The Thirteen Goddesses

In the beginning was the Mother. As far back as 30,000 years ago, the people of the earth worshipped a female deity. In cultures around the world, the Goddess has been revered in myriad forms, in temple and grove, cathedral and cave. She has been celebrated and venerated through ritual, myth, and art. — The Goddess

Here are brief descriptions of the thirteen goddesses after whom the months in the McKenna-Meyer Goddess Calendar are named.

1. Athena (a.k.a. Athene) is the "Greek goddess of wisdom, of household arts and crafts, of spinning and weaving, of textiles. Inventor of the flute, the plough and the ox-yoke, the horse bridle and the chariot." — Pallas Athena, Goddess of Wisdom. (See also Athene, Athene, and Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom and Craftsmanship)

2. Brigid "is the Celtic Goddess of poetry, healing and craft (especially metalcraft). She is the inspiration to all bards and artisans, scholars and any who work with words." — Brigid  (See also Bride, Bride Tale and Brighid)

3. Cerridwen "is the Welsh grain and sow-goddess, keeper of the cauldron of inspiration and goddess of transformation." — Cerridwen  (See also Cerridwen, Goddess Cerridwyn and Cerridwen: Keeper of the Cauldron)

4. Diana "is the Roman goddess of the wild places who protects women and girls, especially virgins. ... [She] loves forests and the hunt, is the patroness of childbirth, and is associated with the light of the moon. The Romans recognized three aspects of her — as the Moon-goddess, they called her Luna; as an underworld deity of magic, Hekate; and as the huntress-goddess, Diana." — Diana  (See also Diana and Diana/Artemis)

5. Epona is a Celtic and Roman goddess of fertility and a protector of horses and their owners. (See Epona, the Gaulish Horse Goddess and

6. Freya (a.k.a. Freyja) is "a Norse goddess of love and fertility, war and wealth. Her attributes include a famous necklace named Brisingamen, acquired from the dwarves by sleeping with them, a cloak with the property of allowing her to transform into a bird, and a chariot driven by large cats." — Freya (See also Freyja, Freyja, Freyja — Goddess of Abundance and Fertility and Lakshmi, Venus and Freya)

7. Gaea (pronounced Jee-ah; a.k.a. Gaia) "is the ancient Greek Goddess of the Earth, ... the Mother of All, who nourishes and cares for Her children, and brings rich blessings. As Goddess of the Earth, She was also an Underworld goddess who brought all Her creations back to Her and destroyed as well as created." — Gaea  (See also Gaia)

8. Hathor (pronounced Hat-hor) "is the Ancient Egyptian sky- and mother goddess, who is ... goddess of women, love and joy, music, dance, celebration and beauty. She protects women and is present whenever they beautify themselves. She blesses women with fertility, and many of the ritual objects associated with Her ... also have an erotic significance, and in fact the Greeks identified Her with their Aphrodite." — Hathor  (See also Hathor — Lady of heaven and Hathor)

9. Inanna "is the Sumerian Great Goddess and forerunner of the Babylonian Ishtar, with whom She shares similar legends. ... [She] is the First Daughter of the Moon, and the Star of Morning and Evening, ... is linked to the planet Venus and is a love-goddess. Her wedding to the Shepherd Dumuzi was celebrated on the first day of the new year as a sacred marriage rite, and Her legends show Her to be a woman of powerful sexuality." — Innana (See also Inanna)

10. Juno is "the Goddess of marriage, pregnancy and childbirth ... an embodiment of the traditional female roles of wife and mother." — Juno (See also Juno, Goddess of Marriage)

11. Kore "Kore and Demeter are thought of as two faces of the same goddess, and with Persephone, Kore's name as Queen of the Underworld, they make up the classic Triple Goddess — Kore (whose name means simply 'The Maiden'), Demeter ('Earth/Barley Mother') and Persephone ('Destroyer of Light'), the Crone or Death-goddess. Within Herself, the Goddess (and Woman) contains the whole cycle of life, from birth to death to rebirth. ... The journey of the Great Goddess through death and rebirth formed the basis of the famed cult of the Eleusinian Mysteries ..." — Kore  (See also Kore Tale)

12. Lilith is a Sumerian/Babylonian demon-goddess (see Lilith).
Lilith has returned. To effect a reconciliation with her, man must not seek to rape the feminine and keep it down under him. If he seeks to continue his domination of nature through genetic engineering and the repression of the spiritual, he will ensure that the only release from his delusion can come from destruction. Lilith will then dance in the ruins of Western civilization. But if man can accept initiation to see that Lilith is his long-lost primordial wife, then the energies of destruction can be transmuted and taken up into the creative destructuring of the old civilization, the industrial civilization that humanity has already outgrown. — William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light
13. Maria Every now and then a living goddess appears, and in the 20th C. we had Maria Callas, perhaps best known for her 84 performances as Norma, the Druid high priestess in Bellini's opera of the same name, in which she famously sings a prayer to the Moon Goddess, Casta Diva ('chaste goddess'). Maria is also the Latin name of the goddess Mary, portrayed as a sexless virgin, but as a devoted mother, by a dour patriarchal Christian Church. And there's Mary Magdalen, the esoteric initiate of Jesus. (See also The Tradition of Mary, the Great Goddess)

Images of goddesses can be found at Martina Hoffmann's Visionary Art Website.

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