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Gods and Goddesses

Belgarions Blends Gods and Goddesses Page

Welcome to the Gods and Goddesses page. Here you will find Gods and Goddesses from the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Celtic (Norse, Welsh, English and Germanic) Pantheons. Included are links to my Ritual page for Calls and Dedications associated with the Goddess or God. There are also graphics that I have found for some of the entries that best represent the God or Goddess. Again, please read About the Artwork guidelines if you wish to use any of the images here.

As my research continues I will update each entry as soon as possible. I will also be including Native North and South American, African, and yes, (collective gasp please) even Christian pantheons as my research progresses on this.

If you do not find a specific pantheon, Goddess or God here that interests you please contact me at my e-mail address and I will see what I can find for you.

My goal for this page is to eventually be all inclusive of all the various religious pantheons around the world without prejudice to the religion. As my research and time allows I will keep you informed.

The Greeks

Achelous Achilles Aphrodite Apollo Ares Artemis Athena Hecate Hephaestus Hera Poseidon Prometheus Zeus

The Romans

Aradia Aurora/Eos Diana Psyche

The Celts

Arianrhod Brid Cerridwen Morrigan Rhiannon

The Egyptians

Bast Isis

Various Other Gods and Goddesses



The God of a river in northwestern Greece. He was the son of Oceanus and Tethys. Achelous wrestled with Heracles for the hand of Deianira, but in spite of his power to change shape he was defeated. He turned into a bull, but Heracles broke off one of his horns. To recover this, Achelous gave Heracles a horn from the goat Amalthea, which had suckled Zeus.

Achelous was the father of several nymphs: Callirrhoe, who married Alcmaeon; Castalia, one of the famous spring at Delphi; and the Sirens.(1)


The chief Greek hero in the Illiad, in which his anger with Agamemnon, and his duel with Hector are dominate themes.

He was the only son of the mortal Peleus, king of Phthia in Thessaly, and of the sea-nymph Thetis, daughter of Nereus. Both Zeus and Poseidon wished to have a child by the beautiful Thetis, but Themis or Prometheus warned them that her son would be greater than his father. Not wishing to run the risk of begetting a power superior to themselves, the gods arranged the marriage of Thetis with a mortal king, Peleus, and in order to recompense her they celebrated the wedding with a spectacular pomp. The seeds of conflict leading up to the Trojan War were sown at the wedding. Eris (Strife), who had been deliberately not been invited so as to avoid the chance of conflict between couple, nevertheless arrived at the proceedings and cast down before theassembly the golden apple, inscribed,"for the fairest'. which was to set Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite at loggerheads.

Thetis was exceedingly attached to her son, and in the Iliad she seems to be the only woman for whom he feels a really close tie. In his earliest childhood she attempted to endow him with immortality by anointing him with ambrosia by day and burying him in the embers of the fire at night. Peleus, however, discovered her putting the baby in the fire and was terrified. Thetis was so angry at his interference and mistrust that she abandoned both her husband and her child and returned to the sea.

Homer does not seem to be acquainted with the well-known story of Achilles' invulnerability. According to this tale, Thetis dipped her newborn baby in the river Hades, the Styx, but since she had to hold him by the heel, this one spot was left unprotected. It was because of this that Paris was able to kill Achilles with an arrow.

After his mother deserted him, Achilles was placed in the care of the wise Centaur Chiron, who had educated the Argonauts. Chiron taught him to practice running, and he became the swiftest of living men; Homer's favourite epithet for him is podarkes-'swift of foot'. Chiron also taught him the skills of warfare and fed him on the entrails of wild beasts to give him the quality of fierce courage. He also instructed him in music and medicine. Later on Achilles returned to Phthia and became the intimate friend of Patroclus, a rather older youth, who had taken refuge at Peleus' court. Patroclus became Achilles squire and lover. At the same time, Achilles recieved training in government and diplomacy from another refugee at Phthia, Pheonix, whom Peleus made king of the Dolopes.

It was also said that Achilles was sent by Thetis to the court of Lycomedes on the island of Scyros since she knew of his tragic destiny. The doom which Thetis foretold was that Achilles would either die in inglorious old age or else-and much more probably-would join the expedition to Troy, from which he would never return. Lycomedes disguised Achilles as a girl, called him Pyrrha, and hid him in the women's quarters in his palace, because Calchas had prophesied that Troy could never be taken unless Achilles joined the expedition. While this duplicity was being maintained, Achilles took advantage of his female company by seducing the king's daughter Deidamia, who bore him Neoptolemus (sometimes called Pyrrhus).

After a while the Greeks, who needed Archilles' presence to make a success of the expedition, sent Odysseus to Scyros to find him. This clever schemer was able to penetrate Achilles' disguise by a trick. He placed weapons among some jewellery in the porch Lycomedes' house. While the women of the royal household were admiring the jewellry, a trumpet was sounded as if to signal danger. Achilles immediately seized the weapons and gave himself away. Then, perhaps through shame at having been a party to this deception, he ignored his mother and quite freely sailed away to Troy with the expedition. He owed Agamemnon no loyalty, and had not, like others, taken an oath to defend Helen's husband Menelaus, but went out as if to face a personal challenge to his valour. At Aulis, where the fleet was weather bound, Agamemnon had to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia in order to placate Artemis, and used Archilles as a lure to attract her to the spot, offering her the bait of marriage with the young prince. According to Euripides' Iphigenia in Aulis, Achilles did not know what was afoot, and tried to rescue the girl; but when she realised the purpose of her sacrifice, she reconciled herself to death. Thus the Greeks were able to sail on.

They missed their way, however, and landed by mistake in Mysia, far to the south of Troy, where the king of Teuthrania, Telephus, a son of Heracles, drove them back to their ships, with the exception of Achilles, who turned the tables and inflicted a grave wound in Telephus' thigh with his spear. The Greeks left Mysia, realizing that they were far from Troy, and returned to Argos. Here, dressed in rags, came Telephus, who had learnt from an oracle that only the inflicter of his wound vould cure him. Odysseus reminded Achilles that his spear was responsible for the wound, and Achilles cured it by applying rust from the spear. Telephus repayed this favor by guiding the Greeks to Troy.

On arriving off Troy, the Greeks first landed on Tenedos, where Achilles disobeyed the warning of Thetis, perhaps intentionally, by slaying Tenes, king of the island and son of Appolo. Achilles had been told that the archer-god Apollo would take vengance on him for the murder, and in fact he was subsequently brought low by an arrow from Paris' bow, guided by Apollo. Thetis also warned him not to be the first to land in Troy, this time he obeyed.

Achilles first adversary was Cycnus, a son of Poseidon, who was said to be invulnerable to weapons. Achilles strangled him with Cycnus' own helmetstrap. He also ambushed and killed Troilus.

As Troy proved impossible to take by siege or assault, Achilles led the Greek forces against many of the neighboring towns, and sacked twelve of these on the coast and eleven inland. The most important of the latter were Lyrnessusv and Thebes-under-Placus, Eetion, father of Andromache, was king of Thebe; Achilles killed him and his seven sons and ransomed the queen. At Lyrnessus he met Aeneas for the first time, and put him to flight; he also killed Mynes and Epistrophus, sons of King Evenus. It was here, too, that he captured the beautiful Briseis, whom he made his concubine and claimed to love more than any other woman. It was largely on account of her that the events described in the Iliad were said to have taken place.

Agamemnon had taken for his concubine Chryseis, the daughter of Apollo's prophet Chryses. He was furious at being compelled to give her back to her father to avoid Apollo's wrathful punishment, and peevishly removed Briseis from Achilles, who had urged him to restore the girl, to compensate himself for his loss. Achilles then withdrew from the war and entreated his mother to punish Agamemnon by using her influence with Zeus to presuade him to swing the tide of war against the Greeks. The plan worked beautifully for Achilles; but he later put himself in the wrong by refuysing compensationconsisting of an apology from Agamemnon, marriage with any of Agamemnon's three daughters, and the restoration of his concubine. From this moment Achilles' plan went astray, for his close friend and squire Patroclus, pitying the Greeks who were fighting for theirlives to defend their beached ships, persuaded Achilles to lend him his armour and let him lead the Myrmidons (the people of Phthia, Peleus' country) into battle. Achilles warned Patroclus to do no more than defend the ships, but he went too far, after great success was killed by Hector, who stripped Achilles' armour from his body.

On learning the news Achilles was overwhelmed by anger and remorse. Thetis and the Nereids came to mourn with him and Achilles told her that he longed for death. He swore to kill Hector, and Thetis realized that he had indeed not long to live as he was doomed to die very soon after Hector.He stood by the wall and thrice shouted the war-cry, at which the Trojans retreated in confusion. Then he reconciled with Agememnon and attacked the Trojans furiously, clad in new armour made for him at Thetis' request by the God of Fire, Hephaestus. He killed countless Trojans and embroiled himself with the God of the River Scamander, who, being a protector of the place and naturally hostile to the invader, was enraged at the number of Trojan dead that Achilles had flung into his stream. Hephaestus saved Achilles by drying up the river.

When the Trojans were finally penned within their walls, Hector alone remained to confront him. Achilles pursued him three times around the city, then Hector turned and faced him, with a plea that if he was killed, his body might be spared and returned th his father, King Priam. Achilles refused to give him any such undertaking and slew him. He then defiled Hector's body and dragged it around Patroclus' tomb on twelve consecutive days, leaving it htere as a consolation for his friend's ghost and refusing to return it to Priam. At last Thetis persuaded Achilles to relent, and after the funeral games of Patroclus, at which Achilles performd human sacrifice, Priam retrieved the corpse.

After the events described in the Iliad, Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons, came to reinforce the Trojans. Achilles killed her but fell in love with her dead body. When Thersites mocked him for so doing, Achilles killed him too. For this sin, Achilles was obliged to make sacrifice to Leto, and her children, Apollo and Artemis, and then had to be purified by Odysseus. A second ally of Troy whom Achilles slew was the Ethiopian Memnon. Immediately after this an arrow from Paris' bow, guided by Apollo, gave Achilles a mortal wound. His body was rescued by Aias (Ajax), son of Telemon, and he was mourned for seventeen days. When Thetis and the Nereids came and sang a dirge, the whole army fled to the ships in terror. The Muses joined in the lamentation. On the eighteenth day he was cremated, his ashes laid in a golden urn made by Hephaestus, and a tomb near the sea covered his bones, mingled with those of Patroclus. According to later tradition, the shades of Achilles and Patroclus went to live in Leuce (White Island), a place of felicity for the greatest heroes.

There was a contest as to who should be awarded Achilles armour; Aias claimed it, but when it was granted to Odysseus by the other Greeks, Aias killed himself.Odysseus gave the arnmour to Neoptolemusto induce him to join the war, as Helenux, a Trojan prophet, predicted that his presence was necessary for a Greek victory.

The ghost of Achilles rose from the tomb and demanded the slaughter of Priam's daughter Polyxena before the Greeks would be allowed to depart home. This is a theme of Euripides' play Hecuba.

Achilles' character in mythology is powerful, arrogant and cruel. He is resentful of his fate and given to violent outbursts of temper. He is a symbol of youth and strength, doomed to an early but glorious death. He was the hero whom Alexander the Great most admired.(2)

Aphrodite: Goddess of Love

Aphrodite (Latin: Venus; Etruscan: Turan), arose from the foam of the sea or, in another version, was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. The Goddess of erotic love, beauty, fertility, marriage, the sea and vegetation. Was married to Hephaestus, but the lover of several figures. With Ares, she gave birth to Harmonia, Deimos and Phobos,

By Hermes, she bore Hermaphroditus. By Dionysos, she bore Priapus and Hymen the God of marriage. By Anchises she bore Aeneas. She bested in the judgement of Paris.

Attributes: Dressed or naked, often accompanied by Eros, the Three Graces, doves, a swan or goose, or portrayed in her toilet with a mirror.

One of the most popular myths about Aphrodite is the one concerning the cause of the Trojan War. there was a wedding between King Peleus and the sea numph, Thetis, and Eris was the only Goddess not invited. spitefully she tossed down a golden apple into the banquet hall. upon the apple was written these words: For the Fairest.

Three Goddesses claimed the apple, each stating that she was the fairest; Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Since Zeus refused to choose one, the three Goddesses asked Paris, prince of Troy, to make the decision. Each of the three Goddesses promised Paris something if he would choose her. Hera told him that he would be a powerful ruler if he choose her. Athena offered him great military fame. Finally Aphrodite offered Paris the fairest woman in the world. After proclaiming Aphrodite the winner, he chose Helen of Troy as his prize. This presented a problem since Helen was already married to the Greek king Menelaus. the result; the Trojan War.(3)

Apollo: God of Prophecy and Divination, the Arts and Medicine

One of the greatest gods of both the Greeks and Romans: the principal god of prophesy amd divination, and of the arts and especially music (for the Muses were directly subordinatee to him), and of archery. He was a bringer of plagues, which he could also dispel; for he was a patron of medicine. He also protected herdsmen, although also associated with their principal enemy, the wolf. His origin was probably not Greek; he came to Greece from the north or east. He was also a sun god (Phoebus 'bright'), though this identification may not have been made until the fifth century B. C. and only became common much later. (Alternatively his name Phoebus was attributed to his receipt of the Delphic Oracle from the Titaness Phoebe).

Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto, and Artemis was his twin sister. Leto, a Titaness, was pregnant by Zeus, wandering over the face of the earth seeking a place to give birth to her children in peace, but all places refused to take her in for fear of the wrath of Hera or becasue they shunned the honour of being the birthplace of two such great gods. Only Delos would receive her because it was not truely land at all but a floating island. Apollo grew up very quickly, being fed on nectar and ambrosia by the goddess Themis. After a few days he was fully grown and left elos to find a suitable site for the oracular shrine he meant to found. He travelled through central Greece and came to a cleft in the ground which was guarded by Python, a huge female serpent with oracular powers, on behalf of her mistress Gaia, the Earth, or the Titaness Phoebe. (The name Python was also attributed to a serpent which had been sent by Hera to prevent the pregnant Leto from giving birth). Apollo killed Python and named his priestess Pythia after her.

Before reaching Delphi, Apllo had met the nymph Telphusa at Haliartus, and asked her if he might found his oracle at her oracular spring. But she excused herself, pointing out how much greater the oracle at Delphi was: in fact she had sent him directly into Python's lair. For this reason Apollo returned to her spring and hid it under enourmous rocks so that in the future it was a much less prominent oracle than his own.

After killing Python, Apollo had to do penance for his act, for she had been a daughter of Gaia and a great prophetess. He was exiled to the Vale of Tempe for a long priod of time, and the Delphians sent him envoys every eighth year. The word delphys means 'womb', and the sacred college insisted that Delphi was the womb or center of the earth. It was the most important oracle of the Greek world, and was consulted by many foreigners. Games were instituted there, called Pythian in honour of Python and Apollo. They consisted of musical contests, to which athletic competitions were added later. The priests of Apollo claimed descent from a ship-load of Cretans whom Apollo, in the form of a dolphin, had seized and diverted to Delphi.

Apollo and Artemis slew the giant Tityus for trying to rape Leto before they were born, and sent him to Tartarus where he suffered everlasting punishment. They also avenged their mother on Niobe, who had boasted that she was more fertile than Leto, by killing all or most of her children. They were both archers, and were also the deities who presided over death from natural causes or disease; thus Homer writes that Apollo slays men, and Artemis slays women, with the 'gentle arrows' of death.

Apollo twice served mortal men as a slave. His first master was Admetus, the king of Pherae in Thessaly, whom he helped by giving all his cows twins and by guaranteeing him against death. This slavery was a punishment inflicted by Zeus because his sons the Cyclopes, who had made his thunderbolts in their caverns on Mount Aetna, had been slain by Apollo since Apollo's son Asclepius had been blasted by Zeus' thunderbolts for bringing Hippolytus back to life. At first Zeus, in his rage, had nearly thrown Apollo into Tartarus, but he finally relented and only imposed a year's servitude upon him. Apollo's second act of service to a mortal took place when Poseidon and he agreed to build the walls of Troy for Laomedon for a fee (in another version, Apollo pastured cattle and Poseidon built the wallls alone); but laomedon broke the agreement and the gods punished him, Apollo sent a plague on his city.

Aradia: Daughter of Diana, Queen of the Witches

Aradia: A champion Itaalian Goddess sworn to protect her people against the masculine faith and its persecutors during the reign of medieval terror. The original Aradia was a female Christ figure in Italy who taught around 1353. She was imprisoned more than once, escaped several times and eventually disappeared.

The second Aradia you hear about is Leland's Aradia, a book detailing information from an Italian Gypsy Witch.

The third Aradia is the daughter of Diana and Lucifer (God of Sun). She is considered the Queen of the Witches. Goddess Diana used magick to charm Lucifer. He was a bit afraid of her, most likely because Diana was a Moon Goddess and very dark next to his light. Of this union, Aradia was born.

Diana liked using magick, and decided to go to Earth and do this. She disguised herself as a mortal woman and went to Earth. On Earth, Diana found that times were hard and the people oppressed. she decided toteach people magick, so they were more easily able to care for themselves and to protect themselves from their opperssors. Diana became a Witch, and she taught many people her craft. After a long while, Diana had no choice but to reveal herself as a Goddess. After doing this, Diana realized she must return to the heavens, and so she dd. she knew that there were more teaching to be done with the mortals, so she decided to send her daughter Aradia to Earth. Aradia was to take over where her mother left off Aradia was sent to Earth with instructions from Diana to be carried out. Aradia was instructed to teach the mortals aggressive magick, in order to help themselves from their horrific oppression. Aradia taught them well, as she was a strong and powerful Goddess.(4)

Ares: The God of War

The Greek god of war, later equated with the important Roman god Mars.

He was the only son of Zeus and his regular consort Hera, and although the Iliad ridicules him as a violent braggat soldier, he ranks as one of the twelve great Olympian gods. Ares had no wife, though he engaged in frequent liaisoons, especially with Aphrodite, the wife of Hepaestus, who bore him Harmonia and the twins Phobos (panic) and Deimos (fear) who accompanied their father on the battlefield. The love affair between Ares and Aphrodite came to an abrupt end when, as Homer tells through the mouth of the bard Demodocus in the Odyssey. Helios the sun god spied the pair and told Hepaestus what was going on behind his back. Thereupon Hephaestus contrived a huge net which he fixed secretly above his bed, and then pretended to leave Olympus on a visit to his worshippers on Lemnos. When Ares and Aphrodite next layed together on the bed, the net fell on them and pinned them down; Hephaestus appeared and abused them, and clled the other gods to witness their shame. The goddesses out of delicacy kept away, but the gods came, laughing, to watch. Poseiden eventually persuaded Hephaestus to release them on the understanding that Ares would pay a fine.

Ares had a daughter, Alcippe, by a mortal girl, Aglaurus, daughter of Cecrops; Poseidon's son Halirrhothius raped her near the Acropolis in Athens, and Ares struck him dead on the spot. Poseidon then summoned him for murder before the council of gods, and he was tried at the same place, which was henceforth called Areopagus or 'Ares' Hill' in memory of the event. The gods found him not guilty of murder.

Only battle and bloodshed gave Ares any pleasure: he charged around the battlefield with his twin sons and Enyo, the war goddess, rousing the martial spirit of the warriors. Athena, the goddess of strategy and true courage in battle, could easily outwit him. moreover, on one occasion he was bound and put in a bronze jar by the giants Otus and Ephialtes, the Aloadae, and would have prished, had Hermes not learnt of his plight from the giants' stepmother Eriboea

In the Trojan War Ares supported the Trojans, but his role is depicted as ignominious. With the help of Athena, Diomedes gave him a serious wound, which he complained about to Zeus. Subsequently he tried to join the battle after Zeus had forbidden it, and was restrained by Athena with insults. When the gods turned against each other he attacked Athena and hurled his spear at her magic breastplate (aegis): it did her no harm, but she knocked Ares down with a stone. As Aphrodite tried to help him off the field, Athena struck her, too, with her fist.

When Hercales, on his was to Delphi, was challenged by Ares' son Cycnus, Ares himself fought against him well. Heracles, aided by Athena, killed the brigand Cycnus, Ares had a number of warllike sons, the most important being Diomedes, king of the Thracian Bistones, born of the nymph Cyrene; Ascalaphus; Phlegyas; and perhaps Meleager.

Arianrhod: Welsh Triple Goddess

Another Welsh Goddess, whose name means "Silver Wheel" or "Silver Circle". Like Blodeuwedd, Arianrhod is part of the Welsh Triple Goddess, as the mother aspect. She ruled over the stars, the moon and the sky, and she lived in an astral palace called Caer Arianrhod(also known as the constellation Corona Borealis). this palace was the destination of the souls of the dead, between incarnations. She lived there with her husband. Nwyvre, who is known today by name only.

Arianrhod was the daughter of Don(who was the Welsh version of the Goddess Danu, though don was sometimes depicted as a God as well as a Goddess).

Arianrhod had two sons, Llew Llaw Gyffes and Dylan. The myth of their birth states that she became pregnant (and immediately gave birth) during a virginity test where she stepped over a staff of her brother, Gwydion. The implication is that her sons were born from either rape or an incestuous affair.

As a result, she banished Dylan to the sea and cursed Llew with three curses. One of those was that he would never take a human wife. that led to the story of Blodeuwedd. Her brother, Gwydion raised Llew and together they tricked Arianrhod into releasing him from the other two curses as well.(5)

Artemis: Goddess of the Hunt

One of the twelve great Olympian deities, a goddess of hunting and archery and, paradoxically, a defender of all wild animals, children, and weak things. She was believed to roam the mountains with a band of attendant nymphs and to resent the intrusions of any who would interfere with her or her protegees. In classical Greek literature se was characterized by a deliberatley chosen and forcibly maintained virginity; she punished those who would violate this state, insisted that all her attendants should also be virgins, and defended virginity among mortal men and women. But Artemis was probably not originally a virgin goddess, she seems to derive from an earth-mother, whence her association with the many breasted Goddess of Ephesus. In consequence she was a bringer of fertility and protector of the newly born. Artemis was the daughter of Leto and the twin sister of Apollo, born either with him on Delos or just before him on Ortygia (sometimes, but not always, represented as a seperate island); hence her epithets Delia and Cynthia (the latter from Mount Cynthus on Delos). Naturally Hera was jealous of her, as of all Zeus' progeny by others than herself; and in the Iliad, therefore, she insults her, spills her arrows, and boxes her ears, whereupon Artemis rushes to her father's knees and sits on it, weeping. With Apollo, however she avenged the giant Tityus' attempt to rape her mother Leto; they slewhim, and he was consigned to eternal punishment in Tartarus. Artemis and Apollo also killed most of Niobe's children because the later had insulted Leto by favourably comparing her own numerous offspring with themselves.

As Apollo was considered to be responsible for the sudden but natural death of men, so Artemis was held to bring death to women. In this connection, she became closely associated or confused with the witch-goddess Hecate, sometimes called Artemis of the crossroads, who was likewise an earth-goddess and shared features with Artemis but was also much concerned with the dead.

The story of the nymph Callisto may have originally applied to Artemis herself; her titles include the epithet 'most fair' (kalliste). Callisto, favourite follower of Artemis, was raped by Zeus and bore Arcas. According to one variant of the story, Artemis herself changed Callisto into a bear and drove her away with her arrows, because she ceased to be a virgin and had therefore broken her vow. On the other hand, Artemis took pity on Procris, who wished to escape her husband and live as a chaste huntress; the goddess gave her the dog Laelaps and an unerring spear (which later caused her death).

Artemis is concerned in the story of the giant hunter Orion, which appears in several versions. One of these recounts that Orion tried to rape Artemis, and was killed by her arrows. A contrary tradition suggests that she fell in love with him and that Apollo became jealous. he and Artemis were hunting in Crete when Apollo saw Orion swimming far out in the sea. Apollo, well knowing that hte distant object was, challanged Artemis to try to hit it with an arrow, and thus caused her to kill her beloved. According to another story, Orion boasted that he would kill all the wild animals on earth, whereupon Artemis (or perhaps Gaia) sent a scorpion to put him to death. Alternatively, she killed him either because he loved Eos and made her his mistress or because he raped one of the nymphs called Opis. Orion and his hounds, the scorpion, and Callisto were all placed in the heavens as constellations.

When the giants Orus and Ephialtes tried to rape Artemis and Hera, Apollo intervened in the nick of time by sending a deer between them; both cast spears at it, and killed each other instead. In the battle between the gods and giants, Artemis slew Gration with her arrows. Upon Coronis, who was pregnant with Apollo's son Asclepius lay with a mortal man. Artemis took vengance on her brother's behalf, shooting her to death.

Artemis punished many mortals who offended her or failed to observe her rites. Among these was Actaeon who saw her bathing. Because she feared he would boast of having seen her naked body, Artemis turned him into a stag, and he was immediately devoured by his own hounds. Oeneus, who forgot to perform the rites of Artemis in his harvest festival, was punished by the visitation of a great boar, which ravaged his country and led to the disasterous Calydonian boar-hunt. Admetus was punished for a similar neglect at his wedding, for Artemis filled his bed (or bedroom) with snakes. Agamemnon, before sailing to Troy from Aulis, had to propitiate the goddess with the sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia-either because he had failed to fulfil a promise he made to her some years before, or because Artemis as protector of wild things, was displeased by an omen of two eagles (identified with Agamemnon and Menelaus) ripping up a pregnant hare. She therefore refused to allow the wind to blow for Agamemnon's fleet.

Athena: The Warrior Goddess

Athena was born fully grown and ready for battle from the forehead of her father, Zeus. When Zeus impregnated Metis, he was afraid that Metis would give birth to a son and overthrow him, just like he did to his father, Cronus. So Zeus promptly swallowed her. When Athena was born she was freed through Zeus's head by an axe blow by Hephaetus.

Athena was a very popular Goddess among the Greeks and the great city of Athens was named after her. She was the rescuer from every danger and peril, the advisor for every tight spot, and the highest wisdom. The people's chiefs and leaders, as well as whole people itself are advised by her; she presides over all local, tribal, and national gatherings. She maintains life and health. She is the gracious, gentle nurse who takes the children of mankind to herself, who makes mothers fertile and children grow and develop, who increases the stock of people through a strong younger generation. She preserves the divine order in nature, protect the seedlings and fruits from damage, sows and tends the noble and nourishing olive trees; she teaches men how to manufacture and plow, how to yoke oxen, and how to loosen up the hard ground with the rake. From her mankind recieves the materials for all the arts that beautify life, and from her skillfulness. She gave mankind the bridle so that he could master the horse for his own use. Shipbuilders work under her inspiration She guides the wanderer and the stranger safetly over sea and land, and she accompanies the heroes on their adventures, fills them with courage, and saves them from danger.

Athena was honoured at the Lesser Panathenaea festival in March as well as the Day of the Geniae in December. Athena is sometimes referred to as Pallas Athena. It is said that she took the name of her childhood friend who was killed during play fighting with Athena.

In the Roman pantheon she is known as Minerva.(7)

Aurora/Eos: Goddess of the Dawn

Aurora to the Romans, she is also known as Eos(Heos), Goddess of the Dawn.

Aurora is the daughter of Hyperion and Theia, though other myths say that her mothers were also Euryphassa or Pallas, and so she is called Aurora Pallantias, Aurora of Pallas. Her parents are a Sun God and a Moon Goddess and Aurora is a Titaness of the second generation.

Aurora is young, high spirited and lovely; it is Her nature to awaken desire. Her eyelids are snowy, cheeks rosy and head crowned with beautiful, dewy tresses. She has rosy arms and fingers and large, white wings. She wears a radiant crown or a star on Her head and is sometimes veiled. Her robes are saffron yellow or dazzling white and purple, and she wears yellow shoes.

She rides a rose colored, purple or golden chariot drawn by white horses. She may also float in the air, holding in each hand a pitcher, from which she pours dew. Or again she may come riding on Pegasos and carrying a torch, for she requested Pegasos from Zeus after he punished Bellerophon.

Tender-hearted Aurora is always eager for young mortal lovers. This is punishment inflicted on her by Aphrodite for having slept with Ares. Like Aphrodite, she brings love to mortals, but is not so easily placated as the Goddess of Love. So also Dawn brings a renewal of erotic passions and the morning erection.

Aurora lives by the streams of Ocean at the eastern end of the Earth. According to some, this is on Delos, the Isle of the Rising Sun, where Apollo and Artemis were born. The cocks call her in the morning and she awakes and leaps eargly from the bed of Tithonos, the deathless Trojan prince who is her husband.

Aurora leaves her court and opens the Eastern Gates of pearl upon the pathway strewn with roses. Swiftly she rides forth in her chariot drawn by two horses, Lampus(Shiner) and Phaethon(Blazer), while Nux and Hupnos(Night and Sleep) fly in front of her.

Aurora lifts the veil of night and chases away the hosts of stars, so the souls of the dead depart at daybreak. The first light of Dawn is white, for that is the color of her wings. Next we see the golden radiance from her saffron robe and yellow shoes. Finally her rosy arms and fingers stretch across the heavens. The flowers and plants, drenched by the dew that she pours from her pitchers, lift their faces to her in gratitude for the new day.

A fresh wind is felt at Dawn's approach, for Astraios, who is the Dawn Wind, and Aurora unite at dawn, to produce a fertilizing spirit. And so by Starry Astraios, she is the mother of the strong-hearted winds; brightening Zephyros(west), Boreas(north), Notos(south), and the remaining wind is Argestes(Bringer of Brightness), which is either Apheliotes(east) or Euros(southeast).

These are the winds of morning, which brings benefits to mortals (as opposed to the other turbulent, chaotic winds), for the beneficial winds are born of Aurora,"the eternally new light of the dawning day," and Astraios,"the luminous radience of the night sky." The four winds help to organize human labor and to orient the sea lanes; they also define the cycles of the seasons.

To Astraios, the Ancient Father of the Stars, She also bore the star Heosphoros (Dawn Bringer) and the other gleaming stars by which the heavens is crowned. That is, the God of the Night Sky united with the Dawn to engender the Morning Star (Heosphoros). Others say this is Daystar, who is called Phosphoros (Lucifer) or Phaethon, the Illuminator, is the son of Aurora and Kephalos. In any case, carrying a torch He flies by his own wings before Her chariot.

As the New Day, Aurora accompanies her brother Helios, the Sun, throughout the day, riding or walking ahead of His chariot. Therefore She is identified with daylight and is called Hemera (Day), Tito (Titan-Day), and Helia (Queen of the Day). At dusk She accompanies the Sun to the west, where She is called Hespera (Evening). Yet again, as Goddess, Eos, Hemera and Nux (Dawn, Day, Night) are the Maiden, Mother and Crone.

Helios is preceded on His course by Selene and Eos, His sisters. Eos is the wilder and more turbulent of the two. Observe: Selene, Eos and Helios are Night, Dawn and Day. Their colors are the Black of Night, the Red of Morning and the White of Day. Alchemically They are Quicksilver, Salt and Sulphur; the Quicksilver (Silver Moon) and the Sulphur (Golden Sun) join togehter in the Salt, Aurora's complimentary partner, for whom She strives, is the Green youth. Charge of Aurora (8)

Bast: The Feline Goddess

Bast's most common depiction on temple walls is as a woman with the head of either a cat, a lion, or a large desert cat.

Note that by "desert cat", we do not mean the approachable domesticates as we know them. This is the feral cat of the desert, a calculating hunter and survivalist that was far from the relatively sweet-tempered creatures that stalks the neighborhods today.

As a Woman

Except in one Ramesside depiction where She is syncretized with Mut (Mut-Bast), Bast is never shown fully human form.

As a Domestic Cat

Bast only became associated with the domestic cat ca. 1000 BCE, nearly two thousand years after Her worship began. Previous to that, the cat was considered "beneath" representation except in rare cases involving Mafdet (in the Pyramid Tests and Ra are mentioned. In the Litany of the Sun, seventy-five names of Ra are mentioned, along with His seventy-five corresponding forms. Two of those names are cats--Miuty and Miu-Oaor "The Great Male Cat.

While Bast is perhaps better known as adomesticate, Her representation as a lion or desert cat did not cease with the advent of Bast-as-a-housecat. Images of Bast as a lion-headed figure holding a was-scepter (from the Hall of Osorkon at Bubastis, or with a lion's mane and holding the Eye of Ra can be found throughout Egyptian art from the Late Period on. Bast is even shown in one particular Late Period depiction wearing the Double Crown (the red and the white "nested" together) and suckling the Pharaoh perhaps allusion to Per-Bast (Bubastis)' political rise during that period.

Additionally, there is no reason to believe that the lion device on the aegis wielded by the cat-deaded Bast is not in fact a second representation of Her (a concept not unknown to ancient Egyptian art and symbology)

Bast is often shown holding the ankh or the papyrus wand, and sometimes the was-scepter (usually only connected to Bubastis, which was the home of Her cult).

Bast: Roles and Hieroglyphs

Bast is one of several gods who are known as the "Eye of Ra", a title that denotes a god Who functions as a protector or avenger. Since the earliest of times She has been associated with the king. Pyranid Texts 892 names Her next to the king as the, "Knowledge through which death cannot approach too closely". She also serves as his protector, a trait that is common in many other Bast feline gods such as Mafdet--(lit. "the Runner") protcetor of Pharaoh's chambers--and Sekhmet--destroyer of the King's enemies.

As a regional god associated with Per-Bast, Bast was strongly connected to the delta region of Kemet (referred to as Lower Egypt). Her role as the protector of the ruler spread out to children and pregnant women in later times as Her image became "softened" by Her associations with such gods as Het-hert [Greek: Hathor], Mut, and Aset[Greek: Isis]. She was also invoked in the hopes of bestowing fertility (perhaps due to the proliferation of cats themselves), and as She became more closely associated with Het-hert, She also picked up many of thet goddess's associations, such as music and the arts.

The hieroglyphs for Bast are: the jar-like symbol representing "bas" and the half-circle (a loaf of bread) standing for the feminine "-t" ending. The jar and two loaves of bread are the hieroglyphs for Bastet, a common source of confusion as to the translation of Her name. The bas-jars themselves are heavy vessels used to store perfume--one of the most valuable commodities of Kemet--and Bast Herself has relations to perfumery (a second translation of Her name is "Lady of the Ointments"). Contrary to claims made by Egyptologists at the beginning of the 1900's (as per E.A. Wallis Budge's The Gods of the Egyptians), Bast's name has nothing to do with "friction", "heat", or "fire".(9)


Brid, whose name means "The Exalted One" is the Queen and Mother Goddess of many tribes in Europe. Brid is known by many cariations, Brigid, Bridget, Brighid, Brighde, Brig or Bride. Some scholars attribute her name originated with the Vedic Sanskrit word Brihati, an epithet of the divine.

The 10th century Cormac's Glossary describes Brid as the daughter of the Daghda, the "Great God" of the Tuatha de Danaan. He calls her a "woman of wisdon, a Goddess whom poets adored, because her protection was great and very famous." Since the discipline of poetry, Filidhect, was interwoven with seership, Brid was seen as the great inspiration behind divination and prophecy, the source of oracles.

She is said to have had two sisters:Brigid the Physician and Brigid the Smith, but it is generally held that all three were aspects of the one Goddess of poetry,healing and smithcraft. In other places she is known as the patron Goddess of other crafts of the early Celtic society: dying, weaving and brewing. A Goddess of regeneration and abundance, she was loved as a provider of plenty who was closely connected with livestock and domesticated animals. She had two oxen called Fea and Feimhean who gave their names to a plain in County Carlow and one in Tipperart. She was also the guardian of Torc Triath, kind of the wild boar, who gave his name to Treithirne, a plain in West Tipperary. These three totem animals used to raise a warning cry if Ireland was in danger.

The tribe of the Goddess Brigantia is thought to be another aspect of Brid. The most powerful political unit of Celtic-speaking Britain, the Brigantia mostly held power in Northern England.

With the coming of Christianity, she was changed into Irelands loved saint, second only to Patrick. Her transformation happened in Drumeague, County Cavan, at a place called "The Mountain of the Three Gods". Here a stone head of Brid was worshipped as a triple deity, but with the coming of Christianity, it was hidden in a Neolithic tomb. Later it was recovered from its burial place and mounted on a local church where it was canonized as "St. Bride of Knockbridge"

Saint Bridgid was said to be the daughter of a druid who had a vision that she was to be named after the great Goddess. She was born at sunrise while her mother was walking over a threshold, and was "neither within nor without." This is the state known as liminality, from the Latin, limen: a threshold, the state of being in between places and times. In Celtic tradition this is a sacred time when the doors between the worlds are open and magical events can occur.

Another legend tells how her mother was carrying a pitcher of milk at the time, with which she bathed her new born child. As a child Brigid was unable to eat ordinary food and was reared on the milk of a special white red0eared cow. White animals with red ears are found frequently in Celtic mythology as beasts of the Otherworld.

When she became the abbess of Kildare, she miraculously increased the milk and butter yield of the abbey cows; some accounts say that her cows porduced a whole lake of milk three times a day, and one churning filled hundreds of baskets with butter. When Saint Bridgid died, her skull was kept at Kildare after the pre-Christian custom of revering the head as sacred. Norman soldiers were supposed to have stolen it from the abbey and taken it to Portugal. Here it played its part in a spring ceremony where cattle were driven past it. In Scotland she was invoked as the "Milkmaide Bride," or "Golden-haired Bride of the Kine,"patroness of cattle and dairy work. Medieval Christian art often depicts her as holding a cow, or carrying a pair of milk pails.

She also provided an abundance of ale harvests. At one Easter time, one measure of Her malt provided ale for seventeen churches. Her miraculous powers changed water into ale and stone into salt. With boundless generosity she fed birds, animals, and the poor, and they loved her in return.

Early writers believed Brigid's name stemmed from Breo-aigit: "fiery arrow", a false but somehow very fitting etymology for a Goddess of smithcraft, and one which kindles the fires of creativity and regeneration. Her association with fire and the sun continues into the folklore of the Christian saint. In one version of Her life from the Book of Lismore, a druid prophesies that she will be a "daughter conspicuous and radient, who will shine like the sun among the stars of heaven." As a child, a fire was seen rising from the house she and her mother were sleeping in, yet it did not burn the house, but glowed like the burning bush of the Old Testament. When she first began to pray to God, a column of flame was seen rising from the house. She emerged unharmed, but "full of the grace of the Holy Spirit," a reference to the Pentecostal flames. A charming story tells how stories of Brigid's deeds caught the attention of the famous St. Brendan who stopped by on an unannounced visit. She had been working out in the fields on a showery day, and was so suprised to see the great man in her house, that she flung off her rain-soaked cloak without bothering to hang it up. The cloak caught on a sunbeam and to the older saint's astonishment, hung there until it dried.

Like the rising sun, she belonged to the East, where her influence radiated out from her convent at Kildare in the heart of Leinster. Within the convent burned a perennial flame which became known as one of the three inextinguishable fires of the Irish monasteries. Stories about the flame's miraculous properties told that it stayed alight through the grace of God while the ashes from the burnt wood never increased even though it burned for a thousand years, from the 5th to the 16th centuries. Gerald of Wales wrote about it when he visited the convent sometime in the 12th century. He tells tthat there used to be twenty nuns keep watch over the flame during Brigid's lifetime; since her death, nineteen took turns, one each night, in guarding the fire. When the twentieth night came, the nineteenth nun put the logs beside the fire and said:

"Brigid guard your fire. This is your night."

In the morning, the wood was found burned and the fire still alight.

Bridgid's flame was housed within a sacred enclosure, surrounded by a withy hedge which, Gerald reports, "no male may cross." A terrible fate awaited any man who tried, although the nature of the punishment was not specified. It seems probable that Kildare was once a pagan sanctuary attended by priestesses, similar to the Vestal Virgins of Roman tradition. Some scholars have seen a connection between Bridgid and Sulis Minerva whose sacred fire burned at Aquae Sulis (Bath) in the 3rd century. Elsewhere only nine maidens are described as guarding the Bridgid's flame, a scene reminiscent of the nine maidens in the Welsh poem, The Spoils of Annwn", whose breath warmed the magical cauldron of the Underworld. Goddess of the Sun and Christian saint of the Eternal Fire are equally invoked in the beautiful invocation known as Brighid's Arrow:

Most Hold Brighid, Excellent Woman, Bright Arrow, Sudden Flame;
May your bright fiery Sun take us swiftly to your lasting kingdom.

Like the Goddess of old, Saint Brigid was renowned for her gift of healing. She wove the first piece of cloth in Ireland and wove into it healing threads which kept their power for centuries. Many healing wells and springs were named after her. At Kildare her well stands just outside of town, and was refurbished by the local nuns in 1984. Near the spring, an upright stone tablet bears two crosses on either side. One is a Christian cross, the other is the Cross of Saint Bridgit, the fiery sun-wheel turning.

Brid in Scotland

In Scotland Brid was known as Bride and like her pagan predecessor reigned over fire, art and beauty: fo cheabhar agus fo chuan (beneath the sky and beneath the sea) As she presided over the birth of Spring, so legends tell that she was the midwife at Christ's birth. She was called Muine Chriosd, "Fostermother of Christ.", while the divine Child was known as Dalta Bride, "the Foster-Son of Bride." Sometimes Brid was conflated with the Virgin herself, for in the Highlands and Islands she was often addressed as "Mary of the Gael."

Her presence was invoked at childbirthd, as Alenander Carmichael recounts;

When a woman is in labour the midwife goes to the door of the house, and standing on the doorstep, softly beseeches Brid to come in:

"Bride, Bride, come in!
Thy welcome is truly made,
Give thou relief to the woman,
And give thou the conception to the Trinity."

Highland women also invoked Brigid's presence at the hearth-fire, the center of the home. The hearth was not only the source of warmth and cooking but also symbolized the power of the sun bought down to human level at the miraculous power of fire, Every morning the fire was kindled with invocations to St. Brigid, the "radiant flame" herself:

I will build the hearth
As Mary would build it.
The encompassment of Bride and of Mary
Guarding the hearth, guarding the floor,
Guarding the household all.

Cerridwen: The Cauldron Goddess

"I see the Wild Witches dancing in the moonlight on the bluff above the raging sea. I feel their Magic pierce the Night, even as their Love touches me. I see the Druids raise their arms, I hear their Shaman power call to me. Feel the pagan Magick in your breast expand, contract, and transform in thee.
I am a Witch, Druid, and Mystical Muse. I am Magickal, Spiritual and a Bard with exciting news."

Cerridwen is a Welsh (Celtic)goddess who seems originally to have been in the story of the poet Taliesin's childhood. The consort of Tegid Foel, she had a daughter, Creirwy, and a son, Afagddu. In the Taliesin story, Cerridwen prepared a brew in a great cauldron which was to give her son Afagddu the gifts of inspiration and knowledge to compensate for his ugly appearance.

The Welsh Crone, or the Goddess of prophetic powers, is represented by Cerridwen. Her totem animal is the sow, representing the fecundity of the Underworld, and the terrible strength of the Mother.

Like many Celtic Goddesses, she had two children representing dark and light aspects emerging from the one Goddess, her daughter Crearwy being light and beautiful, and her son Afagddu being dark and ugly.

Cerridwen is the keeper of the Cauldron of the Underworld, in which inspiration and divine knowledge are brewed. She brews for her son and sets little Gwion to guard the cauldron. Three drops fall out upon his finger and he absorbs the potency of the brew. The Goddess then pursues Gwion through a cycle of changes of changing shapes, which corresponds both to totem animals and to the turning of the seasons. This theme is related to that of Mabon and Merlin,in which a divine youth is associated with the orders and creatures of creation.

The Welsh legend, however, has a significant ending. Cerridwen, in the guise of a hen, swallows Gwion, in the guise of an ear of corn. Nine months pass and she gives birth to a radiant child known as Taliesin, who was the greatest of Welsh poets.(10)

Diana: Roman Goddess of the Woodlands

Diana was essentially a goddess of the woodlands. her sanctuaries were commonly in groces, indeed every grove was sacred to her, and she is often associated with the forest god Silvanus in dedications. Whatever her origin may have been, Diana was not always a mere goddess of trees. Like her Greek sister Artemis, she appears to have developed into a personification of the teeming life of nature, both animal and vegetable. As mistress of the greenwood she would naturally be thought to own the beasts, whether wild or tame, that ranged through it, lurking for their prey in its gloomy depths, munching fresh leaves and shoots among the boughs, or cropping the herbage in the open glades and dells. Thus she might come to be the patron goddess of both hunters and herdsmen, just as Silvanus was the god of not only woods, but of cattle.

Diana was not merely a patroness of wild beasts, a mistress of woods and hills, of lonely glades and sounding rivers; concieved as the moon, and especially, it would seem, as the yellow harvest moon, she filled the farmer's garage woth goodly fruits, and heard the prayers of women in travail. In her sacred grove at Nemi, she was especially wporshipped as a goddess of childbirth, who bestowed offspring on men and women. Thus Diana, like the Greek Artemis, with whom she was constantly identified, may be described as a goddess of nature in general and of fertility in particular.

But Diana did not reign alone in her grove at Nemi. Two lesser divinities shared her forest santuary. One was Egeris, the nymph of the clear water which, bubbling from the basaltic rocks, used to fall in graceful cascades into the lake at the place called Le Mole, because here were established the mills of the modern village of Nemi. women with child used to sacrifice to Egeria, because she was believed, like Diana, to be able to grant them an easy delivery. The other minor deity at Nemi was Viribus. Legend had it that Virbius was the young Greek hero Hippolytus, chaste and fair, who learned the art of venery from the cenataur Chiron, and spent all his days in the greenwood chasing wild beasts with the virgin huntress Artemis (the Greek counterpart of Diana) for his only comrade. Proud of her divine society, he spurned the love of women, and this proved to be his bane. For Aphrodite, stung by his scorn, inspired his stepmother Phaedra with love of him; and when he disdained her wicked advances she falsely accused him to his father Theseus. The slander was believed, and Theseus prayed to his sire Poseidon to avenge the imagined wrong. So while Hippolytus drove in a chariot by the shore of the Saronic Gulf, the seagod sent a fierce bull forth from the waves. the terrified horses bolted, threw Hippolytus from the chariot, and dragged him at their hoofs to death. But diana, for the love she bore Hippolytus, persuaded the leech Aesculapius to bring her fair young hunter back to life by his simples. Jupiter, indignant that a mortal man should return from the gates of death, thrust down the meddling leech himself to Hades. but Diana hid her favourite from the angry god in a thick cloud, disguised his features by adding years to his life, and then bore him far away to the dells of Nemi, where she entrusted him to the nymph Egeria, to live there, unknown and solitary, under the name Virbius, in the depths of the Italian forest. There he reigned a king, and there he dedicated a precinct to diana. He had a comely son, Virbius, who, undaunted by his father's fate, drove a team pf fiery steeds to join the Latins in the war against Aeneas and the Trojans. Viribius was worshipped as a god not only at Nemi but elsewhere; for in Campania we hear of a special priest devoted to him. (11)

Hecate: The Goddess of the Three Paths

Hecate originally derived from the Egyptian midwife, Goddess Hekat. In Greece, Hecate was one of the many names for the original feminine trinity ruling the Heaven, Earth and Underworld. Hecate was called "Most Lovely One", a title of the moon. She was associated with the moon in all three of her aspects: Hecate Selene, the Moon in Heaven; Artemis, the Huntress on Earth; and Persephone, the Destroyer in the Underworld.

Sometimes she was part of the Queen of Heaven Trinity: Hebe, the Virgin; Hera, the Mother; and Hecate, the Crone.

Hecate was once a widely revered and influential Goddess, the reputation of Hecate has been tarnished over the centuries. In current times, she is usually depicted as a "hag" or old witch stirring the cauldron.

A beautiful and powerful Goddess in her own right, Hecate was the only one of the ancient Titans who Zeus allowed to retain their authority once the Olympians seized control. Zeus shared with Hecate, and only her, the awesome power of giving humanity anything she wanted(or withholding it, if she pleased).

Usually classified as a Moon Goddess, her kingdoms were actually three-fold...the earth, sea, and sky. Having the power to create or withhold storms undoubtedly played a major role in making her the Goddess who was the protector of shepherds and sailors.

A lover of solitude, Hecate was, like her cousin Artemis, a virgin Goddess, unwiling to sacrifice her independent nature for the sake of marriage. Walking the roads at night or visiting cemetaries during the dark phase of the moon, the Goddess Hecate was described as shining or luminous. Perhaps it was this luminous quality that marked her as a moon goddess, for she seemed quite at home on the earth.

Hecate was usually depicted with her sacred dogs, although Hecate and even her animals, were sometimes said to have three heads and that they could see in all directions.

This farsightedness, the ability to see in several different directions at once even (past, present, and future) featured largely in her most famous myth, the abduction of Persephone. It was Hecate who "saw" and told the frantic Demeter what had become of her daughter.

Hecate continued to play an important part in the life of Persephone, becoming her confidante when she was in the Underworld. Hades, thankful for their friendship, honored Hecate as a prominent and permanent guest in the spirit world.(13)


Son og Hera, produced, according to Hesiod, without a mate. Other writers believed that Zeus was his father. He was the smith and metal-founder of the gods, and his worship was sometimes believed to believed to have originated on the northern Aegean island of Lemnos, which contained a volcano on Mount Moschylus. He was alos worshipped in Caria and Lycia in Asia Minor. His cult later spread to the volcanic region of the west, Etna in Sicily, the Lipari Islands, and Campania in which Vesuvius is situated. He seems originally to have been a volcano deity.

Hephaestus was twice flung out of Olympus. First of all, when he was born, Hera was offended by the sight of her ugly, deformed child (he was lame) and threw him out. The infant fell into the ocean, where Thetis and Eurynome the Oceanid found him and brought him up for nine years in their cave, unknown to the gods or Hera. It was here that he learnt his arts. He fashioned a golden throne for his mother and sent it to her; but he had concealed in it a trap whereby to gain his revenge, for when she sat on the throne she was imprisoned and none of the gods could help her. Hephaestus was invited to come to Olympus, where the other gods pleaded with him to release her. But he refused, until Dionysus, whom he trusted, made him drunk and wheedled the key to the device out of him. According to a variant story, Hephaestus sent sandals to the gods, but those he sent to Hera were adamantine ones which caused her to fall flat on her face.

On Olympus he became a master craftsman, but was regarded as a figure of fun because of his limp, his sooty face, his bustling gait, and the dance that his errant wife Aphrodite led him. In particular, she comitted adultery with Ares-bearing him a number of children-until Helios revealed to her husband what was going on. Hephaestus, in his fury, imprisoned the pair under a great net which descended upon them as they lay in bed. He had put it about that he was visiting his faithful people on the island of Lemnos. When he knew that the trap was sprung, Hephaestus called the whole company of Olympus to witness Aphrodite's shame. Only the malegods came, and they laughed greatly, though Hephaestus the cuckold proved as much of a joke as Ares. Finally Poseidon prevailed on him to accept a fine from Ares, going surety for its payment himself.

Hephaestus' second fall from Olympus showed he was reconciled to his mother Hera. She and Zeus were quarrelling over her vindictive persecution of Heracles, and Hephaestus spoke up for his mother so vehemently that Zeus took him by the leg and flung him down from heaven. He hurtled all day and at nightfall landed half dead on Lemnos, where the Sintians tended him. That is why, according to this version, he became their protector, teaching them the arts of metalwork, at which they excelled all the Greeks.

Hephaestus was very usefull to the Olympians. He built splendid halls and palaces and enabled the gods to live in great luxury. He even made armour for mortal men when a goddess could induce him to do so, for example Achilles' armour for Thetis, who had been Hephaestus' nurse, and Aeneas' armour for Aphrodite. He also created Pandora as a wife for Epimetheus so that Zeus might avenge himself on Prometheus for helping mankind. The site of Hephaestus' smithy was disputed. The Greeks generally thought he worked on Lemnos, where the Cyclopes acted as his workmates and were regarded-like the Cretan Dactyls, and the Telchines-as fire gods. The Romans located Vulcan, whom they equated him with (and sometimes regarded as a personification of fire), under Mount Etna in Sicily. But he was also alloted a wirkshop on Olympus where, in the great battle of the gods and giants, he used molten iron to quell the giant Mimas. Hephaestus also forged the chain that bount Prometheus to the top of Mount Causasus, and he made Zeus' thunderbolts, and the arrows of Artemis and Apollo.

Hera: Queen of the Heavens

Wife of Zeus and Queen of Heavens, she was Zeus' elder sister, the child of Cronos and Rhea. The name Hera may have meant 'the Lady', cf. heros'hero', 'warrior'. Her bird was the peacock, a symbol of ostentatious pride, and her province marriage and women's life.

Hera was swallowed at birth by her father, who suspected that his children would overthrow him. Only the sixth amd youngest, Zeus, escaped this fate, through the cunning of Rhea and Gaia. when Zeus had established himself securely, he conducted love-affairs with a number of goddess and nymphs, but decided that only Hera was great enough to be his consort. even so, she was his inferior, working against him when necessary behind his back. Occasionally, in his anger, he punished her severley, and on one occasion, owing to her persecution of Heracles, he suspended her from a pinnacle of Olympus by the wrists, with her feet weighted by anvils.

At an early date Hera ceased to be exclusively the patroness of women, and palyed an important role in the myths of wars and battles, being worshipped by nobles and kings. In art she is portrayed as tall and stately, wearing a diaden or wreath, and carrying a scepter. She bore Ares, Ilithyia, and Hebe to Zeus, but produced Hephaestus without his aid. When, however, Zeus acted likewise, giving birth to Athena out of his head-with the help of Hephaestus' axe-Hera, in her jealousy, according to one story, bore Typhon, to become Zeus' most dangerous enemy (though this monster is usually called the child of Gaia). Indeed, Hera was often moved by jealousy to take vengeance on Zeus' paramours and their children. The most notorious targets of her vindictive persecutions were Alcmena and her son Heracles (although his name embodies hers). She also persecuted Leto, who was the mother of Apollo and Artemis, Io, who was Hera's own priestess, and Callisto and Semele.

Hera herself, as befitted the patroness of monogamous marriage, was a model of chastity. In the battle between the gods and giants, Zeus, perhaps in order to test her, filled the giant Porphyrion with lust for her body. When, however, Porphyrion attempted to rape her, Zeus struck him down with a thunderbolt. Ephialtes made a similar attempt, and Artemis put him to death. When Ixion, too, tried to make love to Hera thus breaking the law of hospitality since he was the guest of her husband on Olympus-Zeus formed a cloud into Hera's shape, and Ixion lay with this. He was subsequently punished with eternal torment in Tartarus.

Hera played an important part in Homer's story of the Trojan War told in the Iliad, though the Judgement of Paris, in which she attempted to bribe Paris with an offer of royal greatness, receives only a brief allusion. It was because Paris failed to award her the prize for beauty that Hera persecuted Troy with implacable fury. She was said by the poet Stesichorus to have saved Helen from dishonour by the substitution of a phantom which Paris took to Troy, while Hermes, in accordance with Hera's instructions, took the real Helen to Egypt. Hera often risked punishment by helping the Greeks against Zeus' orders, and on one occasion lured him to take her under a golden cloud while Poseidon spurred the Greeks on. In the Aeneid this enmity of Juno (Hera) extends to Aeneas too, until Jupiter prevails on her to allow a union between Trojans and Italians to play the dominant part. Jason, on the other hand, in his expedition to obtain the Golden Fleece, gained the support of Hera 9who disguised herself as an old woman), but this was mainly to enable her to avenge herself on King Pelias of Iolcus, who had defiled her altar by the killing of Sidero, his stepmother. Subsequently Medea caused Pelias' daughters to cut him up and boil him in a cauldron.

Hera was worshipped by women all over the Greek world (though the function of presiding over childbirth passed to her daughter Illithyia over whom, however, Hera exercised great influence.

Isis: Mother Goddess of Egypt

In the beginning, all was darkness in Nin, the primordial ocean of chaos. And there came a great fire in the heavens and his name was Ra. He created Shu(the air) and Tefnut(the moisture); they in turn created Heaven and Earth. Nut, diaphenous Goddess of the Sky, and Geb, God of the Earth, were filled with desire for each other, knowing that with the union of the ethereal womb of heavens and the material seed of the earth, all things might be possible. Ra, master of the cosmos, was envious and fearful of the great potential they possessed, and so forbade the union. But they disobeyed his ineffectual edict and soon came together in a brief but passionate embrace. When Ra learned of their defiance, a consuming rage came upon him, and he ordered Shu to stand eternally between them. To this day, the lonely earth reaches up in arousal, seeking to hold his beloved sky once more.

Ra was to slow, however, and their brief union was fruitful. Nut gave birth to four children-brothers Osiris and Seth, and sisters Isis and Nephthys-who became the four cardinal deities of the cosmos and sovereigns over all therein. Of these four, Isis, Goddess of Life, was supreme. She is the mother of the Eternal Spirit of Egypt.

Isis is the Mistress of the four elements: terrestrial earth and water, and celestial wind and fire (symbols of the both the divided functions of the body and spirit, and the rational and creative aspects of the mind). As the living fabric of the forces of nature, She is the Mother of all life. It is her transformative magick that binds the transcendent, static, ethereal (the sky) with the immanent, dynamic, material (the earth), into the unitary miracle of living things.

Isis, the great Mother Goddess, exists at the center of all life. She draws Geb's stony bomes (earth) upward, that Her blood (water) might flow down to nourish the four corners of the world. And the seeds of the earth are born upon Her breath (wind), that they might find a home in the desert, and thereby bring the spark (fire) of new life to that once desolate place.

Isis holds next to her breast the Egyptian symbol known as the ankh. The word translates as "life" or "vitality", but the symbol is also a pictograph of man (head, arms, and body). Isis gently cradling the ankh is the image of mother and child.(14)

Lilith: Goddess of Equality and the First Woman

Lilith is an archtype for the woman who refuses to be dominated by men. She was created, the stories say, from the same dust that Adam was, she claimed to be his equal. When Adam wanted to lie with her she wanted to know why she must be on the bottom. This shows she was in full control of her sexuality. She is a largely misunderstood archtype who has been called Poetress of Darkness, Imp of Impetuosity, and Queen of the Vampires. She is deeply commited to her personal freedom which keeps her moral strength alive. She was kicked out of Eden and then Adam was given another wife. In some tales she is the snake in the Garden of Eden who tempted Eve. Some stories say she is a demon, others a fallen angel.She has a mysterious power that is permanent, direct, and instinctual.

Legend of Lilith

"My name thou knowest not, and yet shall know me. And know too late. But know this indeed: Joy is my sister."It is said that Lilith was the twin sister of Adam and dwelt with him in the Garden at Paradise. Adam was king of Eden and Lilith wished to be a co-ruler with him, but the Lord of Light permitted it not. Lilith was beautiful and wise. She wearied of her brother Adam, who was less wise than she. Lilith refused to bear children from Adam. The Lord of Light was angry and turned Lilith out of Paradise. Samuel, an angel of the Lord of Light, the son of god, fell in love with Lilith. To Samuel, Lilith bore three half-god half-human children, all called the Nephilim. Their wisdom, power, and beauty was so great that the children of Darkness were afraid of them and called them monstorous names to defile them. Lilith would not be defiled. From beloved Samuel she learned the wisdom of the Lord of Light and became the first witch. She lived as a daughter of the Night Mother, calling the people to dance and be joyous by the light of the moon. Her symbol was the night and those who follow her called her Arionhood. The children of Darkness trembled and barred their doors at night seeking to protect themselves lest Lilith take them and teach them the ways of the wise ones

The following passage comes from the "Alphabet of Ben Sira"

"Soon afterward the young son of the king took ill. Said Nebuchadnezzar, "Heal my son. If you don't, I will kill you." Ben Sira immediately sat down and wrote an amulet with the Holy Name, and he inscribed on it the angels in charge of medicine by their names, forms, and images, and by their wings, hands, and feet. Nebuchadnezzar looked at the amulet. "Who are these?"

"The angels who are in charge of medicine: Snvi, Snsvi, and Smnglof. After God created Adam, who was alone, He said,'It is not good for man to be alone' (Genesis 2:18). He then created a woman for Adam, from the earth, as He had created Adam himself, and called her Lilith. Adam and Lilith immediately began to fight. She said,'I will not lie below,' and he said,'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.' Lilith responded,'We are equal to each other in asmuch as we were both created from the earth.' But they would not listen to one another. When Lilith saw this, she pronounced the Ineffable Name and flew away into the air. Adam stood in prayer before his Creator'Sovereign of the universe!' he said.'the woman you gave me has run away.' At once, the Holy One, blessed be He, sent these three angels to bring her back.

"Said the Holy One to Adam,'If she agrees to come back, fine. If not, she must permit one hundred of her children to die every day.' The angels left God and pursued Lilith, whom they overtook in the midst of the sea, in the mighty waters wherein the Egyptians were destined to drown. They told her God's word, but she did not wish to return. The angels said,'We shall drown you in the sea.'

"Leave me!" she said.'I was created only to cause sickness to infants. If the infant is male, I have dominion over him for eight days after his birth, and if female, for twenty days.'

"When the angels heard Lilith's words, they insisted she go back. But she swore to them by the name of the living and eternal God:'Whenever I see you or your names or your forms in an amulet, I will have no power over that infant.' She also agreed to have one hundred of her children die every day. Accordingly, every day one hundred demons perish, and for the same reason, we write the angels names on the amulets of young children. When Lilith sees their names, she remembers her oath, and the child recovers."(15)

Morrigan: The Goddess of Battle

The Morrigan is one of the more complex and ofter misunderstood of the Celtic Deities. Sometimes she is a single Goddess and sometimes she is referred to as three individual Goddesses. With Arianhood and Blodeuwedd, the Morrigan is the Crone phase of the Welsh Triple Goddess.

She was one of the Tuatha de Danann, and helped them win several key battles, particularly the Second Battle of Mag Tuired. She caused confusion and disorganization among the rank of the Formorians. The Morrigan played a key role in many other myths surrounding the Tuatha de Danann. Once a year, on October 31, she meets the Dagda on the banks of a river. Their mating brings prosperity and fertility to the land each year.

When viewed as three seperate Goddesses, the Morrigan is made up of Badb (Vulture or Fury), Macha (Crow or Battle), amd Nemain (Frenzy or Venomous). "Morrigan" is translated to mean Phantom Queen or Queen of the Demons.

Whether she is one or three, the Morrigan is a battle Goddess and closely held to fate, death, and warfare. According to myth, she is seen washing clothes in a nearby river before a battle the clothing of the warriors who would die in battle.(16)

Poseidon: The Sea God

The principal Greek God of seas and water, whom the Romans identified with an old Italian water-deity Neptunus (Neptune), investing with Poseidon's mythology. The name Poseidon (Doric-Poteidan) seems to mean 'lord (or husband) of Earth', an origin consistent with his common epiteth gaieochos 'earth-holding'. He is also linked with earthquakes, whence his title enosichthon, enosigaios 'shaker of earth'. The animals chiefly associated with him are horses and bulls.

Poseidon was one of the greatest gods in both cult and myth, and became a frequent artistic subject, being represented as a tall, bearded figure holding a trident (a three-pronged tunny fishermans spear made by the Cyclops or the Telchines), and sometimes a fish. He seems to have supplanted a series of older, more peaceful sea-gods, Nereus, Phorcys, and Proteus, the 'Old Men of the Sea', and to have assumed many of their attributes. Poseidon, however, adds a note of violence absent from their myths, since he is often represented as bad-tempered, vindictive, and dangerous. that is to say, he represents the might of the sea-storm, and his activity displays its destructive power.

He was a son of Cronus and Rhea and, according to Hesiod, Zeus' elder brother. Like all his brothers and sisters except Zeus, Poseidon was swallowed at birth by his father, who feared his children's future rivalry (though the Arcadians claimed that Rhea substituted a foal for Poseidon; and there was also a story that Rhea took him to Rhoades, where the Oceanid Capheria, aided by the Telechines, bought him up). When Metis had given Cronos the emetic which released his children, Poseidon helped Zeus to overthrow the Titans and bind them in Tatarus. then the three sons of Cronos divided the universe between them, leaving earth and Olympus as common ground: to Poseidon's lot fell the sea, into which 9in a variant of his usual birth-story) Cronos had flung him as soon as he emerged from Rhea's womb. Zeus was given the supreme rank-Homer calls him the eldest brother-but Poseidon frequently rebelled, acknowledging himself beaten only in extremity. Once he even made a plot with Hera and Athena to overthrow Zeus, and they bound him up; but Thetis saved Zeus by fetching Briateos from Tartarus to release him.

Most of Poseidon's children, both human and divine, inherited his violence. His wife was said to be Amphitrite, a daughter of Nereus or Oceanus. When Poseidon courted her, she took fright and fled to Atlas. Delphin, a dolphin-like sea creature, found her and persuaded her to marry Poseidon, in reward for which he was placed in heaven as a constellation. Amphitrite gave her husband three children, Triton, Rhode, and Benthescyme. But he had a great many other children by goddesses, nymphs, and mortal women. He also took Demeter in the form of a horse, since she, to avoid him, had become a mare (perhaps she as the original consort as the relationship between the names suggests), and she bore him the divine horse and a daughter Desponia. Poseidon also loved the Gorgon Medusa, while she was still a beautiful woman; he made love to her in a temple of Athena, in consequence of which the virgin goddess turned her into a repulsive monster and helped Perseus to kill her. From the severed head of Medusa, who had been pregnant by Poseidon, sprang Chrysaor and the winged horse Pegasus. Poseidon also begot the giant Antaeus on his grandmother Gaia; other giants whom he fathered included Otis and Ephialtes, who tried to storm Olympus, and Polyphemus the Cyclops, whose binding by Odysseus caused Poseidon to pursue the perpetrator of the deed with implacable htred. further children of Poseidon were of normal sixe, but ferocious nature: Cercyon and Sciron, evil-doers killed by another one of his sons, >I>Thesus; Amycus, put to death bu Zeus' son Polydeuces; and Busiris, slain by Heracles.

More ordinary mortals claiming Poseidon as their father included his sons by Epaphus' daughter Libya, namely Belus. faous of all, whose mother was Aethra and reputed father Aegeus; the great seafarer Nauplius, son of Amymone; Pelias and Nauplius, son of Tyro; Cycnus, son of Calyce. king of Colonac; and many others.

Prometheus: Helper of Mankind

A Titan, the son of Iapetus and of Themis (or Clymene, daughter of Oceanus). He was the mythical archrebel and champion of mankind against the hostility of the gods; his name, meaning 'forethought', illustrates his character. In the earliest form of the story he was probably nothing more than a clever trickster who outwitted Zeus. But Greek writers, especially Hesiod in his Theogony and Aeschylus in Prometheus Bound, developed him into man's creator and saviour, whereas Zeus (subject to the further developments in the rest of Aeschylus' Promethean trilogy) appeared as a cruel tyrant.

In the battle between the gods and Titans, resulting in Zeus' imprisonment of his foes in Tartarus, Prometheus who, as his name indicates, had knowledge of what was to come, advised the Titans to use cunning; when they ignored his advise, he joined Zeus' side. After the battle, however, Prometheus found himself at loggerheads with Zeus over mankind. According to Hesiod's story, Prometheus himself created the human race, out of clay he found at Panopea in Boeotia; as a mastercraftsman, he was able to mold the figures, and Athena helped him by breathing life into them. (According to some accounts he showed the individual models to Zeus for approval, but ommited to do so in the case of one particularly beautiful boy, called Phaenon ('shining bright'). When Zeus discovered the omission he carried the boy to heaven and turned him into the planet now known as Jupiter). However, because of the faults of mortal men, Zeus determined to deatroy them, or so Prometheus thought, and make a new and better creature instead. At all events Zeus started by depriving them of fire. He also tried to starve them by demanding offerings of the best of man's food; but Prometheus defeated his attempt by the following trick. At Mecone (afterwards Sicyon) a meeting was arranged between the gods and men to determine which part of the victuals should be set aside for the gods. Prometheus, as arbiter, produced an ox and carved it up, dividing the meat into two bundles. One, consisting of the entrails, he wrapped in fat; but it was the other, contained in the stomach, which was the choicer of the two. He then told Zeus to choose a bundle. Zeus, thinking he had seen through the deception, fell into the trap, for he chose the fatty bundle; and for this reason, from then onwards the sacrifices offered by mankind always consisted of the fat and entrails.

It was now Zeus, in his anger, decided to deprive men of fire. Prometheus rebelled against this decree by secretly taking fire in the stalk of a fennel plant from Olympus, or from Hephaestus' forge, and bringing it to mankind (he also taught them many other arts, such as metalwork) and at the same time deprived them of knowledge of the future, which they had previously possessed, lest it should break their hearts. By night Zeus, seeing the earth covered with a myrad of glowing lights, fell into a great rage, and summoned his servants Cratos and Bia, together with Hephaetus, to arrest Prometheus and chain him to a mountain peak (perhaps Caucasus) at the edge of the stream of Ocean, far from mankind. There he sent his eagle everyday to gnaw at the prisoner's liver, which grew whole again every night; for Prometheus, being a Titan, was immortal (or, according to one tradition, Chiron, when he died, had transferred his own immortality to him). Then, according to Aeschylus, when Zeus first heard Prometheus taunting him and refusing to disclose the secret of his safety, he flung a thunderbolt at the rock where his captive lay bound, so that he was driven to Tartarus, rock and all.

Finally, after long ages, Zeus allowed Prometheus to be freed in exchange for a vital peice of information-that it was fated the son of Thetis (whom both Zeus and Poseidon had long been pursuing) should be greater than his father. Then Heracles, son of Zeus, came and shot the eagle, and freed the captive from his bonds. In exchange for this favour, it was asserted that Prometheus advise Heracles how best to obtain the apple of Hesperides, which he was then seeking: he should send Atlas to fetch them and offer to carry the sky for him in his absence. Had he not recieved Prometheus' information Zeus would have wedded thetis and been overthrown by a more powerful son, just as he had overthrown Cronos

there was also another story of the gods' cruelty to men, according to which they created the first woman, Pandora (until then only men had existed, made from clay by Prometheus), giving her all kinds of evil traits, but making her seductive and beautiful. They presented her to Prometheus' gullible brother epimetheus, who, in spite of Prometheus' frequent warnings, accepted her. Her daughter Pyrrha married Deucalion, the onlyman to survive the flood, in which Zeus wiped out all the rest of Prometheus' creations. Some said that it was Prometheus who told Deucalion and Pyrrha to throw thier mother's bones over their shoulders so as to remake the human race; though others attributed the advise to his mother Themis. She was also believed to have been Promttheus' original teacher of wisdom.

Prometheus was worshipped in Attica as a God of craftsmen. his wife was very variously named.(17)


The tale of Cupid (Eros, Amor) and Psyche, known to us from a story told in Apuleius' Metamorphoses, is a romntic myth containing many familiar elements of folk-tale and fairy-stories.

A certain king had three daughters. The youngest, Psyche, was so beautiful thatt the people ceased to worship Venus (Aphrodite) and turned their adoration to the girl, who would, however, rather have recieved offers of marriage than divine honors. Venus herself, enraged by the princess's usurpation of her rites, however involuntary, resolved to punish her. She ordered her son Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with the ugliest creature he could find. When he saw her, however, he fell in love with her himself, and he could not obey his mother's command. He asked Apollo to give Psyche's father an oracle that she must get ready for marriage and stand, decked in her wedding gown, upon a lonely mountain peak, where an evil spirit would take her for his wife.In great sorrow the king obeyed. Psyche, however, was wafted on the gentle breeze of Zephyrus down from the mountain to a hidden valley, in which she saw a fairy palace with jewelled gates and golden floors. She entered and was waited upon by unseen hands. A friendly voice guided her round and advised her that she needed fear nothing. When night came she went to bed, where she was joined by Cupid in human form. He told her that he was her husband, and that she would enjoy the happiest of lives if only she would refrain from seeking to find out who he was or trying to see him: if she did not obey, her baby would be denied the immortality it would otherwise inherit.

She began to love him deeply. Nevertheless after a few days she felt lonely-since she saw no one-and asked her unseen husband if she might be visited by her sisters. With great reluctance he agreed to fetch them; but at the same time he warned her not to listen to any questioning from them about his identity. The west wind Zephyrus wafted to them, as he had wafted to Psyche, to the palace and, as soon as they saw it, they were madly jealous. On a second visit her sisters discovered that Psyche had never seen her husband, and terrified her into believing he would turn into a serpent which might creep into her womb and devour her and her baby. Torn at first between the warnings of her husband and the importunity of her sisters, she finally gave in to her curiosity and fear, and when she next went to bed for the night took a lantern and a dagger with her. After Cupid had fallen asleep, she lit the lamp and held it to his face, raising the dagger to slay him. But when she saw the beautiful features of the God of Love she was so startled that she let a drop of hot oil from the lamp fall down on his shoulder, and he awoke. Realising that Psyche now knew who he was and that his secret would be out, Cupid rose and flew away.

Psyche, in despair, searched everywhere for him, but in vain. When her sisters learnt of her husbands identity, they too wanted to marry him, but when seeking to imitate her, they leapt off the mountain in wedding gowns, they fell to their deaths on the rocks below. Meanwhile, Psyche wandered about in search of Cupid, and, after recieving no help from Juno (Hera) or Ceres (Demeter), who could not assist an enemy against their fellow-goddess Venus, she came to the palace where Venus herself was living. The Goddess let her in but made hr a slave and set her to preform impossible tasks. First she had to sort out a roomful of assorted grains before nightfall; a colony of ants came to her assistance by dividing the grains into piles. Next Venus told Psyche to bring back a hank of wool from a flock of man-eating sheep; this time a reed told her how to obtain the wool, when the sheep were asleep in the afternoon. Then Psyche had to fill a jug owith the water of the River Styx in a mountainous part of Arcadia; an eagle which owed Cupid a favour turned up in time and fetched the water. Lastley she had to obtain a jar containing beauty from Proserpina (Persephone).Psyche saw that this order meant that she must perish, for Proserpina was Queen of hte Underworld; so she climbed a high tower; resolving to leap to her death. The tower, however, addresses her and gave her careful instructions how to achieve her task. She entered the house of Hades by way of Taenarum in the Peloponnese, carrying two obols and two cakes. With these she twice placated Charon and Cereberus, at the same time escaping a number of traps that Venus had set for her. Proserpina offered her a chair and a meal, but she wisely sat on the ground and ate only bread. The Goddess also gave her a jar in response to Venus' request, carefully sealed. And now Cupid, who desperately missed his lost wife, approached Jupiter's throne and made a clean breast of his disobedience, pleading that Psyche had been punished enough and begging that he might be allowed to make her his lawful wife. Jupiter consented. Meanwhile, however, Psyche, as she approached the passage leading back to th upper world, felt herself overcome by curiosity and so greatly desired to win back Cupid;s love that she was unable to resist opening the jar she had been given, ignoring the advise of the tower that she should do no such thing; whereupon she was overcome by the deathly sleep which was what the jar really contained. It was in this dondition that Cupid now found her, but he brought her back to life and carried her up to Olympus. The marriage of Cupid and Psyche was celebrated by the Gods. Venus forgot her anger, and Jupiter himself handed her a drink of nectar which made her immortal. She bore Cupid a daughter, Voluptas (Pleasure).(18)

Rhiannon: Celtic Moon Goddess

Known in the Celtic pantheon as the Moon Goddess, Rhiannon was also Protectoress of the Animals and closely associated with horses. Rhiannon rode a white horse so fast that no man could catch her.

Myths state that Rhiannon had been promised in marriage to an older man. She refused and married a mortal prince named Pwyll. After she married him there was fighting among her people and the family of the original suitor. To end the conflict she left the enchanted land of Fey with Pwyll.

They had a son who was kidnapped. The blame fell on Rhiannon, being framed by the maidservants who had fallen asleep instead of watching the child. She was sentenced to carry visitors to the castle from the outer gate while announcing her crime for seven years. Eventually she was cleared of the crime when her son returned, but she bore her punishment with grace and dignity. Humility and forgiveness are Rhiannon's greatest traits.

In Celtic lore Rhiannon can also be seen as Vivianne, the Lady of the Lake in Arthurian legends.(19)

Zeus: Supreme Ruler of the Gods

The supreme ruler of the Greek gods. The etymology of his name-he is one of the few major Greek gods whose name is Indo-European-associates him with the heavens; it is cognate with the Sanscrit dyaus div-(sky), Latin des ('day'), and the first syllable of Jupiter ('Father Sky'), with whom later the Romans identified him. Though Zeus' name may originally have designated the daytime brightness of the sky, he appeared always to have been a weathergod, particularly responsible for rain, hail, snow, and thunder. Thunderbolts were his constant and infallible weapons; and one of his commonest Homeric epithets was 'Gatherer of Clouds'. Consequently the Greeks came to believe that he lived on a mountain, namely Olympus (by origin a non-Greek word). However it is clear-for example, from the myth of Otus and Ephialtes who piled other mountains on top of Olympus to reach the gods in heaven-that the Greeks must have very early abandoned their literal belief that Zeus lived on the summit of the mountain. In the Iliad he sometimes sits on the peak of Mount Ida to observe the fighting at Troy.

Zeus' functions were generalized at a very early time, and every aspect of the affairs of the Universe was considered to be under his jurisdiction. He was commonly, and especially by Homer, called 'father of gods and men'. In the strict sense he was not their father; several gods were his brothers, sisters, or distant relations; and he did not create or beget mankind, who were formed by Prometheus out of clay, and recieved the breath of life from Athena. His 'fatherhood' must therefore be interperted in the sense of the master of a household; Zeus was a king, and human kings were under his special protection. Thus in the Iliad Agamemnon is described as having a sceptre which Hephaestus had made for Zeus and Zeus had given it to Pelops

Zeus was therefore the protector of the city's integrety: Zeus Polieus ('god of the state') corresponds with his female counterpart, dating from pre-Greek times, Athens Polias. Zeus was also the interpreter of destiny: he held up a pair of scales, in which he tested the fates of men, ensuring that when a man was doomed to die, not even his own affection for a dear son such as the Lycian hero Sarpedon, could prevail upon him to annul this fated doom. In this respect Zeus was also a giver of portents: his sacred oak tree at Dodona in Epirus told mortals of the future, and thunder and lightning too were regarded as omens. Zeus protected strangers and travellers and severly punished those who broke the laws of hospitality. He was therefore called Zeus Xenios, 'protector of strangers'. When Paris, as a guest of Menelaus stole his wife Helen, Zeus was determined that he should not escape scot-free, even though he had acted on the instigation of a powerful goddess, Aphrodite.

Hades was sometimes called Zeus Katachthonios, 'Zeus of the Underworld', a title implying that the Greeks saw the name Zeus as signifying 'ruler' and 'king'. In fact, the Underworld was the one realm where Olympian Zeus was, believed to have interfered very little, though he did adjucate between Hades and Demeter over the rape of Persephone. In the visual arts he was portrayed witha beard, and his most famous statue of all, carved by Phidias and installed in the temple of Zeus at Olympia, showed him seated upon his throne. sometimes he appeared helmeted, and generally he carried one of his thunderbolts, in the form of a winged spear; frequently, too, he wore the aegis, a tasselled breastplate or apron of goatskin. He was accompanied by his attendant bird, the eagle. Other characteristics of Zeus are indicated by his titles Meilichios, 'the mild', Ktesios, 'protector of property', Herkeios, 'of the courtyard' i.e. the protector of the household, and Hikesios, 'protector of suppliants'; for any violation of the immunity of any man who asked for the protection of the gods, or any infringement of the right of sanctuary at their altars, was punished by the wrath of Zeus. In this respect he was also called Soter, 'protector, saviour'.

According to Homer, Zeus was the eldest, according to Hesiod and other ancient authorities the youngest, of the six children of Cronos and Rhea. Hesiod's account, given in the Theogony, tells how Cronos, in jealousy and fear of a rival, swallowed all his offspring until the exasperated Rhea, helped by her mother Gaia (Earth) who had herself suffered similar injury from her husband Uranus, dressed a great stone in swaddling clothes for Cronos to swallow, and smuggled Zeus, her last baby, to Crete, where the nymphs took charge of him, hiding him in a cave at Lyctus (Lyttus). There he was fed on the milk of the goat Amalthea, and the Curetes danced wild dances outside the cave, clashing their weapons together to hide the baby's cries from his suspicious father. According to the Arcadian version, Zeus was born on Mount Lycaeus in Arcadia and from there taken to Lyctus, but the Cretans asserted that he was born in a cave on Mount Ida or Mount Dicte.

When Zeus reached manhood, he determined to ovetthrow his tyrannical father, and courted the wise Titaness Metis, whom he persusded to put an emetic in Crono's drink. Cronos accordingly brought up the five children he had swallowed, as well as the great stone which had been substituted fo Zeus; it was placed at Delphi at the centre of the earth, and became known as the earth's navel. With the help of his brothers Poseidon and Hades, and of Gaia's sons the Cyclopes who forged Zeus' thunderbolts, and the three Hundred Armed giants Cottus, Briareos and Gyes, Zeus overthrew Cronos and those of his brother Titans who supported him, in a conflict lasting ten years, and confined them in the depths of Tartarus, where the Hundred-Armed giants guarded them ever after.

The three divine brothers Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades now decided to divide the Universe between them, drawing lots for three different realms. Zeus became lord of the sky, Poseidon of the sea, and Hades of the Underworld. Mount Olympus and the earth were regarded as common territory, though Hades very seldom visited them. Zeus' paramountcy was also recognized, as he had led the revolt against Cronos and the Titans and had rescued his brothers from their father's belly. Some versions said that it was in gratitude for this that the other gods elected him to be their ruler.

As the Greeks did not at any stage practice polygamy, they rejected the notion of a polygamous Zeus. Nevertheless they possessed widespread traditions according to which Zeus begot a large number of children on various goddesses, nymphs, and women. Many o the goddesses he took as partners were originally earth divinities, for the mrriage of the sky-god with the earth-goddess appears to have been a basic image of Greek religion, linking (according to one palusable theory) the male-oriented society of the Indo-European immigrants with their new homes on the Mediterranean where a mother-goddess had previously been the chief deity. The solution finally adopted by the Greeks regarding Zeus' numerous mistresses was to suppose that he first married a number of goddesses, one after the other, before eventually settling down to a permanant marriage with Hera; and that subsequently he had many extra-marital relationships both with goddesses and with mortal women.

His first wife was the Oceanid Metis, whose name means 'thought'. When she was pregnant for the first time, Zeus learnt from Gaia that if she concieved again the infant would turn out to be a god superior to Zeus himself, who would replace him as ruler of the Universe. For this reason-and because he wished to acquire his wife's wisdom-Zeus swallowed her, together with the baby in her womb. The embryo grew inside Zeus and eventually emerged from his head (after Hephaestus had cloven it open with an axe) as the fully grown, fully armed warrior-maiden Athena. His next wife was the oracular Titaness Themis, an earth-goddess, whose children by him were the Hours and the Fates. Subsequently he left Themis for Eurynome, another Oceanid, who bore the Graces and other daughters; after which his sister Demeter, goddess of the earth and its fruits, bore him Persephone. Next he took the Titaness Mnemosyne ('memory'), who gave birth to the Nine Muses. Then, according to some, he made love to Leto, who bore him Apollo and Artemis. Hera, another of his sisters, whom Tethys had taken into her care during the war with the Titans, now became his last, permanant wife, and presented him with three children, Ares, Hebe, and Ilithyia. Zeus had another consort, Dione, whom Homer calls th mother of Aphrodite: she may have been a little more that a local form of Hera, for her name is a byform of Zeus' own and simply means 'Zeus' wife'.

Zeus also had another divine mistress, Maia, the Pleiad, who bore him Hermes. Of her Hera showed no jealousy; generally speaking, however, she pursued all his mistresses, whether nymphs or mortals, with unremitting fury, whenever she was able to identify them. (When she herself produced Hephaestus without male cooperation, she did this, according to some accounts, out of spite because of Zeus' unaided creation of Athena.) As for the beautiful Nereid Thetis, both Zeus and Poseidon noticed her charms and vied to seduce her. Just in time, however, Zeus learnt from the titan Prometheus that the son of Thetis was destined to be greater than his father, and in consequence he hastily married her to a mortal, Peleus, lest he be supplanted by a more powerful son. Years before, Zeus had punished Pronetheus by fastening him to a high rock by the edge of the Ocean and causing an eagle to devour his liver each day. This torture was the price of Prometheus' championship of mankind, against Zeus' hostility. For after the creation of human beings at Prometheus' hands Zeus had wished to destroy them and had ordained that their life should be uncomfortable and short. To console his creatures, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to men. He also tricked Zeus into choosing the inferior share of the meat when there were sacrifices, and, when Zeus intended to destroy the whole race by a flood, warned his son Deucalion to build a ship. For this opposition to his plans, Zeus had ordered that Prometheus should be confined and tortured, until, ages later, Heracles freed him, and it was now that Zeus learnt from Prometheus the dangers of a union with Thetis.

Zeus had determined to destroy the human race in the flood because of the impiety of the Arcadian king Lycaon, who tried to serve human flesh to th gods. He later consigned Tantalus to Tartarus for the same sin, and for revealing the gods secrets to men. Ixion suffered likewise for betraying Zeus' hospitality and for trying to seduce Hera. Zeus also slew Asclepius, for breaking his universal law by the raising of the dead: in response, Apollo tried t avenge his son by killing the Cyclopes who made Zeus' thunderbolts. Zeus mearly destroyed Apollo on the spot, but at Leto's entreaty relented and simply made Apollo serve a mortal man, Admetus, for a year.

Zeus had difficulties with the gods, and punished them firmly when they transgressed. When Hera, Poseidon, and Athena rebelled and tried to throw him in chains, he was rescued by Thetis, who fetched Briareos from Tartarus to save him. When Hera once went too far in her persecution of Heracles, he suspended her from heaven, her feet weighted down by an anvil. He also flung Hephaestus out of Olympus for trying to help his mother in her predicament. He made both Apollo and Poseidon act as slaves to Laomedon for some rebellious act. He was also relentless in his punishment of human wrong-doers, particularly those who arrogated his majesty to themselves, such as Salmoneus or Ceyx.

The first mortal woman whom Zeus seduced was Niobe, daughter of Phoroneus, king of Argos. He also had desogns on another Argive woman, Io, whom Hera for a long time persecuted; Io finally bore him a son, Eoaphus, ancestor of the kings of Egypt. He took Europa, a Palestinian princess, in the form of a bull, and carried her off on his back to Crete. Zeus generally appeared to mortal women in the form either of an animal or of an ordinary man. However, after his seduction of Semele, mother of Dionysus, Hera tricked the girl into asking him to prove his identity by appearing in his true form, and she was shrivelled to a cinder at the sight; Zeus then had to carry the embryo of Dionysus in his own thigh until it was ready for birth. He visited Danae,, the mother of Perseus, and made love to her in the form of a shower of gold, since her father Acrisus had locked her up in a tower. He seduced Leda, mother of Helen and the Dioscuri, in the form of a swan. Helen was therefore born in an egg. By Antiope Zeus was the father of Amphion and Zethus, kings of Thebes. His last mortal mistress, to whom he came in the form of her own husband Amphitryon, was Alcmena, mother of Heracles-the hero destined to save the gods in their decisive war with the giants.

For Gaia, the Earth, was by now as weary of Zeus' high-handed ways as she had been of those of Uranus and Cronos. Dhe therefore brought forth the race of giants, who attacked Olympus. She also produced a herb, which, if the giants had eaten it, would have rendered them immortal and invincible; but Zeus prevented the sun, moon, and stars from shining so that they could not find the plant, and he himself found it instead in the darkness. Nevertheless it was only with the help of a mortal hero that the gods could vanquish these giants; and Zeus' mortal son heracles stood by and finished each of them off with a poisoned arrow, since none of the gods had the power to put them to death.

After the failure of this attempt to overthrow Zeus, Gaia again concieved, and now produced the most dagerous monster Typhon. Zeus was nearly defeated by this creature, but finally buried him beneath the island of Sicily. The last external threat to Zeus' authority was the assault mounted by Otus and Ephialtes, who piled up the mountains Ossa, Pelion, and Olympus to reach the gods in heaven. They were defeated by Apollo, and Artemis and Zeus consigned them to the depths of Tartarus.