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The Goddess

The Goddess, along with the God forms half of the Wiccan concept of Deity. She is threefold in her aspects of Maiden, Mother, and Crone. The Maiden is represented by the waxing moon, the Mother by the Full Moon, and the Crone by the waning moon. The New Moon, to some, represents a fourth face of the Goddess, known to the Greeks as Hectate. This Dark Goddess embodies destruction as the Bright Goddess embodies creation, but neither is "good" or "evil" as both are necessary for growth to occur. In traditions that do not recognize the fourth face, creativeity and destructive power are intertwined in all three aspects of the Goddess.

The Goddess corresponds to the elements Water and Air, yin, negative energy (note that negative does not mean "bad" but rather the opposite of "positive" as in the poles on a battery), and the Moon.

In more conservative traditions, the Goddess and the God are given equal recognition. However, most Wiccans give more weight to the Goddess simply because She is what differentiates Wicca from most mainstream organized religions. This is also the reason why Wicca is percieved by the public as a woman's religion.
Naturally, the threefold Goddess is only one of the myriad ways She has been worshipped over the centuries, as is evident in the plethora of Goddess names used by various cultures. While theologies vary widely among Wiccans, most consider the name of the Goddess to refer to one facet of a larger whole; one Goddess, many names.
For a further explanation of the division of Deity in Wicca, see my discussion of the pentagram.

Here is a sampling of Goddess names from various cultures: Adapted from Silver Ravenwolf's To Ride a Silver Broomstick

Aphrodite: Greek Goddess of passionate love, including sexual love.
Aradia: Italian Queen of the Witches, along with Cerridwen, probably the most invoked Goddess in Wicca. She is the daughter of Diana and Lucifer.
Arianrhod: Welsh Star Goddess, also Goddess of reincarnation. She is called on for help in retreiving past life memories and astral travel.
Artemis: One aspect of the Greek threefold Goddess of the Moon (the other two are Hectate and Diana/Selene). In this aspect, she is primarily a huntress, and the twin of Apollo.
Astarte: Greek Fertility Goddess who protects mothers, children and gardens. Also called Ishtar.
Athena: Greek Goddess of Wisdom, also a warrior Goddess. Athena was born full grown from the head of Zeus, and has no mother.
Bast: Egyptian Goddess of protection and cats. Bast protects travellers in the form of a cat, or panther.
Brigid: Celtic Warrior Goddess and Protectress, a threefold Goddess. Her name also means "bride." She is known for strength and wisdom.
Ceres: Roman Goddess of the Harvest (see Demeter).
Cerridwen: Welsh Moon, Harvest, and Mother Goddess. Next to Aradia, one of the most invoked Goddesses by Wiccans. She is very powerful.
Demeter: Greek Goddess of the Corn, and Earth Mother archetype. She created the winter months while she was in mourning for her daughter Persephone (Kore), the Maiden of Spring.
Diana: Roman Moon Goddess/Huntress. Originally the Roman version of Selene, she gradually evolved into a Goddess in her own right. Inthe form of a cat, she enchanted her brother Lucifer and gave birth to Aradia (Queen of the Witches) and is therefore a mother figure as well.
Dryads: Greek tree spirits.
Flora: Roman Goddess of the Spring, from her name we get the Latin word for "plants." She watches over flowers and babies.
Fortuna: Scandinavian Moon goddess, the wife of Odin and commander of the Valkyries. As her ame indicates, she can bring good luck.
Hathor: Egyptian Protectress of women in business. Her symbol is a disk between two horns, although later pictures of Isis show her wearing this headress instead.
Hectate: Greek Goddess of the Dark of the Moon. She is the Crone in the Artemis/Selene/Hectate triumvurate.
Hera: Greek Goddess of marriage, she protects wives. Because her husband Zeus was a bit of a philanderer, she has a tendancy to be vindictive!
Hestia: Greek Goddess of the Hearth, she is the one to call on when you need protection for your home.
Innana: Sumerian Mother Goddess, she is extremely powerful.
Isis: Egyptian, possibly the most complete Goddess ever concieved, she is the Triple Goddess in one being.
Kali: indu Creatrix/Desrtuctrix. Protects abused women, her power can be terrible if used in anger.
Lilith: Hebrew, Adam's first wife, later turned into a demoness by the Deuteronomists (authors of the Torah). Adam rejected her because she enjoyed being on top during sex, and is therefore a representation of passionate female power.
Maat: Egyptian Goddess of Justice. She plays no favorite, so be sure your own slate is clean when you call on her to resolve a problem!
Morgan: Celtic Goddess of Water and Magick. Said variously to be Merlins wife or sister, also associated with the Lady of the Lake.
Muses: Greek, the nine sister Goddesses of Inspiration in the arts.
Nephtys: Egyptian, Goddess of Surprises, Sisters, Midwives.
Norns: Celtic, the three sisters of the Wyrd, also called the Fates. One is responsible for spinning the thread of destiny, the other for weaving it, and the third for cutting it.
Nuit: Egyptian sky Goddess, it is fromher that we get the word "night."
Persephone: Greek, also called Persipone and Kore. Demeter's daughter, the Maiden of Spring until she was abducted by Hades to become Queen of the Underworld during the winter months.
Selene: Greek, the third in the moon Goddess triumvurate, she is the Full Moon and the Mother aspect. Because of the Moon's cool light, she is also the Goddess of Reason.
Valkyries: Scandinavian warrior Goddesses who carried the souls of men in battle to heaven.
Venus: Roman equivalent of Aprhodite, Goddess of Love and Romance.
Vesta: Roman equivalent of Hestia, also a Fire Goddess.

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