashamed and regretful of her heinous act, and pleaded to the gods to protect her. They answered her prayers by turning her into a Myrrh tree.

Nine months later, the Myrrh tree split off, and Adonis was born; he had inherited the beauty of his mother. When Aphrodite saw the boy, she was so amazed by his beauty that she decided to hide him from the rest of the goddesses, and entrusted him to Persephone, goddess of the underworld. Persephone began looking after the boy, and when he grew older and became more and more attractive, she fell in love with him.

A conflict then rose between Aphrodite and Persephone, who refused to give Adonis back to Aphrodite. Zeus, the king of the gods, intervened and ruled that Adonis to spend four months of the year with Persephone in Hades, the Underworld, then four months with Aphrodite, and the remaining four months however he wished. Because Adonis was so taken with the charm of Aphrodite, he devoted his free four months to her as well.

Adonis was well-known for his hunting skills, and in one of the hunting journeys in the Afqa Forest (near Byblos), Adonis was attacked by a wild boar and began bleeding in the hands of Aphrodite, who poured her magical nectar on his wounds. Although Adonis died, the blood blended with the nectar and flowed onto the soil where a flower sprouted from the ground, its scent the same as Aphrodite’s nectar, and its color that of Adonis’ blood – the Anemone flower. The blood reached the river and colored the water red, and the river became known as the “Adonis River” (currently known as Nahr Ibrahim or River Abraham), which is located in the Lebanese village of Afqa.

Worship of Adonis

Byblos was one of the main places in the ancient world that used to observe the rituals of Adonis, and actually brought back the practice of these ceremonies and rites well into the early centuries of Christianity. The writings of Lucian of Samosata in the second century CE played a major role in shedding light on the rituals that were widely practiced by the people of Byblos. His book On The Syrian Goddess (De Dea Syria) recounts his visit to the village Afqa, where he explains what he encountered.

According to Lucian, the people of Byblos believed the wild boar incident that befell Adonis happened in their country. To commemorate this event, they would smite themselves each year, mourn, and celebrate religious rituals and orgies while a great mourning prevailed over the entire country. When their beating and bewailing stopped, they would celebrate the funeral of Adonis, as if he had died, and then the next day announce that he had returned to life and was sent to heaven.

Another one of the Byblos region’s marvels is the river that runs from Mount Lebanon and flows into the sea. The River Adonis is said to lose its color every year and take on a bloody red hue, pouring into the sea and dyeing a large part of the beach red – a sign to the people of Byblos to start their time of mourning. It is believed that at this time of year, Adonis was wounded in Lebanon, and his blood went to the riverbed. One of the reasons given by Lucian – as told to him by one of Byblos’ wise men – explaining why the river turns red at this time of the year is the strong wind blowing soil into the river. The soil of Lebanon (and of this region particularly) is known for its red color, which, when mixed with the river water, turns it purple.

The Immortal Myth

The popularity of the story of Adonis and his mistress Aphrodite led to a revival of its rituals in many other Phoenician cities as well. It also spread across to the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, but with minor differences in adaptation, depending on the characteristics and features of each civilization. The essence of the legend, however, remains intact across all adaptations: a god of beauty and youth and his relationship with the goddess of love, along with the young god’s death and return to life being a metaphor of nature’s annual rebirth.

The myth of Adonis is closely related to the concept of vegetation and agricultural civilizations, such as Mesopotamia or the Canaanite areas (as the story originated in the Near East). The winter was a season of gloom and sadness for the inhabitants of these areas, whereas the spring and summer brought them the joy of new life. This myth is commonly believed to be an expression of its people’s thinking, reflections, and psychological perceptions.

Remnants of Adonis worship are still present in this day and age among some nations of the Levant, Mesopotamia, and even Persia/Iran, where it is manifested as part of spring folklore celebrations, like the Feast of Nauroz.



APA Style

Azar, E. N. (2016, February 21). Adonis. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from
Chicago Style

Azar, Elias N. “Adonis.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified February 21, 2016.
MLA Style

Azar, Elias N. “Adonis.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 21 Feb 2016. Web. 16 Mar 2018.
Written by Elias N. Azar, published on 21 February 2016 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms.

La Fin

The Pagan Study of the Gods & Goddesses for March 14th – Ares



Greek God of War

Ares is the god of war, one of the Twelve OLYMPIAN GODS and the son of ZEUS and HERA. In literature Ares represents the violent and physical untamed aspect of war, which is in contrast to ATHENA who represents military strategy and generalship as the goddess of intelligence.

Although Ares embodied the physical aggression necessary for success in war, the Greeks were ambivalent toward him because he was a dangerous, overwhelming force that was insatiable in battle.

He is well known as the lover of APHRODITE, who was married to HEPHAESTUS, and though Ares plays a limited role in literature, when he does appear in myths it is typically facing humiliation. For example, one famous story of Ares and Aphrodite exposes them to ridicule by the gods when her husband Hephaestus trapped them both naked in a bed using a clever device he made.

The ROMAN COUNTERPART to Ares was MARS, who was known as a FATHER TO THE ROMAN PEOPLE. Because of this, he was a less aggressive and physical form, revealing a more calm and understanding demeanour.

Facts about Ares
Ares was most notably referred to as the God of War; he represented the unpleasant aspects of battle.
He was the son of Zeus and Hera, both of whom hated him (according to Homer).
Ares was most often characterized as a coward in spite of his connection to war; he responded to even the slightest injury with outrage.
According to some sources, Ares was described as Aphrodite’s lover and was held in contempt by her husband, Hephaestus. The affair between them was not a secret among the Olympians.
Ares was never very popular—either with men or the other immortals. As a result, his worship in Greece was not substantial or widespread.
He came from Thrace, home of a fierce people in the northeast of Greece.
His bird was the vulture.
The Amazons, warrior women, were his daughters. Their mother was a peace-loving nymph named Harmony.
Otus and Ephialtes, twin giants, imprisoned Ares for a lunar year by binding him with chains of brass; he was eventually rescued by Hermes.
Ares always took the side of Aphrodite in the Trojan War. He fought for Hector (a Trojan) until a Greek warrior pierced him with a spear that was guided by Athena. He then departed the battlefield in order to complain to Zeus about Athena’s violence.
Harmonia, Goddess of Harmony, was the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite.
Eros (more commonly known as Cupid) was also the child of Ares and Aphrodite.
Tereus, a son of Ares, was known to have inherited his father’s abhorrent qualities.
Ares was the biological father of at least three of Hercules’ enemies: Cycnus, Lycaon, and Diomedes.
Ares had a sister named Eris, who was the Goddess of Discord.
Hebe, another sister of his, was the Goddess of Youth.
Ares rarely figures into mythology stories, but when he does, he usually suffers some form of humiliation.
Ares was associated with two other war deities: Enyalius and Enyo.
Ares had many offspring, which is characteristic of nearly all of the notable Greek gods. He conceived more mortal children than divine children.
In art, Ares is generally depicted wearing a spear and a helmet.

 – Greek Gods & Goddesses, September 19, 2014


Ares was the god of war, and son of Zeus and Hera. He represented the raw violence and untamed acts that occured in wartime, in contrast to Athena, who was a symbol of tactical strategy and military planning.

What side of the Trojan War was Ares on?

He was disliked by both his parents. Whenever Ares appeared in a myth, he was depicted as a violent personality, who faced humiliation through his defeats more than once. In the Iliad, it is mentioned that Zeus hated him more than anyone else; Ares was also on the losing side of the Trojan War, favouring the Trojans.

He was the lover of his sister, Aphrodite, who was married to Hephaestus. When the latter found out about the affair, he devised a plan and managed to humiliate both of them. The union of Ares and Aphrodite resulted in the birth of eight children, including Eros, god of love.

Ares temples

There were few temples attributed to Ares in Ancient Greece. Sacrifices would usually be made to him when an army would march to war; Spartans would make sacrifices to Enyalius, another lesser god and son of Ares and Enyo. However, the name was also used as a byname for Ares.

Who were Ares companions?

When Ares went to war, he was followed by his companions, Deimos (terror) and Phobos (fear), who were the product of his union with Aphrodite. Eris, goddess of discord and sister of Deimos and Phobos, often accompanied them in war.


Greek Mythology



Ares was the Greek god of war and perhaps the most unpopular of all the Olympian gods because of his quick temper, aggressiveness, and unquenchable thirst for conflict. He famously seduced Aphrodite, unsuccessfully fought with Hercules, and enraged Poseidon by killing his son Halirrhothios. One of the more human Olympian gods, he was a popular subject in Greek art and even more so in Roman times when he took on a much more serious aspect as Mars, the Roman god of war.

Son of Zeus and Hera, Ares’ sisters were Hebe and Eileithyia. Despite being a god, the Greeks considered him from Thrace, perhaps in an attempt to associate him with what they thought of as foreign and war-loving peoples, wholly different from themselves. Ares had various children with different partners, several of whom were unfortunate enough to come up against Hercules when he performed his celebrated twelve labours. Ares’ daughter Hippolyta, the Amazon queen, lost her girdle to Hercules; his son Eurytion lost his cattle; and Diomedes had his horses stolen by the Greek hero. The courageous but warlike Amazons were also thought to be descendants of Ares.

Ares was noted for his beauty and courage, qualities which no doubt helped him win the affections of Aphrodite (even though she was married to Hephaistos) with whom he had a daughter, Harmonia, and the god of love and desire Eros. Hephaistos managed to entrap the lovers in an ingenious bed, and the tale is told in some detail in Book 8 of Homer’s Odyssey. Once caught, the punishment for Ares’ indiscretion was temporary banishment from Mount Olympus.

Described by Hesiod in his Theogony as ‘shield-piercing Ares’ and ‘city-sacking Ares,’ the god represented the more brutal and bloody side of battle, which was in contrast to Athena who represented the more strategic elements of warfare. In stories from Greek mythology, Ares was usually to be found in the company of his other children with Aphrodite, Phobos (Fear) and Deimos (Terror), with his sister Eris (Strife), and with his charioteer Ennyo.

The most popular myth involving Ares was his fight with Hercules. Ares’ son Kyknos was infamous for waylaying pilgrims on their way to the oracle at Delphi, and so earned the displeasure of Apollo, who sent Hercules to deal with him. Hercules killed Kyknos, and a furious Ares engaged the hero in a fight. However, Hercules was protected from harm by Athena and even managed to wound Ares. Another myth and ignominious episode for Ares was his capture by the twin Giants Ephialtes and Otus when they stormed Mount Olympus. They imprisoned the god in a bronze jar (or cauldron) for one year and he was only freed through the intervention of Hermes.

In Homer’s version of the Trojan War in the Iliad, Ares supports the Trojans, sometimes even leading them in battle along with Hector. The Iliad shows Ares in a less than positive light, and he is described as ‘hateful Ares,’ ‘the man-killer,’ ‘the war-glutton,’ and the ‘curse of men.’ Homer’s picture of Ares, like the above mythological tales, often demonstrates his weakness in comparison to the other gods. Ares is roundly beaten by Athena who, supporting the Achaeans, knocks him out with a large rock. He also comes off worse against the Achaean hero Diomedes who even manages to injure the god with his spear, albeit with the help of Athena. Homer describes the scream of the wounded Ares as like the shouts of 10,000 men. Fleeing back to Olympus, Zeus ignores the complaints of Ares but instructs Paieon to heal his wound.

Ares again upset the harmony of Olympus when he was accused of killing Poseidon’s son Halirrhothios near a stream below the Athenian acropolis. A special court was convened – the Areopagos – on a hill near the stream, to hear the case. Ares was acquitted as it was disclosed Halirrhothios had raped Ares’ daughter Alcippe. Thereafter in Athens, the Areopagus became the place of trial for cases involving murder and impiety.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering the city’s strong militaristic culture, Ares was greatly esteemed in Sparta. Ares was not commonly worshipped but there were cult sites with temples dedicated to the god on Crete (he is mentioned in Linear B tablets from Knossos) and at Argos, Athens, Erythrae, Geronthrae, Megalopolis, Tegea, Therapne, and Troezon. He also had a cult in Thrace and was popular among the Colchians on the Black Sea.

In ancient Greek Archaic and Classical art, Ares is most often depicted wearing full armour and helmet and carrying a shield and spear. In this respect, he may appear indistinguishable from any other armed warrior. Sometimes he is shown riding his chariot pulled by fire-breathing horses. The myth of Ares’ battle with Hercules was a popular subject for Attic vases in the 6th century BCE.

In later times, the Roman god Mars was given many of the attributes of Ares, although, as was typical of the Roman view of the gods, with less human qualities. In Roman mythology, Mars was also the father of Romulus and Remus (through the rape of the Vestal Virgin Rhea Silvia), the legendary founders of Rome, and, therefore, the city achieved a sacred status. Like Athena for Athens, Mars was also the patron god of the Roman capital and the month martius (March) was named after him.

Mark Cartwright
Mark’s special interests include ancient ceramics, architecture, and mythology. He loves visiting and reading about historic sites and transforming that experience into free articles accessible to all.

Ancient History




How Balder, the good and beautiful god, was done to death by a stroke of the mistletoe

A deity whose life might in a sense be said to be neither in heaven nor on earth but between the two, was the Norse Balder, the good and beautiful god, the son of the great god Odin, and himself the wisest, mildest, best beloved of all the immortals. The story of his death, as it is told in the younger or prose “Edda”, runs thus. Once on a time Balder dreamed heavy dreams which seemed to forebode his death.

Thereupon the gods held a council and resolved to make him secure against every danger. So the goddess Frigg took an oath from fire and water, iron and all metals, stones and earth, from trees, sicknesses and poisons, and from all four-footed beasts, birds, and creeping things, that they would not hurt Balder. When this was done Balder was deemed invulnerable; so the gods amused themselves by setting him in their midst, while some shot at him, others hewed at him, and others threw stones at him. But whatever they did, nothing could hurt him; and at this they were all glad. Only Loki, the mischief-maker, was displeased, and he went in the guise of an old woman to Frigg, who told him that the weapons of the gods could not wound Balder, since she had made them all swear not to hurt him. Then Loki asked, “Have all things sworn to spare Balder?” She answered, “East of Walhalla grows a plant called mistletoe; it seemed to me too young to swear.” So Loki went and pulled the mistletoe and took it to the assembly of the gods. There he found the blind god Hother standing at the outside of the circle. Loki asked him, “Why do you not shoot at Balder?” Hother answered, “Because I do not see where he stands; besides I have no weapon.” Then said Loki, “Do like the rest and shew Balder honour, as they all do. I will shew you where he stands, and do you shoot at him with this twig.” Hother took the mistletoe and threw it at Balder, as Loki directed him….Read More

Let’s Talk Witch – The God and Goddess

Possessed by you

Let’s Talk Witch – The God and Goddess

The Goddess and the God are everything and everywhere. They are the sun, the moon, the sky, the oceans, ants, flowers, nature, everything. You can see their splendor in a sunset, a child, a tree, in the stars; it’s everywhere, you just have to look and see it. They reveal themselves quite often in the most simplest forms. That seems quite a contradiction to what I just said about them being complex, but it’s true. Take a walk in the woods, or look at a butterfly, you’ll see it. The Goddess and The God are inherent in nature, and since they are so entwined in nature, we have to treat nature with just as much respect as we would a divine being.

The Goddess and the God as being part of the same being, just different aspects of that being. “Goddess”, refers to the female, creative aspect of that being. Both The Goddess and The God are equal, neither deserving more respect than the other. When you start focusing on just The Goddess, or just The God, things become unbalanced and unnatural. The ideal is a perfect balance of both energies. They are all of the deities that have ever existed, and the ones that will exist.

All the different gods and goddesses of all the different religions are the same being; almost but not quite the same idea as the 99 names of Allah, each name refers to a different aspect of that God. When you call the Goddess by the name of Bridget or Margawse, you are calling upon those aspects of The Goddess.


The Goddess is the universal mother. She is fertility, endless wisdom and love. She is all aspects of nature, harmful and helpful. Wiccans acknowledge both aspects of Her nature.

The Goddess has three aspects; The Maiden (Anu, Elaine, Blodeuwedd), The Mother (Badb, Arianrhod, Margawse), and The Crone (Morgan LeFey, Cerridwen, Macha). The Maiden is innocence, Springtime, renewal, youth, dawn and the continuation of all life. The Mother is the richness of life, nurturing, Summer, the day and a teacher. The Crone is darkness, night, the rest before the continuation of life, wisdom, counsel and reincarnation. Each of these aspects shows different stages of a women’s life, and each can be placed with the phases of the moon; The Maiden being the waxing moon, The Mother the full moon and The Crone the waning moon.

The Goddess of the Wicca is the Great Goddess. She is the Ground of Being, the Mother of All Living; the Creatrix, and the Destroyer, for She is ever Dual. She is the Earth Mother, the Lady of the Moon, and the Star Goddess. She is Queen of Heaven, Queen of Earth, and Queen of the Underworld. She is the Triple Goddess: the Virgin, the Bride, and the Hag, called the Three Mothers in Celtic regions.

The three aspects of the Triple Goddess are usually described as the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone; it must be remembered that the connotations of age associated with those titles derive from the experience of humans, who are subject to age and death; the Goddess is eternal: ever-changing and ever self-renewing, She will be young or old as She pleases.

As the Virgin, She is the Creatrix, the Lady of Birth and Death, the Star Goddess, the Queen of Heaven, the Giver of Inspiration, the Initiatrix.

She is Diana, Lady of the Moon and the Wild Things, Ever Virgin unto Pan: virgin unto the All, and therefore wed to None.She is also the Virgin Mother; and Her blue and white colors, and title “Queen of Heaven”, were borrowed by the Catholic Church for the Virgin Mary. Hers are the Waxing Moon, Venus as Morning and Evening Star, and all the vast starry realm; Her sacred color is White.

As the Bride, She is the Preserver, the Lady of Growth and Fertility, the Earth Mother, the Goddess of flocks and herds, Lady of Love and Fruitfulness and the fertility of the land; as Goddess of the Land She is also the Goddess of Sovereignty, and it is only by Sacred Marriage to Her that the King holds the right to the Throne. Hers are the Full Moon, the Earth, fruits and flocks and fields; Her sacred color is Red.

As the Hag, She is the Destroyer, the Lady of Decay and Death, the Goddess of Night and the Underworld, and also the cave and the tomb. For that which is born must also age, and decay, and die; and out of that which is dead and decaying arises new fertility, for life feeds ever on life. She is the Sow who eats Her own young, the “Nightmare Fertility and Death in One”, the Great Necessity by which the food chain and the cycle of life continue. Hence She is also the Goddess of regeneration. Hers is the Waning Moon, the dark night, the silence of the shadows, the midnight crossroads, and the wailing of the widow; Her sacred color is Black.

The Goddess is the Queen of all Witcheries: She is the Enchantress, the Shape-Changer; She is Isis, the “Lady of the Words of Power”; She is Cerridwen, the Sorceress at Her Cauldron; She is Hecate, the Mistress of the Magick of the Dark Moon. She is the Great Lady. She is the Goddess.


The God of the Wicca is the Horned God, the ancient God of Fertility: the God of forest, flock, and field and also of the hunt. He is Lord of Life, and the Giver of Life, yet He is also Lord of Death and Resurrection. For, like the Goddess, the nature of Her Horned Consort is also dual. For the Horned God is not only the Hunter, He is also the Hunted; He is the Sun by day, but He is also the Sun at Midnight; He is the Lord of Light, but He is also the Lord of Darkness: the darkness of night, the darkness of the Shadows, the darkness of the depths of the forest, the darkness of the depths of the Underworld.

The Horned God is the group soul of the hunted animal, invoked by the primitive shaman and the tribe: and as such, He is the Sacrificial Victim, the beast who is slain that the tribe might live, a gift from that group soul, who was often revered as the tribal totem or ancestral spirit. The Celts believed they were the descendents of the God of the Underworld, who was also the God of Fertility: the Latinized form of His name was Cernunnos, which means simply, the Horned One.

The Horned God is also the spirit of vegetation, of the green and growing things, whether of the vine or of the forest or of the field. Dionysus, Adonis, and many other vegetation and harvest Gods were all often depicted as horned, wearing the horns of the bull, the goat, the ram, or the stag: of whichever of the horned beasts was held sacred in that place and time. This aspect is the Dying and Resurrecting God who dies with the harvest and is rent asunder, as the grain is gathered in the fields; who is buried, as is the seed; who then springs forth anew, fresh and green and young, in the spring, reborn from the Womb of the Great Mother.

The Horned God is Osiris, who was often depicted with the horns of a bull. Osiris was believed to be incarnate in a succession of sacred bulls, and worshipped in that form as the god Apis. This was yet another form and manifestation of Osiris as the God of Fertility and also of Death and Resurrection. And Osiris bears the marks of a lunar, rather than a solar god, for Set tears the body of Osiris into fourteen pieces, the number of days of the waning moon; and then Isis, the Great Mother, gathers those pieces together and restores Osiris to life again.

The Horned God is the Great God Pan, the Goat-foot God with a human torso and a human but goat-horned head, the God whose ecstatic worship was so hated by the Church that they used His description for their “Devil” and called Him the lord of all evil. Yet, to the ancients who worshipped Him, and to the modern Pagans and Witches that worship Him still, “Pan is greatest, Pan is least. Pan is all, and all is Pan.”

The Horned God is not “the Devil”, except to those who fear and reject Nature, and the Powers of Life and human sexuality, and the ecstasy of the human spirit. The Horned God is the God of the Wicca.


Wiccan One

The Magickal Day of Wednesday

Egyptian God

The Magickal Day of Wednesday


Wednesday is named for Woden himself, although the Romans called it dies Mercurii. This is a day associated with the color purple, the planet Mercury, and the metal quicksilver – which is also called mercury. See a pattern here?


When it comes to deities… yes, Mercury! However, there are a few other gods associated with Wednesday, including Odin and Hermes, Athena, and Lugh. Gemstones like adventurine and agate come in handy as well, as do plants such as aspen trees, lilies, lavender and even ferns.


Business and job-related issues, communication, loss and debt, traveling, and journeys are all tied in to Wednesday. This is a good day to do a working to open up lines of communication – especially if your own actions are preventing you from being an effective speaker or listener. Go someplace new or return to an old favorite stomping ground, step up your game, and settle up your accounts.


Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article published on ThoughtCo




Fertility Deities of Beltane

BeltaneFertility Deities of Beltane


Beltane is a time of great fertility — for the earth itself, for animals, and of course for people as well. This season has been celebrated by cultures going back thousands of years, in a variety of ways, but nearly all shared the fertility aspect. Typically, this is a Sabbat to celebrate gods of the hunt or of the forest, and goddesses of passion and motherhood, as well as agricultural deities. Here are a list of gods and goddesses that can be honored as part of your tradition’s Beltane rituals.


Artemis (Greek): The moon goddess Artemis was associated with the hunt, and was seen as a goddess of forests and hillsides. This pastoral connection made her a part of spring celebrations in later periods.


Bes (Egyptian): Worshiped in later dynasties, Bes was a household protection god, and watched over mothers and young children. He and his wife, Beset, were paired up in rituals to cure problems with infertility.


Bacchus (Roman): Considered the equivalent of Greek god Dionysus, Bacchus was the party god — grapes, wine, and general debauchery were his domain. In March each year, Roman women could attend secret ceremonies called the bacchanalia, and he is associated with sexual free-for-alls and fertility.


Cernunnos (Celtic): Cernunnos is a horned god found in Celtic mythology. He is connected with male animals, particularly the stag in rut, and this has led him to be associated with fertility and vegetation. Depictions of Cernunnos are found in many parts of the British Isles and western Europe. He is often portrayed with a beard and wild, shaggy hair — he is, after all, the lord of the forest.


Flora (Roman): This goddess of spring and flowers had her own festival, Floralia, which was celebrated every year between April 28 to May 3. Romans dressed in bright robes and floral wreaths, and attended theater performances and outdoor shows. Offerings of milk and honey were made to the goddess.


Hera (Greek): This goddess of marriage was the equivalent of the Roman Juno, and took it upon herself to bestow good tidings to new brides. A maiden about to marry could make offerings to Hera, in the hopes that she would bless the marriage with fertility. In her earliest forms, she appears to have been a nature goddess, who presides over wildlife and nurses the young animals which she holds in her arms.


Kokopelli (Hopi): This flute-playing, dancing spring god carries unborn children upon his own back, and then passes them out to fertile women. In the Hopi culture, he is part of rites that relate to marriage and childbearing, as well as the reproductive abilities of animals. Often portrayed with rams and stags, symbolic of his fertility, Kokopelli occasionally is seen with his consort, Kokopelmana.


Pan (Greek): This agricultural god watched over shepherds and their flocks. He was a rustic sort of god, spending lots of time roaming the woods and pastures, hunting and playing music on his flute. Pan is typically portrayed as having the hindquarters and horns of a goat, similar to a faun. Because of his connection to fields and the forest, he is often honored as a spring fertility god.


Priapus (Greek): This fairly minor rural god has one giant claim to fame — his permanently erect and enormous phallus. The son of Aphrodite by Dionysus (or possibly Zeus, depending on the source), Priapus was mostly worshiped in homes rather than in an organized cult. Despite his constant lust, most stories portray him as sexually frustrated, or even impotent. However, in agricultural areas he was still regarded as a god of fertility, and at one point he was considered a protective god, who threatened sexual violence against anyone — male or female — who transgressed the boundaries he guarded.


Sheela-na-Gig (Celtic): Although the Sheela-na-Gig is technically the name applied to the carvings of women with exaggerated vulvae that have been found in Ireland and England, there’s a theory that the carvings are representative of a lost pre-Christian goddess. Typically, the Sheela-na-Gig adorns buildings in areas of Ireland that were part of the Anglo-Norman conquests in the 12th century. She is shown as a homely woman with a giant yoni, which is spread wide to accept the seed of the male. Folkloric evidence indicates that the figures are theory that the figures were part of a fertility rite, similar to “birthing stones”, which were used to bring on conception.

Xochiquetzal (Aztec): This fertility goddess was associated with spring, and represented not only flowers but the fruits of life and abundance. She was also the patron goddess of prostitutes and craftsmen.

by Patti Wigington
Published on ThoughtCo