The Goddess is the Great Mother, Creatrix of all, fertility from which life springs from, she is the Mother Earth from where we are born and to whom our bodies shall return to when we leave this life. The female principle of divinity, she is seen as the Moon in her Triple Aspects of Maiden, Mother and Crone. Her Lunar energies offering healing, insight and the flow of the woman’s cycles. Also known as the “Lady” who rules over the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. The Goddesses energies are endless, and together with the God, they make up the female/male polarity, complete balance together.
Goddess worship goes back to the Stone Age, more than 35,000 years ago. The Great Goddess or Great Mother as she was also known was the central icon to the society and lives of the tribal people of these times, to them the deity was female. The importance of the crops, fertility within the land, the people and the animals was paramount to their survival. Thus, this female life-giving and mother Creatrix was considered as divine and of great mystery and honour. This was a time when male and female were treated equally, society followed a matriarchal system and children took their mothers names. Women domesticated animals, learnt how to grow plants, developed medicines, divination, and other types of arts and crafts including poetry, pottery and weaving. It was the female elders that passed the laws within the community that kept the people in harmony.
Life was also based on the lunar cycles and not the solar calendar. As time passed and invaders entered, they brought with them more “modern” beliefs such as civilization, the horse for travel, belief in the male role, male Gods and unfortunately, war. Whereas religions and faiths were built around the area in which you lived, thus in Greek you worshipped those Deities, Egypt you remained with the Deities of the country such as Bast, Anubis, Nut and so forth, the ability of travel brought with it new ideas along with other cultures and Deities.
The worship of the Great Mother Goddess became combined with the ritual and worship of Male Gods and a variety of religions including Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Celt. Today many Goddesses are honoured from all cultures, religions and countries. You will find that many Goddesses also have various roles within their system.
Coatlicue - Mother of all Gods who gave birth to the Moon and Stars. Creatrix, Goddess of death and planting rites. Creator Goddess who decides on when one’s life will end.
Tlazolteotl - Goddess of purification midwives, doctors, childbirth, astral travel, witchcraft, associated with the moon, sexuality and filth, sin and sexual misdeeds. A Patroness of adulterers! Her name means old, vices, disease, dirty or wornout.
Xochiquetzal - Goddess of the flowering earth, vegetation and flowers, omens, love, pleasure, beauty, marriage and sex. Protector of young mothers. Patroness of pregnancy, childbirth, prostitutes and artisans.
Arianrhod - Mother, Star and Moon Goddess. Her name means silver wheel. As she shape shifts into an owl she sees all, her energies are wisdom, death and rebirth, karma, initiations, strength and healing.
Artio - Bear Goddess of fertility, nature and of course Bears, Earth Mother and Creator.
Blodeuwedd – Welsh. Flower Goddess of reincarnation, initiations, lunar magick, wisdom and betrayal. The White Goddess of death and life.
Branwen - One of the Triple Goddesses of Avalon along with Cerridwen (Crone) and Arianhrod. (Mother) Branwen translates as white raven and she is the Maiden aspect. Her energies include helping women that have been or are in violent relationships by assisting in releasing them and offering strength, courage and new beginnings. Inspiration and springtime are also her domains.
Brigit/Bride – Celtic. Energies - Triple Fire Goddess of healing, smithcraft, the forge, passion in the arts, divination, fertility, home and hearth, inspiration, children and animals.
Cailleach - Goddess of Winter. In Ireland she is known as Callileach, the divine hag or a Crone Goddess and in Scotland, Beira, Queen of the Winter. She is a seasonal deity that governs the winter months from Samhain until Beltane. Mountains and hills are formed by her and as her staff freezes the ground when it makes contact. Her energies include divination, prophecies, wisdom, life and death, balance and cycles.
Cerridwen – Welsh. Goddess of inspiration, life, death, shapeshifting and wisdom. A Goddess of death, the harvest and who is in charge of a rather large magickal cauldron that contains therein the wisdom of the world on all levels and realms.
Danu – Irish/Celtic. Mother and Fertility Goddess. Danu is considered to be an ancestor of all the Gods, Mother Goddess of the Tuatha dé Danann. Goddess of cattle, health and the lands.
Morrigan – Irish. A Death Goddess, Triple in herself. And a trio of Goddesses of battle, death, war and destruction. The three sister Goddesses are Badb, Macha and Nemain. Badb is the Goddess of death, destruction, war and madness, one of the ‘Morrigan.’ She governs the cauldron of life, death and rebirth and would take on the form of a crow also giving her the name of Badb Catha (Battle Crow.) Macha, Goddess of war, horses and sovereignty, one of the Morrigan. Nemain, The Spirit Woman Goddess who symbolizes the frenzies of war.
Rhiannon - Welsh. Dream, Otherworld and Death Goddess, Divine Queen and sovereign Goddess of horses, change, strength, beauty, movement, communication, fertility and she helps to escort people to and from the Otherworld.
Shelia-na-gig - Goddess of birth and death, protection, fertility, femininity and woman’s sexuality.
Bast - Goddess of cats, the power of the Sun, cat magick, fertility, childbirth, joy, play, music, dance and love. Sometimes seen as a Mother Goddess.
Hathor - Protector of women and motherhood. Patroness of Miners. Goddess of the Underworld, motherhood, love, joy and of cows. Hathor was worshiped by both Royalty and the common people alike in whose tombs she is depicted as ‘Mistress of the West’ welcoming the dead into the next life. Hathor is also the punisher of humans.
Isis - Supreme Goddess, Queen of the Heavens and Mother Goddess and magician. Life, marriage, arts, fertility, reincarnation, motherhood resurrection, (Isis resurrected her husband and the vegetation God, Osiris) magic, healing, rainbows and childbirth.
Maat - Goddess of justice, law, truth, creation and all-seeing. She governs the stars and seasons and helps keep order of both humans and Deity.
Mut - Mother of the Sun and Sky Goddess, Vulture Goddess of death and rebirth. Protector of Upper Egypt.
Nephthys - Underworld Goddess, life, death and rebirth, of mourning and protection. At funerals she would stand at the head of the coffin to escort the deceased into the Underworld. Sister of Isis.
Sekhmet - Lion-headed Sun and Warrior Goddess, protector of good, destroyer of evil, protector of Pharaohs. Also known as the Powerful One, Lady of Pestilence and Goddess of Vengeance. May be seen as a Mother Goddess also.
Aphrodite - Goddess of love and beauty, birth, life, death, fate, mysteries, grace, creativity. She shows us how to look within and to love and find beauty in ourselves. She also governs pleasure and procreation.
Athena - Death Goddess, freedom, arts, women’s rights, science and crafts. The virgin Patroness of Athens and also a Goddess of war, hunting, wisdom, courage, inspiration, law and strategies.
Artemis - Patroness of wild animals and birds, huntress, shapeshifter, protector of wild places, childbirth, singing, dancing, sisterhood.
Demeter - Goddess of the harvest, agriculture, spirituality and motherhood. Daughter of Cronus and Rhea, Mother of Persephone. Like the story of Ceres and Proserpine, Demeter is saddened by her daughters decent into the Underworld where she marries Hades. However on Persephone’s return to the earth each half of the year, Demeter once again brings renewal to the lands in spring as she sheds tears of happiness and joy that she is reunited with her beloved daughter.
Eos - A Titaness and Goddess of dawn and sunrise, fertility, beauty, passion and renewed energy. Her brother is Helios, God of the Sun and her sister, Selene, Goddess of the Moon.
Gaia/Gaea - Earth and nurturing Mother Goddess, prophecy, motherhood, childbirth and nature. She is where our physical bodies rest when we pass from this life.
Hecate - Goddess of the night, witchcraft, ghosts, wisdom, reincarnation, sacrifice and sorcery. Crone Goddess, one of the original Titans who helped Demeter find Persephone. Hecate rules over life and death including childbirth.
Hera - Wife of Zeus, Queen of Heaven, seasons of the year and Patroness of childbirth, marriage, fidelity, proposals and widows. Goddess of fertility, menstruation and punisher of adulterers!
Hestia - Virgin Goddess of the hearth and home, keeper of the flame, purity, architecture, family and domestic life. She represents the eternal flame and cooking. With the modern day world Hestia presides over the stove and wood-burners.
Persephone - Spring and Underworld Goddess, daughter of Demeter and wife of Hades. She comforts and guide spirits of the dead. In each year, Persephone lives in the Underworld for six months then returns to the earth plane for six months when she is the bringer of spring and regeneration.
Selene - Goddess of the Moon. Daughter of the Titans, Hyperion and Theia, sister of the Sun God, Helios and Eos Goddess of the dawn. Selene is said to drive a team of oxen and her lunar crescent is that of a bulls horns. She fell in love with the mortal shepherd prince Endymion.
Freya - Leader of the Valkyries. Sage and shapeshifter, Goddess of spring, love, beauty, protection, passion, fertility, strength, courage and battle. Sometimes seen as a Mother Goddess.
Frigg – Goddess of marriage and motherhood. Wife of Odin.
Geftun – Goddess of fertility and the plough.
Hel/Holda – Daughter of Loki, Hel is the Giantess Goddess and Queen of the Helheim, the Norse Underworld. She also governs magick and wild hunts.
Idunn – Goddess of Spring, youth and the consort of Bragi.
Jord – Goddess of the Earth and mother of Thor by Odin.
Lofn – Goddess of forbidden loves and one who arranges marriages. She survived Ragnarok, the battle at the end of the world to determine the fate of the Gods.
Nanna – the Goddess of peace and joy and also the Goddess of the Moon. Nanna dies of a broken heart after her husband Baldur is killed through Loki’s treachery.
Nott – Goddess of night. She is called ‘night’ by mankind, ‘drakness’ by the Gods, ‘unlight’ by jotnar and ‘joy-of-sleep’ by the elves.
Sif – Wife of Thor and Goddess of the harvest.
Skadi - Skadi rules the cold North with its land of ice and snow. Also known as the Dark Mother, Dark Goddess or Viking Goddess of winter. It is said that sacrifices of male blood were made to her each year as a symbolic gesture to bring forth the Spring and renewed growth within the land. Skadi is a huntress/warrior Goddess and also known as a Crone Goddess. She was wife of Njord, the Sea God.
Vor – Goddess of wisdom.
Artemis - A Triple Goddess. Nourisher of all, huntress, Goddess of the hunt and moon, also known as Queen and Mother of the Witches. Goddess of childbirth and wild animals.
Ceres - Goddess of agriculture, justice, lands, the yoking of oxen and the plough. She was the daughter of Saturn and Ops, the sister of Jupiter, and the mother of Proserpine. When Proserpine emerges from the Underworld, Ceres is so over joyed that she brings about the spring season.
Cybele - Earth Goddess, celebrations, also a Crone Goddess. Goddess of fertility, motherhood, protector and wild nature also known as the Mountain Mother.
Epona – Gallo/Roman. Horse, Fertility, childbirth and Mother Goddess. Also known as the Goddess of sovereignty and a protector of horses, donkeys and mules.
Juno - Daughter of Saturn and sister/wife of Jupiter. Mother of Mars and Vulcan. Juno looked after the women of Rome along with other attributes of marriage, military, fertility, sex, protector of deliveries and birth. Justice to the souls of humans, marriage, family. Also seen as a Sovereign Goddess and Goddess of time.
Minerva - Goddess of women’s rights and freedom, patroness of craftsmen, protection, wisdom and medicine.
Venus - Goddess of love and beauty, herbal magick, blessings, sex, beauty, fertility and prosperity. She teaches women how to become more feminine and to reach that female side that lies within us all. Mother of the Roman people.
Vesta - Goddess of the Hearth and Home also known as the Greek Goddess, Hestia. Although she governs over all cycles, it is certainly a great time to invoke her into our lives during the cold season for she carries the living flame of the hearth.
Kali - Triple Goddess, death, karma, revenge, life, defender of women and children, creation. Seen wearing a girdle of severed hands and a garland of human heads.
THE CHARGE OF THE GODDESS
Charles G Leland in 1899 first published Aradia: Gospel of the Witches which included the Charge of the Goddess, a much recited piece of Wicca today. Doreen Valiente, Gerald Gardner´s High Priestess for a time wrote various poems, including a rewritten version of the Charge of the Goddess.
‘Listen to the words of the Great Mother; she who of old was also called among men Artemis, Astarte, Athene, Dione, Melusine, Aprodite, Cerridwen, Dana, Arianrhod, Isis, Bride, and by many other names.
Whenever ye have need of any thing, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place, and adore the spirit of me, who am Queen of all witches.There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will I teach things that are as yet unknown.
And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be really free,ye shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise. For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit, and mine also is joy on earth;for my law is love unto all beings. Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it, let naught stop you or turn you aside. For mine is the secret door which opens upon the Land of Youth, and mine is the cup of wine of life, and the Cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of immortality.
I am the gracious Goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man. Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, I give peace, and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before. Nor do I demand sacrifice; for behold, I am the Mother of all living, and my love is poured out upon the earth. Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess; she in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven, whose body encircles the universe.
I who am the beauty of the green earth, and the white Moon among the stars, and the mysteries of the waters, and the desire of the heart of man, call unto thy soul. Arise, and come unto me.
For I am the soul of nature, who gives life to the universe. From me all things proceed, and unto me all things must return; and before my face, beloved of Gods and of men, let thine innermost divine self be enfolded in the rapture of the infinite.
Let My worship be within the heart that rejoiceth; for behold,all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not unless thou knowest the Mystery;that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee. For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning;and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.’