In Ancient Egypt Isis was among the oldest of the goddesses, the mother and giver of all life. A moon goddess, she gives birth to the sun, creates and sustains all life, and is the savior of all people. The teacher of agriculture, she is also the goddess of medicine and wisdom.
Osiris was her brother and husband. When Osiris was murdered by his brother Set, Isis searched for and found him, revived him, and conceived their son Horus. When Set again too Osiris and scattered his body in fourteen pieces, Isis hunted down each part, except for his reproductive organs, which she was unable to locate, in order to give each piece a proper burial.
Isis, the universal goddess, representing total femininity. She can overcome death itself, yet she is not above grief: one of her tears, wept when Osiris was dying, caused the Nile River to flood. She underscores the depths of emotions that even a goddess must feel.
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Demeter is an ancient Greek Great Mother goddess, a goddess of life and death. The Greeks emphasized her role as goddess of cultivated earth, the giver of fruitfulness and abundance and provider of the gift of agriculture. She and her daughter, Persephone, called by the Greeks “the Goddesses,” together represent the continuous cycles of life and death, the two phases of the vegetative power of the earth. Demeter is remembered primarily for her great love for her daughter — when Persephone was abducted by Hades, Demeter’s grief caused the whole earth to go barren. Here we see Demeter ready to give birth, to produce life.
Demeter offers a blessing of fruitfulness and possibility, of coming joy, of abundant life, and of hope.
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Hera is an ancient goddess who, before she appeared as wife to Zeus in Greek mythology, was powerful, matrilineal queen in her own right. Hera is the original, all-powerful, multifunctional goddess responsible for every aspect of existence, a symbol of the complete woman. Among the Greeks, Hera was the goddess of marriage, a special goddess of women who accompanies each woman through every moment of her life. Her various titles point to her roles as bringer of fertility; goddess of marriage; protector of children; of women during childbirth, and of money; and presider over all aspects of public life. She was often represented with a peacock, symbolic of beauty, luxury, and immortality. The spots on its feathers reflect the starry firmament, and the peacock has knowledge of the weather, reflecting the ancient role of the goddess as bringer of the seasons. Hera is a mature, powerful goddess, combining both practicality and nurturing, a strong image of the supremacy of the queen within.
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Ishtar is the multilayered Babylonian creator goddess, the source of all life and embodiment of the power of nature. She is the giver of plenty, the lawgiver, a judge, the goddess of tie as well as the goddess of both love and war. Her name means “giver of light” and derives from her role as queen of heaven. She is the planet Venus as both the morning and evening star, and her girdle is the zodiacal belt. Ishtar descends to the underworld and restores the vegetation god, Tammuz, to life and thus restores fertility to earth. As she descends she removes a veil at each gate. While she is underground life on earth is depressed and nothing comes to life. Ishtar is multifaceted, powerful symbol of a forthright mode of being that is unafraid to venture into the depths of the underworld. She represents the creative feminine, active and strong.
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Rhiannon is the Great Goddess as worshiped by the Welsh. without regeneration. She is an embodiment of life, death, and rebirth, for in her realm there is no death without regeneration. Her name derives from Rigantona, which means great “queen.” A shape-shiftier, can assume any form she want; she often appears as a white horse. She is a muse goddess and is accompanied by three sweetly singing birds who can revive the dead or put the living to sleep.The source of the King’s power derived from Rhiannon, the queen, and a candidate for knighthood met Rhiannon dressed as a stag a regal figure symbolic of rejuvenation, beauty, strength, and instinctual masculine energy. In alter myth she a or as Vivien, the Lady of the Lake. Rhiannon is a beautiful queen of the night, a reminder of the close balance between death and rebirth. She demands that we honor our instinctual and animal selves as a source of creativity, abundance, and order.
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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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