Klates is moon goddess venerated by Ugric People of western Siberia. A shape-shifter, she is shown here manifested as a hare, an animal sacred to her. This appearance shows her lunar nature, for the hare is a lunar creature; many cultures, when looking at the moon, see the outline of the hare, who lives in the moon. The hare is often seen as an intermediary between lunar deities and humans, so the appearance of Klates in this form indicates her accessibility to her people. Klates is known as a fertility goddess and a goddess of rejuvenation. She is called upon by women in childbirth, for she is especially venerated as a promoter of the beginning of the life cycle. Although she is somewhat feared because she can determine people’s destinies, she is mostly revered for her gentle wisdom, She is a compassionate guide to the mysteries of life.
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Diana is the ancient Lady of the Beats, called by the Romans Lucina, Goddess of Light. As mistress of wild things she is especially responsible for anything young and vulnerable, be wild or human. She is goddess of solitude, comfortable with the wilderness and with the grate silences of nature. She represents the mystic, primitive identity of the hunter and the hunted. Diana, is a moon goddess, symbolizing the moon at its crescent phase. She stands for the virgin, a self-sufficient, free goddess who lives life on her own terms. Especially a goddess of women, she is related to all phases of female existence, from infancy to menstruation through birth nursing, menopause, and death. Diana stands for the part of us that is at home in the wildness, at home with our primitive, instinctual nature.
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Changing Woman is perhaps the most revered of deities among Native Americans of the Southwestern United States. She is wholly benevolent figure, For it is Changing Woman who gives people their abundance and who provides the teachings that allow them to live in harmony with all things. In the initiation ceremony of Navajo women, the initiate takes in the power of Changing Woman so she might learn the values of love, hospitality, and generosity and know she herself is a source of food and harmony. Changing Woman received her name because she can change at will from baby to a girl to a young woman to an old woman and then back again. Very much alive today, she is tremendously nourishing goddess who teaches wisdom of nature and the cycles of birth and death.
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The word eve means life; the goddess Eve is the mother and nurturer of all life. She is the creator of the world and of all living beings, Lady of Beasts and steward of all growing things. Even in the Bible she is portrayed with a snake, a potent symbol of the vital life force found in every living being, representing rebirth and regeneration. In one of the Gnostic texts it is Eve who calls Adam to life. Eve is the embodiment of primal female creative energy, of the powerful urge to create and sustain life. She is active femininity and relatedness to all that lives. She is life itself.
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Arianrhod is a patriarchal Welsh goddess, both virgin and mother. Games for her beauty, she maybe identical to the Cretan moon goddess, Ariadne. Like all moon goddesses, she has a special love, concern, and responsibility for all life, especially green growing things of the earth. One derivation of her name is “high fruitful mother who turns the wheels of heavens”; the other is “silver wheel.” Her name tells us of her role as keeper of the heavens and of the cycles and changes of time. She lives in a castle in the Corona Boreails, where she watches over souls in purgatory filled with beings waiting rebirth.
Arainrhod, keep of time, giver of nurturer of life, shows us the universality and cyclicity of our lives: she is there to nurture us through the dark night of our soul changes.
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As in many traditions in which a goddess bestows kingship, a mysterious Celtic goddess, gave King Arthur the sword Excalibur and thus established his power and his right to be king. Before he died, Arthur restored the sword her, and it now remains with her beneath the waters deep.
Water, the source of all life, has long been the domain of the goddess. Lakes representing the source of creative power and the land of the dead, life-giving and death or renewal being the two main functions of the goddess. Water indicates both consciousness and revelation. The Lady of the Lake is a guide to the mysterious realms of emotion and renewal, a source of immense creativity. She can give us the energy we need to rule our lives.
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The Roman goddess Fortuna was the same as the earlier Italian goddess who presided over the death’s abundance and controlled the destiny of all human beings. Her name, derived from Vortumna, “she who turns the year about,” came to symbolize the capriciousness of life and luck, the vagaries of fate as the wheel of life turns around. Her festival was celebrated in October.
Fortuna gives us a way to approach the ups and downs of life, a perspective that can offer us some equanimity as we proceed on our journey.
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Etain, whose name literally means “shinning one”n was a Celtic moon goddess, the second wife of Midir, king of the underworld. Midir’s first wife, Fuanmach, was jealous of Etain, and turned her into a fly. Falling into a glass of wine, Etain drown. She was reborn and married Eochaid, a fertility god. Midir challenged Eochaid to a game of chess; the result was that Etain must spend half her year underground and half on earth.
Etain is especially a symbol of fertility, of the vitality and life of all growing things. A goddess familiar with both life and death, she teaches that wherever we are, on earth or in the depths of the underworld, we too can be shining.
(SIDE NOTE: Does this Celtic goddess remind you of a Greek goddess who spends part of the year in the underworld and part on earth? If it does please put the goddess’ name in the comment section.)
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Hel is the Norse queen of the underworld, a mother goddess in her underworld guise. She rules over a firey womb of regeneration and is especially responsible for those who die of disease or old age. Her underworld, unlike the Christian hell, which received its name from her, is simply an otherworld, a place of renewal rather than a place of punishment and misery. When northern shamans visit her realm, they put on a helkappe, magic mask (sometimes a helmet) that renders them invisible. It is possible that the masked harlequin, a standard character in commedia dell’arte, was originally one of the kindred of the goddess Hel. Hel is an embodiment of the divine mystery, a challenge to look behind the mask of appearances to see things as they really are.
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Hathor, a nourishing great mother goddess, is the Egyptian mother of all gods and goddesses. Usually portrayed as a cow, she is the sky goddess, the queen of the heavens: the sun emerges from her womb and the moon from her breast. She is the goddess of love, mirth, beauty, and sensual pleasure, as well as the protectress of all women. In her other guise, shown here, she is lady of the night and queen of the underworld. With her lion’s head, Hathor assumes the role of destroyer and giver of death. In her leopard skin she is the goddess of fate and fortune and typifies the ferocity and swiftness of this animal, a night prowler and watcher. Hathor is a strong embodiment of the many sides of existence. Creator, sustainer, destroyer, she encompasses all. Hathor reminds us that we, too, must acknowledge all parts of ourselves necessary to allow our creativity and compassion to flourish.
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