From the earliest ages, the concept of the Great Goddess was a trinity
and the model for all subsequent trinities, female, male, or mixed.
Anatolian villages in the 7th millenium B.C. worshipped a Goddess in
three aspects-as a young woman, a birth-giving matron, and an old
woman.1 This typical Virgin-Mother-Crone combination was Parvati-
Durga-Uma (Kali) in India, Ana-Babd-Macha (the Morrigan) in
Ireland, or in Greece Hebe-Hera-Hecate, the three Moerae, the
three Gorgons, the three Graeae, the three Horae, etc. Among the
Vikings, the threefold Goddess appeared as the Norns; among the
Romans, as the Fates or Fortunae; among the druids, as Diana
Triformis. The Triple Goddess had more than three: she had
hundreds of forms.

Pre-Roman Latium worshipped her as the Capitoline Triad under
the collective name of Uni, “The One,” a cognate of yoni. Her three
personae were Juventas the Virgin, Juno the Mother, and Menarva or
Minerva the wise Crone. Under the empire, Juventas was ousted to
make room for a masculine member of the trinity, Jupiter.2 Some
modern scholars refer to the two-female, one-male Capitoline Triad
of the later period as “three gods”-as if they might describe a group of
two women and one man as “three men.” 3
Cumont says, “Oriental theologians developed the idea that the
world forms a trinity; it is three in one and one in three.” 5 The
masculine scholar substitutes the neuter “world” for “Goddess,” though
they were in a sense synonymous. It was she who established the
trinitarian form of Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer. Even though
Brahmans evolved a male trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva to
play these parts, Tantric scriptures insisted that the Triple Goddess had
created these three gods in the first place.6
The three aspects of the Goddess were personified on earth by
three kinds of priestesses: Yogini, Matri, Dakini-nubile virgins,
mothers, and elder women. These were sometimes called “deities of
nature.” Manifestations qf the Triple Goddess were known as The
Three Most Precious Ones. 7
Negritos of the Malay Peninsula remembered the Goddess as Kari,
a virgin who conceived the first man and woman by eating her own
lotus; yet she was also a trinity called the “three grandmothers under the
earth.” 8
Even in pre-Columbian Mexico the Virgin Goddess who gave
birth to the Savior Quetzalcoatl was a trinity, one of “three divine
sisters.” Like the Semitic Mary, she was a birth-giver, mother, and
death-bringer all at once, for she was also known as the Precious
Stone of Sacrifice, apparently represented by the altar on which her
savior-son’s blood was poured out.9
Mother of the Greek gods was a trinity composed of Virgin Hebe,
Mother Hera, and Crone Hecate; at Stymphalus she was worshipped
as Child, Bride, and Widow.10 Each of her personae could be a
trinity again, so she could be the Muses or the Ninefold Goddess.
Hecate was called Triformis and shown with three faces, each a lunar
phase. 11 Among the Irish she was the Triple Morrigan, or Morgan,
sometimes multiplied into “nine sisters” who kept the Cauldron of
Regeneration and ruled the western isle of the dead. 12
The Goddess Triformis ruled heaven as Virgin, earth as Mother,
and the underworld as Crone, or Hel, or Queen of the Shades. This
was remembered even in Chaucer’s time, for his Palamon invoked her
“Three Forms,” Luna in heaven, Diana on earth, Proserpine in
hell. 13 The old name of Sicily, Trinacria, invoked her as a “center of the
earth” with three realms.
Bardic romances abounded in manifestations of the Triple Goddess.
Wayland the Smith married her, after she first appeared to him
as three magic doves. 14 King Arthur went to Avalon with her. The
triadic Guinevere was another version of her. Sir Marhaus (Mars)
encountered her as the Three Damosels at their magic fountain: the
eldest “threescore winters of age, wearing a garland of gold; the
second thirty winters of age, wearing a circlet of gold; the youngest
fifteen winters of age, wearing a wreath of flowers.” 15 Fifteen was the
number of the pagan Virgin Kore, the pentacle in the apple. Mythic
virgin mothers, like that of Zoroaster, typically gave birth at the age of
15. Double that was the Mother’s age, double again the age of the
The Middle East had many trinities, most originally female. As
time went on, one or two members of the triad turned male. The
usual pattern was Father-Mother-Son, the Son figure envisioned as a
The notion of a trinity appeared during the 14th century B.C.
among the Hatti and Mitanni. In the 5th century B.C., a popular
Babylonian trinity was composed of Shamash, Sin, and Ishtar-Sun,
Moon, and Star. In Greece this was repeated as Helios the sun,
Selene the moon, and Aphrodite the star. A Father-Mother-Son trinity
was worshipped at Costopitum as Jupiter Dolichenus, Celestial
Brigantia, and Salus.17
Gnostic versions of the trinity followed the Father-Mother-Son
patterns of the contemporary east, with the Holy Ghost recognized as
a female Sophia, the Dove, worshipped as the Great Goddess in
Constantinople, and viewed by most Gnostics as the Shakti of God.
The Christian God was originally modeled on Far-Eastern heavenfathers,
such as Brahma and Dyaus Pitar, all of whom needed their
female sources of “Power,” or else they could not act. 18 Therefore, a
female member of the triad was essential even to God. Among
Arabian Christians there was apparently a holy trinity of God, Mary,
and Jesus, worshipped as an interchangeable replacement for the
Egyptian trinity of Osiris, Isis, and Horus.19
During the Christian era, all-male trinities became popular among
Germanic tribes. Woden, Thor, and Saxnot were worshipped together
by Saxons of the 8th and 9th centuries. Norsemen called them Odin,
Tyr, and Frey. According to a certain fragmentary myth, the Triple
Goddess seems to have been burned as a witch. She had to be burned
to ashes three times. Afterward, youth, beauty, and love in the person of
Freya departed from Asgard; and there was war in heaven.20
Like many other remnants of paganism, the female trinity is still
associated with marriage. Breton wedding ceremonies celebrated the
three phases of the bride’s life, impersonating her first by a little girl,
then by the mistress of a house, then by an old grandmother.21
Modern weddings still retain the flower girl and the matron of honor,
but-significantly-the Crone figure has vanished.
August Comte nearly revived the female trinity in his vision of
woman as mediator between man and the guiding moral spirit.
Mother, wife, and daughter were to represent man’s unity with past,
present, and future; also with what Comte called the three altruistic
instincts: veneration, attachment, benevolence. 22 In plainer words, these
were what women want from men: respect, love, kindness.
Marginal note:
Like three-headed
Kali in India, Egypt’s
primal mother Mut
had three heads and
three names. An archaic
name for Egypt,
Khem, with a feminine
ending formed the
word for “three”-Khemt.


Lady of Byblos, one of the oldest forms of the Great Goddess in the
Middle East, identified with Egypt’s Hathor, Mycenae’s Demeter,
Cyprus’s Aphrodite.
Her shrine at Byblos dated back to the Neolithic and flourished
throughout the Bronze Age.1 She was the same creating-preserving and-
destroying Goddess worshipped by all Indo-European cultures, and
still typified by Kali as the symbol of Nature. Astarte was the “true
sovereign of the world,” tirelessly creating and destroying, eliminating
the old and generating the new. 2 Sidonian kings could not rule
without her permission. Each king styled himself first and foremost
“Priest of Astarte.”
Sumerian cylinder seals from Lagash, ca. 2300 B.C., showed the
Goddess in a pose identical with Kali’s love-and-death sacramental
posture, squatting on top of her consort’s body. 3
Astarte ruled all the spirits of the dead who lived in heaven wearing
bodies of light, visible from earth as stars. Hence, she was known as
Astroarche, “Queen of the Stars.” 6 She was the mother of all souls in
heaven, the Moon surrounded by her star-children, to whom she
gave their “astral” (starry) bodies. Occultists still speak of the astral body
as an invisible double, having forgotten the word’s original connotation
of starlight.7
Astarte-Ashtoreth was transformed into a devil by Christian writers,
who automatically assumed that any deity mentioned in the Bible
other than Yahweh was one of the denizens of hell. She was also
masculinized. One finds in books of the 15th and 16th centuries a
demon Ashtoreth or Astaroth, a “duke” or “prince” of hell. 8 Milton
knew better; he spoke of “Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent
horns.” 9
Scholars who really understood the mystery of Astarte recognized
in her one of the ancient prototypes of the virgin Mary. In Syria and
Egypt her sacred dramas celebrated the rebirth of the solar god from the
celestial Virgin each 25th of December. A newborn child was
exhibited, while the cry went up that the Virgin had brought forth.
Frazer says, “No doubt the Virgin who thus conceived and bore a
son on the twenty-fifth of December was the great Oriental goddess
whom the Semites called the Heavenly Virgin or simply the Heavenly
Goddess; in Semitic lands she was a form of Astarte.” 10
Marginal notes:
The Bible calls her
Asherah or Ashtoreth,
the Goddess worshipped
by Solomon
( l Kings 11:5).
To the Arabs the
Goddess was Athtar,
“Venus in the
Morning.” In Aramaic
she was Attar-Samayin,
“Morning Star
of Heaven,” uniting
two sexes in herself, like
Lucifer the Morning
Star and Diana Lucifera.
Her Hurrian
name was Attart, or
sometimes Ishara,
another form of lshtar,
“the Star. ” 4 To Canaanites,
she was
Celestial Ruler, Mistress
of Kingship,
mother of all baalim

Kali Ma

“Dark Mother,” the Hindu Triple Goddess of creation, preservation,
and destruction; now most commonly known in her Destroyer aspect,
squatting over her dead consort Shiva and devouring his entrails,
while her yoni sexually devours his lingam (penis). Kali is “The hungry
earth, which devours its own children and fattens on their corpses ….
It is in India that the experience of the Terrible Mother has been given
its most grandiose form as Kali. But all this-and it should not be
forgotten-is an image not only of the Feminine but particularly and
specifically of the Maternal. For in a profound way life and birth are
always bound up with death and destruction.” 1
Kali was the basic archetypal image of the birth-and-death Mother,
simultaneously womb and tomb, giver of life and devourer of her
children: the same image portrayed in a thousand ancient religions.
Even modern psychologists face this image with uneasy acknowledgment
of its power. It seems the image of the angry, punishing, castrating
Father is somehow less threatening than that of the destructive
Mother-perhaps, because she symbolized the inexorable reality of
death, whereas he only postulated a problematic post-mortem
Tantric worshippers of Kali thought it essential to face her Curse,
the terror of death, as willingly as they accepted Blessings from her
beautiful, nurturing, maternal aspect. For them, wisdom meant learning
that no coin has only one side: as death can’t exist without life, so also
life can’t exist without death. Kali’s sages communed with her in the
grisly atmosphere of the cremation ground, to become familiar with
images of death. They said: “His Goddess, his loving Mother in time,
who gives him birth and loves him in the flesh, also destroys him in
the flesh. His image of Her is incomplete if he does not know Her as his
tearer and devourer.” 3
Few western scholars understood the profound philosophy behind
the hideous images of Kali the Destroyer. The London Museum
displayed such an image with a label saying only, “Kali-Destroying
Demon.” 4 The Encyclopaedia Britannica devoted five columns to
Christian interpretations of the Logos without ever mentioning its
origin in Kali’ s Om or Creative Word; Kali herself was dismissed in a
brief paragraph as the wife of Shiva and “a goddess of disease.” 5
Certainly, as the Kalika or Crone she governed every form of death
including disease; but she also ruled every form of life.
Kali stood for Existence, which meant Becoming because all her
world was an eternal living flux from which all things rose and
disappeared again, in endless cycles. The gods, whom she bore and
devoured, addressed her thus:
Thou art the Original of all the manifestations; Thou art the birthplace of
even Us; Thou knowest the whole world, yet none know Thee . …
Thou art both Subtle and Gross, Manifested and Veiled, Formless, yet
with form. Who can understand Thee? . … It is Thou who art the
Supreme Primordial Kalika . … Resuming after dissolution Thine own
form, dark and formless, Thou alone remainest as One ineffable and
inconceivable . .. though Thy self without beginning, multiform by the
power of Maya, Thou art the Beginning of all, Creatrix, Protectress,
and Destructress. 6
Brahmans assigned Kali’ s three functions to three male gods,
calling them Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Kali’s
archaic consort Shiva the destroyer; but many scriptures opposed this
male trinity as offensively artificial. A prayer in the Tantrasara said: “0
Mother! Cause and Mother of the World! Thou art the One
Primordial Being, Mother of innumerable creatures, Creatrix of the
very gods; even of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and
Shiva the Destroyer! 0 Mother, in hymning Thy praise I purify my
speech!” 7 The Nirvana Tantra treated the claims of male gods with
Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesvara [Shiva], and other gods are born of the body
of that beginningless and eternal Kalika, and at the time of dissolution
they again disappear in Her. 0 Devi, for this reason, so long as the living
man does not know the supreme truth in regard to Her . .. his desire
for liberation can only give rise to ridicule. From a part only of Kalika, the
primordial Shakti, arises Brahma, from a part only arises Vishnu, and
from a part only arises Shiva. 0 fair-eyed Devi, just as rivers and fakes are
unable to traverse a vast sea, so Brahma and other gods lose their
separate existence on entering the uncrossable and infinite being of Great
Kali. Compared with the vast sea of the being of Kali, the existence of
Brahma and the other gods is nothing but such a little water as is
contained in the hollow made by a cow’s hoof. Just as it is impossible
for a hollow made by a cow’s hoof to form a notion of the unfathomable
depths of a sea, so it is impossible for Brahma and other gods to have a
knowledge of the nature of Kali. 8
Even the arrogant Vishnu, who claimed to have brought the
whole earth out of the primal abyss, received the grace of enlightenment
concerning Kali and wrote a poem about her: “Material cause of all
change, manifestation and destruction … the whole Universe
rests upon Her, rises out of Her and melts away into Her. From Her are
crystallized the original elements and qualities which construct
the apparent worlds. She is both mother and grave …. The gods
themselves are merely constructs out of Her maternal substance,
which is both consciousness and potential joy.”9
The Yogini Tantra said of Kali, “Whatever power anything
possesses, that is the Goddess.” 10 Shakti, “Power,” was one of her
important names. Without her, neither man nor god could act at all:
It is She as Power (Shakti) who takes the active and changeful part in
generation, as also in conceiving, bearing, and giving birth to the
World-Child. All this is the function of the divine, as it is of the human,
mother . … It is thus to the Mother that man owes the World of Forms
or Universe. Without Her as material cause, Being cannot display itself. It
is but a corpse … primacy is given to the Mother, and it is said, “What
care I for the Father if I but be on the lap of the Mother?” 11
A Tantric scholar points out that “the poets have found much
more intimate cries of the heart when they spoke of the Deity as their
‘Mother’ than when they addressed themselves to God as Father.”
Kali’ s poets approached her through love: “By feeling is She known.
How then can lack of feeling find Her?” In their view, “All is the
Mother and She is reality herself. ‘Sa’ham’ (She I Am) the Sakta says,
and all that he senses is She in the form in which he perceives her. It
is She who in, and as, him drinks the consecrated wine, and She is the
wine.” She feeds him as a mother feeds her child, and he becomes
immortal: “Deathless are those who have fed at the breast of the
Mother of the Universe.” The Yoginihrdaya Tantra says, “Obeisance
to Her who is pure Being-Consciousness-Bliss, as Power, who
exists in the form of Time and Space and all that is therein, and who
is the radiant Illuminatrix in all beings.” 12
As a Mother, Kali was called Treasure-House of Compassion
(karuna ), Giver of Life to the world, the Life of all lives. Contrary to
the west’s idea of her as a purely destructive Goddess, she was the fount
of every kind of love, which flowed into the world only through her
agents on earth, women. Thus it was said a male worshipper of Kali
“bows down at the feet of women,” regarding them as his rightful
teachers. 13
The name of Eve may have originated with Kali’s Ieva or Jiva, the
primordial female principle of manifestation; she gave birth to her
“first manifested form” and called him Idam (Adam). She also bore the
same title given to Eve in the Old Testament: Mother of All Living
(Jaganmata). 17
As the primal Deep, or menstrual Ocean of Blood at creation, Kali
was certainly the same as the biblical tehom, Tiamat, or tohu bohu,
the “flux” representing her state of formlessness between manifested
universes. As Mahanila-Sarasvati the great blue River-Goddess, she
was probably the original namesake of the River Nile. As Kundalini the
Female Serpent, she resembled the archaic Egyptian serpent-mother
said to have created the world. It was said of Kundalini that at the
beginning of the universe, she starts to uncoil in “a spiral line
movement which is the movement of creation.” 18 This spiral line was
vitally important in late Paleolithic and Neolithic religious symbolism,
representing death and rebirth as movement into the disappearing-point
of formlessness, and out of it again, to a new world of form. Spirals
therefore appeared on tombs, as one of the world’s first mystical
Lunar priests of Sinai, formerly priestesses of the Moon-goddess,
called themselves kalu. 22 Similar priestesses of prehistoric Ireland
were kelles, origin of the name Kelly, which meant a hierophantic clan
devoted to “the Goddess Kele” (see Kelle).23 This was cognate with
the Saxon Kale, or Cale, whose lunar calendar or kalends included the
spring month of Sproutkale, when Mother Earth (Kale) put forth
new shoots.24 In antiquity the Phoenicians referred to the strait of
Gibraltar as Calpe, because it was considered the passage to the
western paradise of the Mother.25
Indo-European languages branched from the root of Sanskrit, said
to be Kali’s invention. She created the magic letters of the Sanskrit
alphabet and inscribed them on the rosary of skulls around her neck. 27
The letters were magic because they stood for primordial creative
energy expressed in sound-Kali’s mantras brought into being the very
things whose names she spoke for the first time, in her holy language.
In short, Kali’s worshippers originated the doctrine of the Logos or
creative Word, which Christians later adopted and pretended it was
their own idea. Kali’ s letters magically combined the elements, which
were previously separate as fiery-airy (male) or watery-earthy (female)
forces. The former were “cruel”; the latter “benevolent.” 28 This
distinction seemed to reflect the Tantric view of Kali as Lady of Life
and her spouse as Lord of Death.
Though called “the One,” Kali was always a trinity: the same
Virgin-Mother-Crone triad established perhaps nine or ten millenia
ago, giving the Celts their triple Morrigan; the Greeks their triple
Moerae and all other manifestations of the Threefold Goddess; the
Norsemen their triple Noms; the Romans their triple Fates and triadic
Uni (Juno); the Egyptians their triple Mut; the Arabs their triple
Moon-goddess- she was the same everywhere. Even Christians modeled
their threefold God on her archetypal trinity.29
Her three forms were manifested in many ways: in the three
divisions of the year, the three phases of the moon, the three sections
of the cosmos (heaven, earth, and the underworld), the three stages of
life, the three trimesters of pregnancy, and so on. Women represented
her spirit in mortal flesh. “The Divine Mother first appears in
and as Her worshipper’s earthly mother, then as his wife; thirdly as
Kalika, She reveals Herself in old age, disease and death.” 30
Three kinds of priestesses tended her shrines: Yoginis or Shaktis,
the “Maidens”; Matri, the “Mothers”; and Dakinis, the
“Skywalkers” who attended the dying, governed funerary rites and
acted as angels of death. All had their counterparts in the spirit world.
To this day, Tantric Buddhism relates the three mortal forms of woman
to the divine female trinity called Three Most Precious Ones.31
Kali’ s three forms appeared in the sacred colors known as Gunas:
white for the Virgin, red for the Mother, black for the Crone,
symbolizing birth, life, death.32 Black was Kali’s fundamental color as
the Destroyer, for it meant the formless condition she assumed
between creations, when all the elements were dissolved in her primordial
substance. “As white, yellow, and other colors all disappear in
black, in the same way … all beings enter Kali.” 33
The Black Goddess was known in Finland as Kalma (Kali Ma), a
haunter of tombs and an eater of the dead. 34 European “witches”
worshipped her in the same funereal places, for the same reasons, that
Tantric yogis and dakinis worshipped her in cremation grounds, as
Smashana-Kali, Lady of the Dead.35 Their ceremonies were held in the
places of ghosts where ordinary folk feared to go.36 So were the
ceremonies of western “witches” -that is, pagans. They adored the
Black Mother Earth in cemeteries, where Roman tombstones invoked
her with the phrase Mater genuit, Mater recepit-the Mother
bore me, the Mother took me back. 37
Sometimes Kali the Destroyer wore red, suggesting the blood of
life that she gave and took back: “As She devours all existence, as She
chews all things existing with Her fierce teeth, therefore a mass of blood
is imagined to be the apparel of the Queen of the Gods at the final
dissolution.” 38 The gypsies, who worshipped Kalika as a disease-causing
Goddess they called “the Aunt,” clothed her in red, the proper color
for gypsy funerals.39
Blood was as much a part of Kali’ s worship as it was of the
worship of the biblical God who said blood must be poured on his altars
to bring remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22). The difference between
the western God’s demand for blood and Kali’s was that Jewish priests
took away the meat and ate it themselves (Numbers 18:9), whereas
devotees of Kali were permitted to eat their own offerings, as in
The temple serves simply as a slaughterhouse, for those performing the
sacrifice retain their animals, leaving only the head in the temple as a
symbolic gift, while the blood flows to the Goddess. For to the Goddess is
due the lifeblood of all creatures-since it is she who has bestowed it and
that is why the beast must be slaughtered in her temple; that is why
temple and slaughterhouse are one.
This rite is performed amid gruesome filth; in the mud compounded
of blood and earth, the heads of the animals are heaped up like trophies
before the statue of the Goddess, while those sacrificing return home for a
family banquet of the bodies of their animals. The Goddess desires only
the blood of the offerings, hence beheading is the form of sacrifice, since
the blood drains quickly from the beheaded beasts . . . ; the head
signifies the whole, the total sacrifice. 10
Beheading or throat-cutting were common methods of sacrificial
killing in the western world, too. “Kosher” killing for Yahweh
consisted, and still consists, of draining the animal’s blood, because
blood was the special food of deities. Kali demanded sacrifice of male
animals only, for they were expendable-a custom harking back to
the primitive belief that males had no part in the cycles of generation.
Shiva himself, as Kali’ s sacrificial spouse, commanded that female
animals must never be slain at the altar.’!!
Kali was the Ocean of Blood at the beginning and end of the
world, and her ultimate destruction of the universe was prefigured by
destruction of each individual, though her karmic wheel always brought
reincarnation. After death came nothing-at-all, which Tantric sages
called the third of the three states of being; to experience it was like the
experience of Dreamless Sleep. This state was also called “the
Generative Womb of All, the Beginning and End of Beings.”42 Kali
devoured Time itself. At the end of Time, she resumed her “dark
formlessness,” which appeared in all the myths of before-creation and
after-doomsday as elemental Chaos.43
The mystical experience of Kali was often described as a preview
of formlessness beyond the veil of death: a psychic return to the
womb, to be united with Kali’s oceanic being. Thus Ramakrishna
described it:
I was suffering from excruciating pain because I had not been blessed with
a vision of the Mother . … I feared that it might not be my lot to realize
her in this life. I could not bear the separation any longer; life did not seem
to be worth living. Then my eyes fell on the sword that was kept in the
Mother’s temple. Determined to put an end to my life, I jumped up and
seized it, when suddenly the blessed Mother revealed herself to me .
. . . the temple and all vanished, leaving no trace; instead there was a
limitless, infinite, shining ocean of consciousness or spirit. As far as the
eye could see, its billows were rushing towards me from all sides . .. to
swallow me up. I was panting for breath. I was caught in the billows
and fell down senseless. 11
Ramakrishna revitalized the worship of the Mother, as his pupil
Vivekananda said; “It was no new truths that Ramakrishna came to
preach, though his advent brought old truths to light.”45 Vivekananda
predicted the resurgence of the Mother into the consciousness of the
world’s population, after patriarchal religions had forced her into
concealment in the unconscious: “One vision I see clear as life before
me, that the ancient mother has awakened once more, sitting on her
throne rejuvenated, more glorious than ever. Proclaim her to all the
world with the voice of peace and benediction.”46 Clearly, this
Goddess was much more than the London Museum’s “Destroying
Marginal notes:
Western scholars
erroneously viewed the
manifestations and
incarnations of Kali
as many different
particularly isolating
those primitive
matrikadevis (mothergoddesses)
together as “Dravidian
she-ogres.” 14 Yet
Kali’s worshippers
stated that she had
hundreds of different
names, but they were all
the same Goddess:
Sarasvati, Lakshmi,
Gayatri, Durga,
Annapurna, Sati, Uma,
Parvati, Gauri,
Bagala, Matangini,
Dhumavati, Tara,
Bhairavi, Kundalini,
Bharga, Devata, etc.
All were Kali Mahadevi,
the “Great
Goddess” -the same
title she bore among
western pagans.
Some of Kali’ s
older names found
their way into the Bible.
As Tara, the earth,
she became Terah,
mother of the
Hebrew ancestral spirits
called teraphim.
The same Kali-Tara
became the Celts’
Tara, Gauls’ Taranis,
Etruscans’ Turan,
and the Latin Terra,
“Mother Earth,”
said to be
interchangeable with
Venus. 16
 Variations of Kali’ s
basic name occurred
throughout the
ancient world. The
Greeks had a word
Kalli, meaning
“beautiful,” but
applied to things that
were not particularly
beautiful such as the
demonic centaurs
called kallikantzari,
relatives of Kali’ s
Asvins. Their city of
Kallipolis, the
modern Gallipoli, was
centered in Amazon
country formerly ruled
by Artemis Kalliste.19
The annual birth
festival at Eleusis was
Kalligeneia, translatable
as “coming forth
from the Beautiful
One,” or “coming
forth from Kali.”  The
temple of the Great
Mother of the Gods at
Pergamum stood on
Mount Mamurt-Kaleh,
easily transposed into
Mount Mother-Kali.
Kali’ s title Devi
(Goddess) was similarly
widespread in IndoEuropean
She was the Latin
diva (Goddess) and Minoan
diwi or Diwija,
the “Goddess” associated
with Zeus at
Knossos.26 Dia, Dea,
and Diana were alternate
forms of the
same title.Parvati

Virgin aspect of Kali Ma, called Daughter of the Mountain, or
Daughter of Heaven, both titles meaning the same since “heaven” was
Himalaya, the Mountains.1 Parvati was Shiva’s bride under other
names as well, such as Maya, Sati, Durga, or Shakti. Often she was
identified with Prithivi, an archaic Mother Earth.


“Magic,” title of the Virgin Kali as the creatress of earthly appearances,
i.e., all things made of matter and perceptible to the senses. She
also gave birth to the Enlightened One, Buddha.1
The same Goddess, called Maia by the Greeks, was the virgin
mother of Hermes the Enlightened One, who had as many reincarnations
as the Buddha. Sometimes Maia’s partner was Volcanus (Greek
Hephaestus, the divine smith and fire-god). This was another mythic
mating of male fire and female water. 2 Hindus said Agni the fire-god
was the consort of Kali-Maya, though he was periodically swallowed
up and “quenched” by her. According to the Tantric phrase, the
Goddess quenched a blazing lingam in her yoni. 3
As the virgin mother of Buddha, Maya embarrassed ascetic Buddhists
and was soon written out of the script. Like ascetic Christians
speaking of Christ’s birth, some Buddhists claimed.the Enlightened One
could not touch his mother’s “parts of shame” and so was born
through an opening in her side. This mythic Caesarian section seems to
have been bungled, for a few days later Maya died-“of joy,” as
Buddhist scriptures rather fatuously put it.4
Nevertheless, Maya remained very much alive as one of Kali’s
most revered manifestations, because the very fact of “Existence”-the
material cosmos-demanded her presence. As Zimmer analyzed
Maya-Shakti is personified as the world-protecting, feminine, maternal
side of the Ultimate Being, and as such, stands for the spontaneous,
loving acceptance of life’s tangible reality . … [S]he affirms, she is, she
represents and enjoys, the delirium of the manifested forms . … Maya-Shakti
is Eve, “the Eternal Feminine,” das Ewig-Weibliche: she who ate,
and tempted her consort to eat, and was herself the apple. From the
point of view of the masculine principle of the Spirit (which is in quest of
the enduring, eterna/Jy valid, and absolutely divine) she is the preeminent
enigma. 5
In herself Maya embodied all three aspects of the maternal
Trinity. Her colors were white, red, and black, the colors of the Gunas,
or the Virgin-Mother-Crone.6 Like every other form of Kali, she was
Creator, Preserver, Destroyer. She was also a spirit dwelling perpetually
in women. A Mahayana text says, “Of all the forms of Maya, woman
is the most important.” 7
Maya’s son Buddha was surrounded by her symbols. He entered
his trance of meditation under her sacred fig tree, which protected
him from the weather. On his return from the soul-journey, his first
symbolic act was to accept a dish of curds from a maiden on Full
Moon Day in the month of May, the greatest of Buddhist festivals.8
Not only the month but many other traditions, names, and
concepts attest to the great age and wide distribution of the Goddess
Maya. She was more than the Maia who mothered Hermes; she was
also Maga the Grandmother-goddess who bore Cu Chulainn’s
mother; and the Mandaean Christians’ Almaya, called “Eternity,” or
“the World,” or “Beings”; and Maga or Maj the May-maiden in
Scandinavia.9 Like the Hindu Maya who brought forth earthly appearances
at creation, the Scandinavian one personified the pregnant
womb of chaos before the beginning: Ginnungagap. In this the Worldvirgin
was associated with the idea of magical illusion, creating
“appearances” like her Hindu counterpart. 10
This universal Creatress-name may have reached the western
hemisphere also. The Maya people of Yucatan offered sacrifices in
the same way as in northern India, at the same seasons, determined by
the same stars. 11 Mayan “scorpion stars” were the same as the
constellation Scorpio on Hindu and Greek charts. As in India, Mayan
divine images were painted blue and Mayan woman pierced the left
nostril for insertion of a jewel. 12 Another version of the Creatress seems
to have been the Mother Goddess Mayauel of the Mexican Agave,
called “Woman with Four Hundred Breasts,” with a strong resemblance
to the world-nurturing Many-Breasted Artemis and other
eastern forms of the deity who mothered all the world’s creatures.


Kali as the dangerous Virgin Bride of lndia’s svayamara ceremony.
The same name was applied to Egypt’s similarly archaic Virgin Huntress,
once the ruler of the first nome of Upper Egypt, called “The
Land of Sati.” Her holy city was Abu, the City of the Elephant (the
Greeks’ Elephantine), where she was worshipped in conjunction with
the elephant god, who also mated with the Hindu version of Sati under
her “magic” name of Maya, to beget the Enlightened Son of God,
India still has pilgrimage centers known as Footprints of Sati,
memorials of the time when the Goddess walked on earth.2


Kali’s Creating-Preserving-Destroying trinity was said to consist of
Parvati or Maya the Virgin, Durga the Queen-Mother, and Uma or
Prisni the Crone. Durga was entitled “The Inaccessible.” A crowned
Amazon, she rode tigers into battle and defeated many demonic
monsters, defending her children the gods.1 Like other forms of the ·
Goddess-as-warrior, such as the Middle-Eastern Ma-Bellona, Durga
drank the blood of her enemies.2 What this really meant was that her
altars or images were anointed with the blood of war captives, killed as
As “The Inaccessible,” Durga personified the fighting spirit of a
mother protecting her young, and perhaps also the nursing mother
sexually “inaccessible” to men, according to the old Oriental custom.
Durga stood for the basic animal instincts of maternity, for which the
adult male is no longer significant, and only her offspring claims a
mother’s attention.
Durga was sometimes Shasthi, “the Sixth,” Leader of the Mothers.
This title arose from the custom of invoking her on the sixth day
after childbirth, when the continuous spells for protection of mother and
child could be brought to an end. The seventh day was a day of rest. 3
This was the true beginning of the common patriarchal legend of gods
who gave birth to the world in six days and rested on the seventh.
Among such gods were Persia’s Ahura Mazda, Memphian Ptah, Babylonian
Marduk, Syrian Baal, and the Hebraic Jehovah.4
Durga’ s titles and character penetrated western ·ideas of the Goddess
before the first century B.C. Rome’s Great Mother Juno had the
same attributes as her Oriental sister; she was Juno the Preserver,
Queen of the Mothers.5


Kali’ s Destroyer or Crone aspect, also known as Prisni, mother of the
dark season and of the “demon” Maruts and Rudras. In the Skanda
Purana, Uma appeared as a demoness with a vagina dentata: “hard
teeth like thunderbolts with sharp tips inside the vagina.” 1 Sometimes
Uma was called Daughter of the Mountains, or Daughter of Heaven-
that is, of Himalaya, which meant both mountain and heaven. As
the wife of Shiva, Urna was a patroness of yogic asceticism. In most of
her forms she was recognizable as Mother Death.


“Nature,” the Sanskrit title of Kali as the female Holy Trinity
commanding the Gunas, the white, red, and black threads of Creation,
Preservation, and Destruction.1 Prakriti embodied past, present, and
future; earth, sea, and sky; youth, maturity, and age; and other manifestations
of the Triple Goddess.


“Strands,” the threads of Fate, colored white, red, and black. In
Tantric symbolism, the three colors stood for “the divine female
Prakriti” -i.e., Kali-in her three aspects as Creator, Preserver, and
Destroyer, or giver of birth, life, and death. 1 The Virgin-Creator was
Sattva, white; the Mother-Preserver was Rajas, red; the Crone-Destroyer
was Tamas, black. Together they symbolized the cyclic
succession of “purity, passion, darkness. “2
The Svetasvatara Upanishad said white, red, and black were the
colors of the Goddess Maya, who was also Kali. Sattva signified
“radiant tranquility”; from sat, that which exists forever. 3 Rajas was the
color of royal blood, the color of a king (raj), and of the Mother as
queen and battle-goddess, like Durga-Kali, in “blazing motion, violence
and passion.” Another of her names, Aruna, may have been the
origin of Arutu, the Mesopotamian Goddess who made mankind out of
clay reddened with her lunar blood.4 Tamas, the color of the Crone,
stood for “passive weight and darkness,” the blackness of the tomb.5
The Gunas were not only Oriental. The same white, red, and
black “strands” were associated with western forms of the Triple
Goddess also. Theocritus, Ovid, Tibullus, and Horace all said the sacred
colors of the life-threads were white, red, and black.6 The Goddesses
who held the threads were the Fates. They were based on Oriental
images such as the three Goddesses depicted in the Mahabharata,
weaving the veil of nights and days in an underground “city of
serpents,” representing cycles of light and darkness with threads of
white and black linked with the blood-red thread of life.7
Sumerian temples were ornamented with clay-cone mosaics that
always showed the same three colors,8 which were also used to
decorate the New World pottery known as Mimbres ware. Celtic myth
assigned them to the Hounds of Annwn or dogs of the underworld,
and to the maidens in the Castle of the Holy Grail, as ‘if they too were
Kalis-or, as the Irish said, kelles (see Kelle).
The Gunas are familiar motifs in fairy tales, such as Snow White: a
story of the princess who not only personified the Virgin in combination
with the Mother-queen and the Crone-witch; she also displayed the
Gunas in her own person, with “skin white as snow, lips red as blood,
and hair black as ebony.” Snow White was a direct descendant of
Peredur’s divine lady-love, whose hair was black as jet, her skin white
and red. A vision of the colors alone (crow’ s feathers and blood in the
snow) cast Peredur into a holy trance of meditation upon her image,
from which he couldn’t wake.9 Grimm’s fairy tale of Snow White and
Rose Red came from the same root, uniting Virgin and Mother as
Eithne the Fair and Fedelim the Rosy, repeated in the lilies and roses
sacred to the virgin Mary. 10 The same Virgin and Mother colors
were combined by the Two Mistresses of ancient Egypt, Nekhbet and
Buto, wearers of the white and red crowns. The same colors were
known to medieval mystics in the Middle East as the Hues of Innocence
and Blood. 11
The Crone’s color, black, was often dissociated from the Virgin
and Mother colors, though the three veils laid on Christian altars for
Christmas Matins retained the hues of the pagan trinity, white, red, and
black.12 Black animals were sacrificed to the underworld Goddess
from Homer’s time all the way up to the 18th century A.D. 13 The Slavs
offered black horses to their horse-headed Lord of Death, Volos, who
was lightly Christianized as St. Vlas. 14 Gypsy women wore red and
black for funerals, combining the attributes of Mother and Crone. 15
In China however, the funereal color was white, to suggest rebirth. Old
European ballads sometimes associate all three colors with death.
The departure of the dead from Middle-Earth was heralded by “the
crowing of the white, the red, and the black cock.” 16
So often were the sacred colors displayed in hundreds of myths,
folk tales, and even Christian customs, that Dante placed them at the
very core of his Inferno, to symbolize the essence of God’s adversary:
the three heads of Lucifer were white, red, and black. 17


Title of the Goddess Kali as the Primordial Abyss or womb of creation.1
Possible origin of the Middle-Eastern Goddess Anath, worshipped in
Libya as Neith, in Canaan as Anat, who was once the spouse of
Jehovah. See Anath.


“Fish-Eyed One,” title of Kali as the yonic Eye: possible origin of the
European bards’ Love-goddess Minne.


Kali Ma as the Goddess of cremation grounds and other places of
death. The yantra (symbol) of Smashana-Kali was doubly yonic: an
eight-petaled lotus with multiple repetitions of the inverted triangle
that meant “female genitals.”1 The meaning of the yantra of Smashana-Kali
was rebirth following death. Her priestesses, called dakinis,
arranged funerals and tended the dying. In the after-world they became


Pre-Vedic name of the Goddess as dispenser of karuna. Kauri was
sometimes translated “Brilliant One,” a name for the Goddess’s virgin
aspect: she who gave their “Power” (Shakti) to the gods.1 Kauri was
also a name for the vulva (yoni), descriptive of the cowrie shell accepted
all over the world as a symbol of the female genital and its curative
and generative properties.


Hindu concept of Fate, perhaps derived from Kauri-Ma, i.e., Kali
Ma. The usual symbol was a wheel, representing endless cycles of
becoming, every force or entity in the universe begetting equal and
opposite reactions to its own action, all forces maintaining balance. The
Goddess’s law was that any individual evolution must be worked out
by a series of reincarnations through the turnings of the great wheel of
time. Evil actions resulted in rebirth to a more evil life; good actions
brought lives of increasing virtue and happiness. Ascetic yogis of early
Buddhism instituted the idea that one could take short cuts through
the cycles of time and escape altogether from the inexorable karmic
wheel into a state of Nirvana or cosmic not-being, the individual
dissolved in the infinite.


Universal “Word of Creation” spoken by the Oriental Great Goddess
upon her bringing forth the world of material existences; an
invocation of her own pregnant belly. Om was called the Mother of
Mantras (matrikamantra), the supreme Word. See Logos.


Wandering dervishes from medieval Hindustan who taught Tantric
doctrines in Persia and Arabia. 1 Their cult of the Goddess Kali may
have been the origin of the female-centered Sufi sect which revered
the same feminine Word of Creation (Om, Umm: the Matrix or
Mother-belly), and believed that religious fulfillment for men or
women could be found only in sexual love. 2 See Kali Ma.


“Mother,” archaic name for the Egyptian Goddess as a trinity. The
first of Mut’s three heads was the Virgin Maat, wearing the plumes of
Truth. The second was Hathor, Mother of the World, wearing the
red-and-white crowns of the Two Lands. The third, painted black and
wearing vulture feathers, was Nekhbet, the Crone of Death.1 The
Goddess’s trinitarian name may have been a cognate of Kali’s name
Mutteyalamma, one of her manifestations as a disease-causing
Mut mothered all the gods of Egypt. Though some myths said Isis
was the oldest deity in the world, others claimed Isis was born along
with Osiris from the womb of Mut. Her hieroglyphic sign was a design
of three cauldrons, representing the Triple Womb.2 See Cauldron;


Egyptian Goddess as personification of “Truth” or “Justice”; the
original name based on the universal Indo-European mother-syllable
meant simply “Mother.” Maat’s symbol was the feather against
which she weighed each man’s heart-soul (ab) in her underground Hall
of Judgment. Thus the Plume of Maat itself became a hieroglyph for
“truth.” 1
The same feathers of Truth were worn by other aspects of the
Goddess, such as Isis, who was the same lawgiving Mother. The gods
themselves were constrained to “live by Maat.” Her law governed all
three worlds ruled by her trinity as “Lady of heaven, queen of the
earth, and mistress of the underworld.” 2
As the lawgiver of archaic Egypt, Maat was comparable to Babylonian
Tiamat who gave the sacred tablets to the first king of gods.
Maat’ s laws were notably benevolent, compared to the harsh commands
of later patriarchal gods, backed up by savage threats like those of
Deuteronomy 28:15-68. An Egyptian was expected to recite the
famous Negative Confession in the presence of Maat and Thoth (or
Anubis) to show he had obeyed Maat’s rules of behavior:
I have not been a man of anger. I have done no evil to mankind. I have
not inflicted pain. I have made none to weep. I have done violence to
no man. I have not done harm unto animals. I have not robbed the poor. I
have not fouled water. I have not trampled fields. I have not behaved
with insolence. I have not judged hastily. I have not stirred up stnfe. I have
not made any man to commit murder for me. I have not insisted that
excessive work be done for me daily. I have not borne false witness. I have
not stolen land. I have not cheated in measuring the bushel. I have
allowed no man to suffer hunger. I have not increased my wealth except
with such things as are my own possessions. I have not seized
wrongfully the property of others. I have not taken milk from the mouths
of babes. 3
Those who lived by the laws of Maat took a sacramental drink,
comparable to the Hindus’ Soma or its Persian counterpart Haoma,
which conferred ritual purity in the same sense as the Christian
“washing in the blood of the Lamb.” Egyptian scribes of the 3rd
millenium B.C. wrote: “My inward parts have been washed in the
liquor of Maat.” Like baptismal water of life, Maat’s potion brought life-after-
death to the peaceful, but death overtook violent persons.4
Egyptian moral precepts were of a high order, many of them
turning up centuries later in the Bible:
Take heed not to rob the poor, and be not cruel to the destitute . . . . If
thou canst answer the man who attacks thee, do him no injury. Let the
evildoer alone; he will destroy himself. We must help the sinner, for may
we not become like him? . .. Crusts of bread and a loving heart are
better than rich food and contention . … Learn to be content with what
thou hast. Treasure obtained by fraud will not stay with thee; thou hast
it today, tomorrow it has departed. . . . The approval of man is better than
riches. 5
Under the feudal disorders of the 12th dynasty, old rules began
to break down along with the matrilineal clan system that supported
them, and educated Egyptians deplored the disruptions of society. A
Heliopolitan priest wrote: “Maat is cast out, iniquity is in the midst of
the council hall . .. . [T]he poor man has no strength to save himself
from him that is stronger than he.” 6 Sometimes kinsman murdered
kinsman, in violation of the clan’s most sacred rule. One writer
unfavorably compared his countrymen to the Maat-worshipping tribes
of Nubia: “The Matoi, who are friendly towards Egypt, say: ‘How
could there be a man that would slay his brother?’ ” 7
Maat was more than a judge of the dead. She was a stand-in for all
Egyptian Goddesses, including Hathor, Mut, Isis, Neith, Nekhbet,
etc. The sun god was told: “The goddess Maat embraceth thee both at
morn and at eve.” As a birth-giver, she was sometimes Metet, the
Morning Boat of the Sun, translated “becoming strong” and corresponding
to the Greco-Roman mother of dawn, Mater Matuta.8 She
was worshipped in lands other than Egypt. Northern Syria was called by
the Hittites, Mat Hatti: that is, Mother of Hatti. 9 Egyptian priests
drew the Feather of Maat on their tongues in green dye, to give their
words a Logos-like power of Truth so their verbal magic could create
reality. 10 Similarly in northern Europe the divine bard Bragi had this
power because of the runes engraved on his tongue by the Goddess
African Pygmies still know Maat by the name she bore in Sumeria
as “womb” and “underworld”: Matu. She was the first woman, and
the mother of God. Like her Egyptian counterpart she was sometimes
cat-headed. 11


Egyptian Mother of the Gods and Queen of Heaven, originally Het-Hert,
“the House (or Womb) Above”; later Hat-Hor, “the House (or
Womb) of Horus.” Hathor was “the mother of every god and
goddess.” She “brought forth in primeval time herself, never having
been created.” In the earliest dynasties, her name was a component
of all royal Egyptian names, indicating the archaic matrilineal queenship
based on successive incarnations of her spirit.1
Hathor was worshipped in Israel in the 11th century B.C. at her
own holy city of Hazor, which the Old Testament claims Joshua
destroyed (Joshua 11:13, 21 ). The Sinai Tablets show that Hebrew
workers in the Egyptian mines of Sinai about 1500 B.C. worshipped
Hathor, whom they identified with the Lady of Byblos, Astarte.2
Some sources said there were seven Hathors: the Holy Midwives
associated with the seven heavenly spheres. They gave each Egyptian
seven souls at birth. Sevenfold Hathor entered medieval myth as the
fairy godmother(s) and Mother Goose, as well as the Mother of the
Sun King, the Lady of the Lake, and the Huntress.
In Upper Egypt, Hathor was Sati or Satis, She of the Two River-Banks,
source of the Nile. 3 Her Destroyer aspect was a lion-headed
huntress, the Sphinx, sometimes called Sekhmet or Sakhmis, “the
Powerful.” Like Kali, she drank the blood of gods and men.


Archaic Egyptian name for Mut, the Vulture-goddess of death and
rebirth. Her necropolis at Nekhen was an original City of the Dead and
one of Egypt’s oldest oracular shrines. Nekhbet has been recognized
as “the representative of an ancient matriarchal stratum” in Egyptian
religion.1 See Vulture.


Triple Goddess of Sais, also called Anatha, Ath-enna, Athene,
Medusa. Egyptians said her name meant “I have come from myself.”
She was the World Body, the Primal Abyss from which the sun first
rose, and “the Cow, who gave birth to Ra.” 1 She was the Spirit Behind
the Veil, whom no mortal could see face to face. She called herself
“all that has been, that is, and that will be,” a phrase copied by the
Christian Gospels (Revelation 1:8). She was older than dynastic
Egypt. Her symbol was borne by a prehistoric clan, and her name by
two queens of the first dynasty. Greeks knew her as Nete, one of the
original trinity of Muses at Delphi.2
In the Bible she was called Asenath (lsis-Neith), Great Goddess of
the city of Aun, which the Jews rendered “On.” Her high priest
Potiphar was made her “father,” as Teiresias was made the “father” of
the Goddess Mante, and Brahma was made the “father” of the
Goddess Sarasvati (Genesis 41 :45). The Goddess herself was made the
spouse of Joseph, whose Egyptian name meant “he who was brought
to life by the word of the Goddess (neter).” 3


Egyptian “Words of Power,” evolved by primitive matriarchs under
the birth-goddess Hekat or Heqit (Greek Hecate). In Egyptian salvation-
mysteries, rote learning of hekau was necessary to gain admission
to various areas of the after-world. Also useful were amulets like the
Hekat, a uterine “ark” named after the Goddess. See Ship.


“Grandmother of Magic,” mother of the Greeks’ Enlightened One,
Hermes; the western version of Maya, “Magic,” mother of the Hindus’
Enlightened One, Buddha. She personified the powers of transformation
and material “appearances,” the same powers attributed to
Maya-Kali, who made the universe by her magic. Greek writers
called Maia one of the Pleiades, but also understood that she was the
Great Goddess of Maytime festivals, of the renewal and rebirth of the
dead. She made her son Hermes the Conductor of Souls in the
underworld, just as the Hindu Maya made her masculine counterpart
Ya-Ma into a Conductor of Souls and Lord of Death.1


Virgin form of Hera, the Greek Mother of the Gods; a variant of
Eve, who was Hebat in Anatolia, Heveh or Hawwa in Mesopotamia,
Hvov in Persia. Greek myths said Hebe was cupbearer to the gods,
dispenser of their ambrosia of immortality. Without her, the gods would
grow old and die, the same doom that threatened the Norse gods
when they lost Freya.1
Like Eve, in her Mother aspect Hebe governed the Tree of Life
with its magic apples, source of the gods’ everlasting life, which they
jealously guarded from mankind (Genesis 3:22). Heroes like Heracles
could become immortal gods by marrying Hebe and living in her
garden of paradise, where they could feed on the apples of the holy
tree.2 Such myths show that Hebe was only Hera virginized, for Hera
was the owner of the serpent-guarded apple tree in the far-western
paradise, known to the Greeks as the garden of the Hesperides.
After Hellenic Greeks introduced a social system of patriarchy and
the fashion of romantic-homosexual love, Father Zeus evicted Hebe
from her traditional post and replaced her with his own male concubine,
Ganymede. Thus the Virgin Goddess was supplanted by the Youth,
the gods’ new cupbearer, taken to heaven and dwelling in the stars as
the constellation Aquarius.3


Hera’s name was sometimes rendered “Lady,” and may have meant
He Era, the Earth. An earlier version was Rhea, the pre-Hellenic Great
Mother mythologized as the mother of the Greeks’ Hera. Both were
forms of the Great Goddess of early Aegean civilization, who predated
the appearance of gods on the scene.1
Hera’s name could alsa have been a cognate of Hiera, “Holy
One,” a title of ancient goddess-queens who ruled in her name. An
Amazon queen named Hiera of Mysia led her army against the Greeks
in defense of matriarchal Troy. Philostratus said Homer refused to
mention Hiera in the Iliad because she was so great as to outshine
Homer’s heroine, Helen.2
There were many other, more far-flung cognates and counterparts
of Hera. In Babylon she was “Erua, the queen, who controls birth.” 3
She chose kings, gave them sovereignty by marrying them, and deposed
them. As the eponymous Goddess of ancient Ireland she was “the
Lady Eire,” or Eriu.4 Like Hera, the Lady Eire controlled the western
apple-garden of immortality.
Hera was the Mother of the Gods, even of the Olympian gods, to
whom she gave the ambrosia of eternal life. Hellenic writers tried to
make her subordinate to Zeus, though she was much older than he, and
had married him against her will. Their constant mythological quarrels
reflected conflicts between early patriarchal and matriarchal cults.
As the primordial feminine trinity, Hera appeared as Hebe, Hera, and
Hecate-new moon, full moon, old moon-otherwise personified as
the Virgin of spring, the Mother of summer, and the destroying
Crone of autumn. Pausanias said Hera was worshipped as Child, Bride,
and Widow.5 In her Argive temple, she passed through endless cycles
as her virginity was annually renewed, like that of Aphrodite, ‘by
immersion in a holy spring.6
Hera received sacrifices of “heroes,” or “Hera-sacred men,”
whose myths dated from a primitive time when men were slain as her
martyr-bridegrooms. In ancient Greece the term “hero” was synonymous
with “ghost”-one who had gone to the Goddess.7 Herodotus
told the story of two of these heroes, Cleobis and Biton, chosen to draw
the Mother’s chariot in a procession. Afterward they “fell asleep” in
her temple and never woke again. This holy death reflected great honor
on their family; Solon called Cleobis and Biton “the happiest of
men.” 8 Like Christian martyrs, they achieved the “crown.”
Hera’s cult spread at an early date throughout pagan Europe, the
whole continent having been named after one of her incarnations,
Europa. Saxons worshipped her at Heresburg (Hera’s Mount), where
the phallic “column of the world” called Hermeseul was planted in
the Earth-goddess’s yoni.9 Late in the 8th century A.D., the temple was
destroyed and the phallic pillar overthrown by the armies of Charlemagne.
However, the sanctuary was not forgotten. The Salic Law
referred to “witches” called hereburgium or herburgium, those who

worship at the Heresburg. 10 They were equated with those who
“carried the cauldron” to religious meetings in honor of the Goddess-
such meetings as the clergy styled witches’ sabbats. Legends of
Hera’s magic garden in the west, where the apples of immortality
grew, passed into the medieval lore of Fairyland.


Greek word for a man sacrificed to Hera, possibly from Sanskrit
Heruka, a Knowledge-Holding Deity, via Egyptian Heru or Harakhti,
Horus-Osiris as a dying god.1 The Greek May Day festival was the
Heroantheia, “Hero-flowering.” 2 The “flower” was the hero’s fructifying
blood, represented by red or purple flowers, and described by the
same word applied in the Bible to menstrual blood (Leviticus 15:24).
The May Day hero was therefore a flower-god: Narcissus, Hyacinthus,
Adonis, or Antheus, who were all the same deity, sometimes called
Naaman, “Darling,” because he was Aphrodite’s beloved.3


One of the oldest Greek versions of the trinitarian Goddess, Hecate
was derived from the Egyptian midwife-goddess Heqit, Heket, or
Hekat, who in turn evolved from the heq or tribal matriarch of predynastic
Egypt: a wise-woman, in command of all the hekau or
“mother’s Words of Power.” 1
As a heavenly midwife amalgamating the Seven Hathors of the
birth-chamber, Heqit delivered the sun god every morning.2 Her
totem was the frog, symbol of the fetus; and this animal was still sacred
to her four thousand years later when she became the Christians’
“queen of witches.”
In Greece, Hecate was one of many names for the original
feminine trinity, ruling heaven, earth, and the underworld. Hellenes
tended to emphasize her Crone or underworld aspect, but continued to
worship her at places where three roads met, especially in rites of
magic, divination, or consultation with the dead. 3 Her images guarded
three-way crossroads for many centuries; thus she was Hecate Trevia,
“Hecate of the Three Ways.” Offerings were left at her roadside shrines
on nights of the full moon. As a deity of magic and prophecy she was
invoked by those who set out on journeys, like the biblical king of
Babylon, who “stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two
ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with
images” (Ezekiel2l :21 ).
Hecate was called “most lovely one,” a title of the moon.4 Like all
other forms of the Triple Goddess, she was associated with the moon
in all three of her aspects. Some said she was Hecate Selene, the Moon,
in heaven; Artemis the Huntress on earth; and Persephone the
Destroyer in the underworld.5 Ancient texts referred to her as Hecate
Selene the Far-Shooting Moon, mother of Dionysus-though Dionysus
was also the son of Persephone, which shows that Hecate and
Persephone were often confused with one another.6 Sometimes
Hecate was considered identical with Diana Ilithyia, the Moon-goddess
as protectress of parturient women. Sometimes she was part of the
Queen-of-Heaven trinity, Hebe the Virgin, Hera the Mother, Hecate
the Crone. Porphyry wrote:
The moon is Hecate, the symbol of her varying phases . … [H]er power
appears in three forms, having as symbol of the new moon the figure in
the white robe and golden sandals, and torches lighted; the basket which
she bears when she has mounted high is the symbol of the cultivation of
the crops which she made to grow up according to the increase of her
light. 7 Late Hellenic writers devised a rather labored explanation for
Hecate’s journey from the sky to the underworld, originally a mythic
metaphor for the moon’s setting. Hecate was in the house of a
woman in childbirth. The gods, fearing magical contagion from this,
plunged her into the river Acheron to wash away the traces of birthmana.
The river carried Hecate underground, where she married
Hades. This was a myth derived from patriarchal anxieties about
contact with childbearing women, demonstrated especially in the Bible
(Leviticus 12:5). Ritual bathing of mother and child in a sacred river
after the lying-in period probably gave rise to the story of Hecate’s riverjourney.
During the early Middle Ages, Hecate became known as Queen
of the Ghostworld, or Queen of Witches. She was especially diabolized
by Catholic authorities who said the people most dangerous to the
faith were precisely those whom Hecate patronized: the midwives. 8
Her ancient threefold power was copied, however, by priestly writers
who reassigned it to their own deity: “The threefold power of Christ,
namely in Heaven, in earth, and in Hell.” 9


Black bitch-totem of Hecate, a form assumed by her Trojan incarnation,
Queen Hecuba, when she was captured by Odysseus. The cause
of his long wandering exile apparently was the curse Hecuba-Maera
laid on him. Some said she was killed and buried in “The Bitch’s
Tomb.” Others said she scared away her enemies with her spells and
curses and ran free.
She was an animal version of the fatal Crone-goddess Moera,
symbolized by the Lesser Dog Star whose rising announced human
sacrifices in Attica. One of her victims was a king whose daughter
Odysseus married, “and whose fate he will therefore have shared in
the original myth.” 1 Similar sacrifices were still offered to the Death-
goddess and Wolf-mother Maerin in her temple at Trondheim as late
as the 11th century A.D. 2


Matriarchal queen of Troy, embodying the spirit of the Moongoddess
Hecate, whose name was the same as her own. Hecabe’s
“daughters” (priestesses) had divinatory powers, and the ability to cast
spells, as shown by the legend of Cassandra. Hecabe herself laid
effective curses. When captured by her enemies, she transformed
herself into Hecate’s totemic shape, a black bitch named Maera, Mara,
or Moera, the Destroying Fate.1 The wanderings of Odysseus were
attributable to the curse of exile she laid on him; he was preserved from
death only by the counter-spell of his wife the Goddess Penelope.

Helen of Troy

Incarnation of the Virgin Moon-goddess, daughter of Queen Hecuba,
or Hecate, who embodied the Crone. Helen was also called Helle or
Selene. She was worshipped as an orgiastic deity at the Spartan
festival Helenephoria, featuring sexual symbols carried in a special
fetish-basket, the helene.1
Trojan Helen married Menelaus, “Moon-king,” who was promised
immortality because he made a sacred marriage.2 However,
Helen left him and went home with her new Trojan lover Paris, so
Menelaus lost both his immortality and the Trojan fiefs that Helen’s
“matrimony” brought. He sailed with his armies to get her back, and
this was the start of the legendary Trojan War which pitted patriarchal
Greeks against matriarchal Trojans.3
As Elen, Elaine, or Hel-Aine, the same Moon-virgin became the
queen of pagan Britain, a “Lily Maid” who made the first alliances
with emperors of Rome. (See Elaine.) The oldest British histories said
the first British king was a Trojan named Brutus, Helen’s relative.4
After Troy fell, he sailed west to the island of Albion and founded a city,
New Troy, later renamed Lugdunum (London) after his descendant,
the god Lug. 5


Sacrificial festival involving the offering of one hundred victims to
Hecate. The later, extended meaning was any slaughter of a group of
one hundred. Most Middle-Eastern gods (including Yahweh) received
“hecatombs” on special occasions.


“Willow,” a title of Hecate in her virgin form as the new moon and
the Helicon or “willow-stream” surrounding the Mountain of the
Muses. Like Artemis, Helice the Willow-maid was associated with
both the moon and Ursa Major, eternally circling the pole, known as
Helice’s Axle.1 Witches thought a willow wand a microcosmic axis
mundi. See Willow.


Kore as Athena

Greek Holy Virgin, inner soul of Mother Earth (Demeter); a name
so widespread, that it must have been one of the earliest designations of
the World Shakti or female spirit of the universe. Variations include
Ker, Car, Q’re, Cara, Kher, Ceres, Core, Sanskrit Kaur or Kauri,
alternate names for the Goddess Kali.
Shrines of Karnak in Egypt and Carnac in Brittany were sites of
gigantic temples and funerary complexes over 5000 years ago,
dedicated to Kar or Kore. France had similar shrines in similarly-named
locations, Kerlescan, Kercado, Kermario.4 The last name combined
the pagan Virgin with the Goddess Mari, who was sometimes her
daughter, her mother, or herself, like Kali embodied in Kel-Mari.5
Inhabitants of Carnac, and of Carnuntum on the Danube, called
themselves in Roman times the Carnutes, “people born of the
Goddess Car.” 6
In Egypt’s early dynastic period there was a place called Kerma
(Mother Ker) in Nubia, where mass sacrifices took place. A similar
name, Kara, was held in reverence by several early Egyptian rulers.
Egyptians spoke of an eastern land called Kher, and called Palestine
the country of Kharu.7
Car or Carna was known to the Romans as “a Goddess of the
olden time,” whose archaic worship was connected with Karneia
festivals of Sparta and the classic Roman Carnival. 8 Sometimes she was
Carmenta, “the Mind of Car,” who invented the Roman alphabet.9
An extremely old temple on the Caelian Hill was dedicated to her. 10 A
later variation of her name was Ceres, origin of such words as cereal,
corn, kernel, core, carnal, cardiac.
In the east this ancient Goddess was everywhere. Some said she
was Artemis Caryatis, mother of the Caryatides of the Laconian
temple of Caryae. 11 The Tyrian seaport of Caraalis (modern Cagliari)
was sacred to her. 12 One of Israel’s oldest shrines, the “garden” called
Mount Carmel, was her place and that of her baalim (gods) .13
Kore was a great power in Coptic religion, with a flourishing cult at
Alexandria in the 4th century A.D. Her festival, the Koreion, was held
each January 6, later assimilated to Christianity as the feast of Epiphany.
Kore’s festival celebrated the birth of the new year god Aeon to the
Virgin, whose naked image was carried seven times around the temple,
decorated with gold stars and the sign of the cross. The priests
announced to the public that the Virgin had brought forth the Aeon. 14
The Koreion passed into British tradition as the Kim, or Feast of
Ingathering, which the church later changed to the Feast of Our
Lady of Mercy. Kim was a cognate of the Greek kern or sacred wombvase
in which the grain god was reborn. 15 Here again the Kore or Ker
was a virgin mother. The Goddess’s harvest instrument, a moon-sickle,
represented even the Christian version of the festival. 16
The classic myth of Kore’ s abduction by Pluto was another
instance of a god’s usurpation of the Goddess’s power, according to
Gnostic sources. “Plutonius Zeus … does not possess the nourishment
for all mortal living creatures, for it is Kore who bears the fruit.” 17
Kore’s resurrection represented the seasonal return of vegetation. She
was also the World Soul animating each human soul, and looking out
of the eyes. Reflection in the pupil of an eye was known as the Kore or
“Maiden” in the eye. To the Arabs, it was the “baby” in the eye.
The Bible calls either a daughter or a soul “the apple of thine eye”
(Proverbs 7:2); and of course, every apple had a Kore.
Marginal note:
Neolithic Asia knew
a mysterious Goddess
Ker, or Car,
ancestress of the
Carians. 1 Her city in
the Chersonese was
Cardia, “the
Goddess Car.” Kardia
became the Greek
word for ” heart,” as cor
became the Latin;
both descended from
the Goddess who
was the world-heart.
The same syllable is
found in words for
maternal blood
relationships: Gaelic
cairdean, kinship;
Turkish kardes,
maternal siblings.2
The Goddess became
Kardia ton kosmos:
“Heart of the World.” 3

Kore as Artemis


Greek meter is “mother.” De is the delta, or triangle, a female genital
sign known as “the letter of the vulva” in the Greek sacred
alphabet, as in India it was the Yoni Yantra, or yantra of the vulva. 1
Corresponding letters-Sanskrit dwr, Celtic duir, Hebrew daleth meant
the Door of birth, death, or the sexual paradise.2 Thus,
Demeter was what Asia called “the Doorway of the Mysterious Feminine
… the root from which Heaven and Earth sprang.” 3 In
Mycenae, one of Demeter’s earliest cult centers, tholos tombs with their
triangular doorways, short vaginal passages and round domes, represented
the womb of the Goddess-from which rebirth might come.
Doorways generally were sacred to women. In Sumeria they were
painted red, representing the female “blood of life.” 4 In Egypt, doorways
were smeared with real blood for religious ceremonies, a custom
copied by the Jews for their Passover rites.
The triangle-door-yoni symbolized Demeter’s trinity. Like all the
oldest forms of the basic Asiatic Goddess she appeared as Virgin,
Mother, and Crone, or Creator, Preserver, Destroyer, like Kali-Cunti
who was the same yoni-mother. Demeter’s Virgin form was Kore,
the Maiden, sometimes called her “daughter,” as in the classical myth
of the abduction of Kore, which divided the two aspects of the
Goddess into two separate individuals. Demeter’s Mother form had
many names and titles, such as Despoena, “the Mistress”; Daeira,
“the Goddess”; the Barley-Mother; the Wise One of Earth and Sea; or
Pluto, “Abundance.” This last name was transferred to the male
underworld god said to have taken the Maiden into the earth-womb
during the dark season when fields lay fallow. But this was a late,
artificial myth. The original Pluto was female, and her “riches” were
poured out on the world from her breasts. 5
The Crone phase of Demeter, Persephone-the-Destroyer, was
identified with the Virgin in late myth, so the Maiden abducted into
the underworld was sometimes Kore, sometimes Persephone. Some of
the Destroyer’s other, earlier names were Melaina, the Black One;
Demeter Chthonia, the Subterranean One; or The Avenger (Erinys).
Her black-robed, mare-headed idol, her mane entwined with Gorgon
snakes, appeared in one of her oldest cave-shrines, Mavrospelya, the
Black Cave, in Phigalia (southwest Arcadia). She carried a dolphin
and a dove, symbols of womb and yoni. Like the devouring deathgoddess
everywhere, she was once a cannibal. She ate the flesh of
Pelops, then restored him to life in her cauldron.6 She was as fearsome
as every other version of the Crone. The legendary medieval NightMare-
an equine Fury who tormented sinners in their sleep-was
based on ancient images of Mare-headed Demeter.
Her cult was already well established at Mycenae in the 13th
century B.C. and continued throughout Greece well into the Christian
era, a length of time almost equal to the lifespan of Christianity
itself.7 Her temple at Eleusis, one of the greatest shrines in Greece,
became the center of an elaborate mystery-religion. Sophocles wrote,
“Thrice happy they of men who looked upon these rites ere they go
to Hades’s house; for they alone there have true life.” Aristides said,
“The benefit of the festival is not merely the cheerfulness of the
moment and the freedom and respite from all previous troubles, but also
the possession of happier hopes concerning the end, hopes that our
life hereafter will be the better, and that we shall not lie in darkness and
filth-the fate that is believed to await the uninitiated.” Isocrates said:
“Demeter … being graciously minded towards our forefathers because
of their services to her, services of which none but the initiated may
hear, gave us the greatest of all gifts, first, those fruits of the earth which
saved us from living the life of beasts, and secondly, that rite which
makes happier the hopes of those that participate therein concerning
both the end of life and their whole existence.” 8
Eleusis meant “advent.” Its principal rites brought about the
advent of the Divine Child or Savior, variously named Brimus,
Dionysus,Triptolemus, Iasion, or Eleuthereos, the Liberator. Like the
corn, he was born of Demeter-the-earth and laid in a manger or
winnowing basket.9 His flesh was eaten by communicants in the form of
bread, made from the first or last sheaves. His blood was drunk in the
form of wine. Like Jesus, he entered the Earth and rose again.
Communicants were supposed to partake of his immortality, and
after death they were known as Demetreioi, blessed ones belonging to
Revelations were imparted to the initiate through secret “things
heard, things tasted, and things seen.” 11 This formula immediately
calls to mind the three admonitory monkeys covering ears, mouth, and
eyes, supposed to illustrate the maxim, “Hear no evil, speak no evil,
see no evil.” Was the “evil’: a secret descended from Eleusinian
religion? Demeter was worshipped as “the Goddess” by Greek
peasants all the way through the Middle Ages, even up to the 19th
century at Eleusis where she was entitled “Mistress of Earth and
Sea.” In 1801 two Englishmen named Clarke and Cripps caused a riot
among the peasants by taking the Goddess’s image away to a
museum in Cambridge.12
Early Christians were much opposed to the Eleusinian rites
because of their overt sexuality, even though their goal was “regeneration
and forgiveness of sins.” 13 Asterius said, “Is not Eleusis the scene
of descent into the darkness, and of the solemn acts of intercourse
between the hierophant and the priestess, alone together? Are not the
torches extinguished, and does not the large, the numberless assembly
of common people believe that their salvation lies in that which is
being done by the two in the darkness?” 14 Fanatic monks destroyed
the temple of these sexual mysteries in 396 A.D., but the site remained
holy to the Goddess’s votaries, and the ceremonies were carried on
there and elsewhere.15
Rustics never ceased believing that Demeter’s spirit was manifest
in the final sheaf of the harvest, often called the Demeter, the Corn
Mother, the Old Woman, etc. At harvest festivals it was often dressed in
woman’s clothing and laid in a manger to make the cattle thrive.16
Secret anti-Christian doctrines of medieval Freemasonry also drew
some symbolism from the cults of the ancient Mistress of Earth and
Sea, particularly the masonic sacred image of Plenty: “an ear of corn
near a fall of water.” 17 The ultimate Mystery was revealed at Eleusis
in “an ear of corn reaped in silence” -a sacred fetish that the Jews
called shibboleth.18


“Avenger,” title of Mother Demeter as the threefold Furies, who
punished all trespassers against matriarchal law. In her fearsome avenging
aspect, the Goddess sometimes appeared as the Night-mare, with
a black horse head wreathed with snakes.1 See Demeter; Furies.


Also called Erinyes or Eumenides, the Furies personified the vengeful
moods of the Triple Goddess Demeter, who was also called Erinys
as a punisher of sinners. The three Erinyes were emanations of her.
“Whenever their number is mentioned there are three of them …. But
they can all be mentioned together as a single being, an Erinys. The
proper meaning of the word is a ‘spirit of anger and revenge’…. Above
all they represented the Scolding Mother. Whenever a mother was
insulted, or perhaps even murdered, the Erinyes appeared. Like swift
bitches they pursued all who had flouted blood-kinship and the
deference due to it.” 1
Greeks believed the blood of a slain mother infected her murderer
with a dread spiritual poison, miasma, the Mother’s Curse. It drew
the implacable Furies to their victim, and also infected any who dared
help him. In fear of the Furies’ attention, lest they might have
inadvertently assisted a matricide, people called the Furies “Good
Ones” (Eumenides), hoping to divert their wrath.
Aeschylus called the Furies “Children of Eternal Night.” Sophocles
called them “Daughters of Earth and Shadow.” Their individual
names were Tisiphone (Retaliation-Destruction), Megaera (Grudge),
and Aledo (the Unnameable). Some said they were born of the
blood of the castrated Heavenly Father, Uranus; others said they were
older than any god.2 Their antiquity is demonstrated by the fact that
they were invoked against killers of kinfolk in the female line only: a
relic of the matriarchal age, when all genealogies were reckoned
through women.3
Aeschylus’s drama The Eumenides presented the Furies pursuing
Orestes for killing his mother, Queen Clytemnestra; but they cared
nothing for the murder of the father. He was not a real member of the
clan. When Orestes asked them why they didn’t punish Clytemnestra
for murdering her husband, they answered, “The man she killed was
not of blood congenital.” Orestes inquired (as if he didn’t know),
“But am I then involved with my mother by blood bond?” The Furies
snapped, “Murderer, yes. How else could she have nursed you
beneath her heart? Do you forswear your mother’s intimate blood?” 4 In
short, the Furies harked back to a matriarchal clan system like the one
in pre-Christian Britain, where “the son loved the father no more than a
stranger.” 5 Indeed the name of the archaic Triple Goddess of
Ireland, Erin, or Eriu, has been linked with the triple Erinyes.6
The Furies were also “fairies,” identified with witches because of
their ability to lay curses on any who transgressed their law. Such
“fairies” may have been real witches who tried to defend the rights of
women against encroachment by Christian laws. Their modus operandi
could have been similar to that of the Women’s Devil Bush
society in Africa: if a woman complained to this society that her
husband abused her, he soon died of a mysterious dose of poison.7
Christianity adopted the Furies, incongruously enough, as servants
of the patriarchal God. They became part of God’s penal system in
hell: dog-faced she-demons known as Furies Who Sow Evil, Accusers
or Examiners, and Avengers of Crimes.8 Their duty, as always, was
to punish sinners. As “grotesques” they appeared on the tympanum of
Bourges Cathedral, with large pregnant bellies bearing the full
moon’s Gorgon face, and pendulous breasts terminating in dogs’
heads.9 Greek art, however, depicted them as stern-faced but beautiful
women, bearing torches and scourges, with serpents wreathed in
their hair like the Gorgons.10
Although classical tradition understood the Fury as a symbol of the
impersonal functioning of justice, yet she came to represent men’s
hidden fear of women, an image apparently still viable. Psychiatric
Worldview says:
To those men who are aware of contemporary changes it becomes
abundantly clear that there are a number of openly angry women
around. … Men trained to recognize and enhance their own anger and
aggressiveness in a society where rape and revenge are commonplace
view angry women with alarm . … Men see women project onto them the
full extent of their own potential aggressiveness. The spectre of an
angry Fury or Medusa’s head strikes fear in men, which is then often
awkwardly handled because men are not supposed to display fear. A
woman seeking only reasonable social or vocational equity may be
perceived by a man as being out to get the kind of revenge that his
pride would require had he experienced the narcissistic and practical
wounds that she has sustained.11


“Good Ones,” a euphemistic title of the Furies, intended to placate
their wrath and refrain from attracting their attention through invocation
of their real names.


Dog-faced Furies of the Earth Mother Demeter, giving rise to the
Latin name of the same Goddess, Ceres. Like most other versions of
the Great Goddess’s death-hounds, the Keres visited battlefields and
ate the dead to carry their souls to glory. They were another aspect of
the frightening female psychopomps otherwise called Valkyries, dakinis,
harpies, Nekhbet-vultures, she-wolves, or sacred bitches.1 (See


“Goddess,” a title of Demeter as the Wise One of the Sea, and
mother of King Eleusis (Advent). The title carried the same connotations
as “God” today.


“Destroyer,” the Crone form of the Triple Goddess Demeter,
whose other personae were Kore the Virgin and Demeter-Pluto the
Mother (or Preserver). The three deities succeeded each other
cyclically like the three points of a turning triangle-Demeter’s symbol,
the delta-so that Kore and Persephone were often confused and
came to be considered the same Goddess. The fable about KorePersephone’
s abduction by Pluto was a later invention. She was
Queen of the Underworld long before there was a masculinized Pluto.
Orphic mystics worshipped her as Goddess of the blessed dead, to
whom they addressed formula prayers: “And now I come a suppliant to
the Holy Persephone, that of her grace she receive me to the seats of
the Hallowed.” Persephone answered, “Happy and blessed one, thou
shalt be god instead of mortal.” 1 She held the keys to heaven and hell
(Elysium and Tartarus), thus anticipating the Mithraic pater patrum and
his Christian counterpart Peter.2
Persephone was considerably older than the Eleusinian myth of
classical writings, which told of her descent into the underworld and
her annual return to the earth each spring. She was really another name
for Hecate, or He!, and had ruled the underworld as Destroying
Mother Kali ruled it under the name of Prisni, which may have been
the origin of Persephone’s Etruscan name, Persipnei. Romans called
her Proserpine. It was under this name that she passed into Christian
tradition as a Queen of She-Demons.3 Like Kali the Destroyer, she
was the basic Death-goddess from the beginning.


Often dismissed as a “Greek goddess of love,” Aphrodite was really
much more than that. Like Kali, she was a Virgin-Mother-Crone
trinity. She was once indistinguishable from the Fates (Moirai); her
old name was Moira, and she was said to be older than Time. She governed
the world by ius naturale, the natural law of the maternal clan.1
She was not only Greek. She was the Dea Syria, also known as
Asherah or Astarte, Goddess of the oldest continuously-occupied
temple in the world.2 She was the ancestral mother of the Romans, for
she gave birth to their founding father, Aeneas.3 Under the name of
Venus, she was the mother of the Venetii, whose capital city became
Venice, called “Queen of the Sea” after the Goddess herself.
One of Aphrodite’s major centers of worship was the city of
Paphos on Cyprus, the island named for its copper mines. Thus, she
was called “the Cyprian” or “the Paphian,” and her sacred metal was
copper. She was also called Mari, the Sea. Egyptians referred to her
island as Ay-Mari.4
During the Christian era, Aphrodite’s temple on Cyprus was
converted into a sanctuary of the virgin Mary, another name of the
same Goddess, but in this sanctuary the virgin Mary is hailed to this day
as Panaghia Aphroditessa, “All-holy Aphrodite.” 5
Continued worship of the goddess on Cyprus probably contributed
to the Christian belief that the whole population of Cyprus descended
from demons.6 In reality, Cyprian Aphrodite was like all other
manifestations of the Great Goddess: ruling birth, life, love, death,
time, and fate, reconciling man to all of them through sensual and
sexual mysticism. The Cyprian sage Zenon taught Aphrodite’s philosophy:
“mankind and the universe were bound tqgether in the system
of fate …. Diogenes Laertios tells us that Zenon was the first to
define the end of human existence as ‘life in accordance with nature.’ ” 7
Aphrodite had almost as many “emanations” as Thousand-Named
Kali. She was not only Mari and Moira and Marina and Pelagia and
Stella Maris, all titles related to her control of the sea; she was also
Ilithyia, Goddess of childbirth; Hymen, Goddess of marriage; Venus,
Goddess of sexuality and the hunt; Urania, Queen of Heaven; Androphonos,
the Destroyer of Men; and many others. She was often
identified with Isis. Anchises, her lover who begot Aeneas and then was
castrated, had a name meaning “he who mates with lsis.” 8 Under
several of her names, Aphrodite mated with Semitic gods. Her cult
occupied the main temple in Jerusalem after 70 A.D. In the 4th
century it was said that Constantine’s mother found the true cross of
Christ buried in Aphrodite’s Jerusalem temple. (See Cross.)
One of Aphrodite’s greatest shrines in Asia Minor was the city of
Aphrodisias, once dedicated to Ishtar. Up to the 12th century A.D.,
when the city was taken by Seljuk Turks, the Goddess was worshipped
there as the patron of arts and letters, crafts, and culture.9 Recent
excavations have uncovered exquisite artifacts and statuary, bespeaking
a cultivated and sophisticated lifestyle under the Goddess’s rule. 10
The calendar still keeps the name of Aphrodite on the month
dedicated to her, April (Aphrilis). The ancient Kalendar of Romulus
said this was the month of Venus. 11

Aphrodite, Pan & Eros

Aphrodite’s totem, the bird of sexual passion, symbolically equivalent
to the yoni. 1 In India, too, the dove was paravata, the symbol of lust. 2
Joined to her consort the phallic serpent, the Dove-goddess stood for
sexual union and “Life.”
The phrase attributed to Jesus, “Be ye therefore wise as serpents,
and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16), was no random metaphor
but a traditional invocation of the Syrian God and Goddess.3 The
Oriental meaning was remembered by the gypsies, whose folk tales
said the souls of ancestors lived inside magic hollow mountains, the men
having been changed into serpents and the women into doves.4
Christians adopted the feminine dove as a symbol of the Holy
Ghost, originally the Goddess Sophia, representing God’s “Wisdom”
as the Goddess Metis represented the “Wisdom” of Zeus. Gnostic
Christians said Sophia was incarnate in the dove that impregnated the
virgin Mary, the same dove that descended on Jesus at his baptism to
impregnate his mind (Matthew 3:16). Pious admirers of Pope Gregory
the Great made him even more saintly than Jesus by reporting that
the Holy Ghost in dove shape descended on him not once but many
times.5 All this was copied from Roman iconography which showed the
human soul as a dove that descended from the Dove-goddess’s
oversoul to animate the body.6
Aphrodite as a bringer of death, or “peace,” sometimes bore the
name of Irene, Dove of Peace. Another of her death-goddess names
was Epitymbria, “She of the Tombs.” 7 Romans called her Venus
Columba, Venus-the-Dove. Her catacombs, mausoleums, and necropoli
were known as columbaria, “dovecotes.” 8 Thus the soul
returning to the Goddess after death was again envisioned as a dove.
From this image, Christians copied their belief that the souls of saints
became white doves that flew out of their mouths at the moment of
death. In the Catholic ceremony of canonization, white doves are
released from cages at the crucial moment of the ritual.9
Christian iconography showed seven rays emanating from the
dove of the Holy Ghost: an image that went back to some of the most
primitive manifestations of the Goddess. 10 In the Orient, the mystic
seven were the Pleiades or “Seven Sisters,” whose Greek name
meant “a flock of doves.” They were daughters or “rays” of Aphrodite
under her title of Pleione, Queen of the Sea. 11 Hemdotus said seven
holy women known as Doves founded the oracles of Dodona, Epirus,
and Theban Amon.12 They were worshipped in the Middle East as
Seven Sages or Seven Pillars of Wisdom: the seven woman-shaped
pillars that had been upholding temples of the Goddess since the
third millenium B.c. 13 See Caryatid. Arabs still revere the Seven Sages,
and some remember that they were women, or “doves.” 14 The
Semitic word for “dove,” ione, was a cognate of”yoni” and related to
the Goddess Uni, who later became lune, or Juno.
The cult of the Doves used to incorporate primitive rites of
castration and its modification, circumcision. India called the seven
Sisters “razors” or “cutters” who judged and “critically” wounded men,
the Krittikas, “Seven Mothers of the World,” root of the Greek
kritikos, “judge.” They killed and gave rebirth to gods who were
castrated to make them fertile, like women. The name of Queen
Semiramis, legendary founder of Babylon, also meant “Dove” in the
Syrian tongue. She was said to have castrated all her consorts. 15
When circumcision replaced castration, the doves were involved in
that too. Even Christian symbolism made the connection. The
official symbol of the Festival of the Circumcision of Christ was a dove,
holding in its beak a ring representing the Holy Prepuce. “Christ’s
fructifying blood” was linked with the similar emblem of Pentecost,
which showed the descending dove on a background of blood red,
officially described as a representation of the church fertilized by the
blood of Christ and the martyrs. 16
A certain “maiden ma~tyr” called St. Columba (Holy Dove) was
widely revered, especially in France, although she never existed as a
human being. 17 Another curious survival of pagan dove-lore was the
surname given to St. Peter: Bar-Iona, “Son of the Dove.” 18 Some
survivals may have been invented to explain the doves appearing on
ancient coins as symbols of Aphrodite and Astarte. 19

Columba, Saint

“Holy Dove,” a spurious canonization of Aphrodite as a “maiden
martyr” Columba of Sens.1 Celtic myth called her Colombe, the yoni
maiden mated to Lancelot as a lightning bolt, the Phallus of Heaven. 2
See Lightning.


Literally “Virgin of the Sea,” the mermaid was an image of fish-tailed
Aphrodite, the medieval Minne, Maerin, Mari, Marina, mereminne,
mare-mynd, mareminde, marraminde, or maraeman. 1 Her Death-
goddess aspect, sometimes named Ran, received the souls of those put
to sea in funeral boats; or, she might trap living men in her fish net.
Teutons said drowned men went to dwell in the house ofRan.2
An English law, still on the books in the 19th century, officially
claimed for the Crown “all mermaids found in British waters.” 3


“Celestial One,” title of Aphrodite as Queen of Heaven. Her former
consort Uranus was transformed into her castrated “father” in classical
myth; Uranus’s patricidal son threw his severed genitals into the sea,
and the sea-womb brought forth Aphrodite. Actually, Celestial Aphrodite
and the sea-womb were one and the same: manifestations of the
Triple Goddess. The castrated dying god was her ubiquitous son-lover
who died, fertilized her by his death, and begot himself again.
Uranus was a western form of Varuna, a deity of indeterminate
sex, sometimes a male-turned-female like Hermes or Teiresias. To
the Persians he was varan a spirit of sexual intercourse like the Hindu
Kama. His name came from vr, to envelop-a female function-and
he performed female-imitative miracles, such as turning water into
blood, giving birth to the sun, and measuring the earth.1 From the
Asian precedents it may be assumed that Urania and Uranus were the
same primal androgyne as Jana-Janus, Diana-Dianus, etc.


The Three Fates of Greek myth: Clotho the Spinner, Lachesis the
Measurer, Atropos the Cutter, western versions of the Oriental Triple
Goddess as Creator, Preserver, Destroyer. All nations of the ancient
world knew the theory that life was a mystical thread spun by the Virgin,
measured and sustained by the Mother, and cut by the Crone.
The Goddess Aphrodite took trinitarian form as the Great Moira,
said to be older than Time.1 Greek funerary hymns consigning the
dead to her care were known as Moirologhia, invocations of the Fates.


Nearly all mythologies bear traces of the Triple Goddess as three
Fates, rulers of the past, present, and future in the usual personae of
Virgin, Mother, and Crone (or Creator, Preserver, Destroyer). The
female trinity assumed many different guises in western religion: the
Norns or Weird Sisters of the north (from wyrd, “fate”), the Zorya of
the Slavs, the Morrigan of the Irish, the triple Guinevere or triple Brigit
of the Britons.
In Greek myth the three Fates were Horae, Graeae, Muses,
Gorgons, Furies, and other trinities as well as the principal trinity of
Moerae or Fates. Nearly always, they were weavers. In Anglo-Saxon
literature, fate is “woven.” Latin destino (destiny) means that which
is woven, or fixed with cords and threads; fate is “bound” to happen,
just as the spells of fairy-women were “binding.” 1
The Moerae were Clotho the Spinner, Lachesis the Measurer,
and Atropos the Cutter of life’s thread. All were aspects of the archaic
Triple Aphrodite, of whom it was said her real name was Moera, and
she was older than Time.2 Moera was actually a late name for the
Fate-goddess. In the Mycenaean period it meant a landholding, possessed
by a female property owner according to the old matriarchal
system. Hence, Moera was a lot: later, “allotted Fate.” 3
Aphrodite’s trinity was sometimes divided into three Horae, or
celestial nymphs: Eunomia, Dike, and Irene, meaning Order, Destiny,
and Peace. These referred to the “ordering” of elements to form the
individual; the destiny established for him by the Mother; and the
“peace” of dissolution as decreed at the end of life by Aphrodite
Columba, the Dove of Peace.4
If the weaving Fates could be induced not to cut the thread of life
at a perilous moment, the individual would be spared; if not, he
would die. Magic charms were often based on this notion. A Slavic
charm for healing wounds was addressed to the Fate-weaver on the
mystic isle of Bujan, or Buyan, the Goddess’s paradise: “In the Ocean-sea,
on the isle of Buyan, a fair maiden was weaving silk; she did not
leave off weaving silk; the blood ceased flowing.” 5 According to Russian
myth, this maiden was the Virgin of Dawn, equivalent to the Latin
Mater Matuta, or the Greek Eos, traditionally the first Fate. The sun
god went to rest on her magic isle, and rose again from it each day.6
Other Greek names for the Fate-goddess were Tyche, Dike, and
Nemesis. Romans called her Fortuna; a trinity or a monad. A
terracotta medallion from Vienne showed her as a tutelary city-goddess,
wearing a mural crown, enthroned in a laurel wreath.7 As the
Babylonian “Mother of Destiny,” Fate was named Mammetun, the
Creatress.8 All were based on the primordial Indo-European Mother
of Karma, i.e., Kali Ma.
“Fate” was synonymous with “fairy” in the Middle Ages. Alphonsus
de Spina placed “Fates” first on his list of devils, remarking:
“Some say they have seen Fates, but if so they are not women but
demons.” 9 Burchardus of Worms complained that the people honored
the Fates or Weird Sisters at the beginning of every year, putting
offerings of food and drink on a table for them, with -three knives for
cutting their meat-presumably so the death-dealing Cutter wouldn’t
be tempted to use her own knife.10
Greeks still say the Fates visit the cradle of every newborn, to
determine the child’s future as his fairy godmothers. Parents used to
chain up the watchdog, leave the door open, and set out dainty foods to
put the Moerae in a good humor. 11 Many fairy tales give stern lessons
in the folly of offending fairy godmothers. Gypsies still say “three ladies
in white” stand at the cradle of each child, and take back the soul
when life has run its course, like the Three Queens of Arthurian legend.
Greek laments for the dead are still called moirologhia, giving the
deceased back to the Moerae. 12


“The Spinner,” first of the Greek Moerae or Fates; She Who Spins
the Thread of Life. The same name was applied to Isis in her “terrible”
aspect as a creator-destroyer.1 Clotho’s thread was sometimes golden,
but more often blood red.


“The Measurer,” second of the three Fates or Moerae in Greek
religion; corresponding to the second person of Kali as the Preserver.
She who measured out the life-span of every creature was the same as
the Goddess who preserved life up to the time when it must end, and
Atropos the Cutter took over from Lachesis.


“Cutter,” the third of the Greek trinity of Fates (Moerae). She was
the Destroyer whose function was to cut the thread of life that the first
sister spun, and the second one wove. She was usually depicted as an
old woman carrying a pair of shears. Like Kali the Destroyer, she was
also worshipped as a Goddess in her own right. In Parthia, the
“Virgin-Land,” she had her own holy city, Atropatene. Its modern
name is Azerbaijan.1

Fata Scribunda

‘The Fate Who Writes,” Roman title of the Goddess who inscribed
each infant’s future destiny in her Book of Life shortly after birth.1
Writing was an attribute of women or Goddesses in the oldest


The Fate-goddess wove and tied together the threads of life, according
to the ancients. Marriage is still called “tying the knot” because it
used to be viewed as a binding of two life-threads by the Goddess
Aphrodite, or Juno. Egyptians’ Isis-Hathor bound or loosed the lives of
men with Tat, the Knot of Fate, and taught the art of making magic
knots. Sometimes she bore the title of the knot itself, Tait. High-ranking
Egyptians were promised she would personally weave their cerements,
including “bandages from the hand of Tait.” 1 In Egypt, holy
mysteries in general were shetat, “she-knots.” 2
The Knot of Fate came into Greek myth as the famous Gordian
Knot severed by the sword of Alexander, in fulfillment of the
prophecy that whoever could “unravel” the knot would become lord of
all Asia. The original knot was the marriage tie of Phrygia’ s sacred
king, alternately Gordius or Midas, sons and bridegrooms of the Magna
Mater. The knot was fastened to the yoke of the oxcart on which
Gordius entered into his kingdom, as the oracle announced in terms
similar to the Bible’s description of Jesus’s triumphal entry into
Jerusalem: “Phrygians, your new king is approaching with his bride,
seated in an ox-cart!” 3
Pagan religions related the art of knotting to “binding” and
“loosing” the forces of creation and destruction, the same power
claimed by the papacy for the alleged heirs of St. Peter (Matthew
16:19). (See Peter, Saint.) The windings of Fate and the mysteries
of Nature were often symbolized by’ elaborate knotwork, as in the
intricate knot-patterns of Scandinavian and Saracenic monuments.
Witches of Finland, Lapland, and the northern islands bound the
winds in magic knots and sold them to credulous sailors, who would
use the knots to try to control the winds at sea, as Odysseus’s sailors did
with Aeolus’s bag of winds. Such magic was still common in the late
16th century.4 Scottish witches were said to raise winds and storms by
soaking a knotted rag in water and beating it on a stone to make drops
fly like rain, saying:
I knok this rag upone this stane
To raise the wind in the dive/lis name
It sail not lye till I please againe.5
In 1814 Sir Walter Scott found one Bessie Millie selling “winds
by the devil’s help” to sailors in the form of knotted cords.6 British
witches claimed to stop nosebleeds by tying knots in red thread, the
classic Fate-weaver’s blood symboJ.7 Weaver’s thread was also thought
to cure “diseases of the groin” when knotted with a widow’s name
pronounced at each knot.8 On the other hand, witches could make men
impotent with a magic knot called “ligature.” Predictably, men said
this was a “detestable impiety” deserving the death penalty. According
to a canon of the church, God’s opinion was self-contradictory.
Ligature could occur only with God’s permission and could be cured
only “with God’s help.” 9
The Jews so feared magic knots that rabbinic law forbade tying any
knots on the Sabbath; though one rabbi said it was legal to tie a knot
that could be untied with one hand.10 Moslems said Mohammed nearly
died of a sickness prepared by Jewish witches with a “cord of knots,”
which was discovered in time to save his life. The knots were loosened
by speaking verses of the Koran. Moslems still believe that Surah
CXIII of the Koran will stop “the evil of women who are blowers on
knots.” 11
Knot magic is performed by the Mexican recibidora (midwife) in
complicated tyings of umbilical cords.12 Greeks still remember the
life-knots of the Moerae, saying of a dead man, “his thread is cut.” 13
The same triple Fates govern the “Nordic Knot” of three interlocking
triangles, known as the Knot of the Vala.14 Formed of three
female-genital symbols, this invoked the Great Vala (Freya) who
wove the fates of men.


Aphrodite’s celestial nymphs, who performed the Dances of the
Hours, acted as midwives to the gods, and inspired earthly horae (harlotpriestesses)
to train men in the sexual Mysteries. The dance still
called hora was based on the priestesses’ imitation of the zodiacal
circling of “hours.” Time-keeping is horology because of the systems
devised by these ancient priestesses of the Goddess. See Prostitution.
The Horae were called “fair ones, begetters of all things, who in
appointed order bring on day and night, summer and winter, so as to
make months and years grow full.”
In Egypt they were
“Ladies of the Hour,”
in Persia houris, in
Babylon harines; among
Semites they were
the “whores” called hor
(a hole), ancestresses
of the Horites.
Agape, Saint

“Love Feast,” first of Aphrodite’s holy whores (Horae), was canonized
as a Christian saint when icons of the Horae were re-labeled
“virgin martyrs”: Sts. Agape, Chione, and lrene.1 Agape originally
personified the rite of sexual communion, as practiced in Aphrodite’s
temples and adopted by some early Christian sects as a Tantric type
of “spiritual marriage.” By the 7th century A.D. the agape ceremony was
declared heretical, but it continued secretly throughout the Middle
Ages.2 See Menstrual Blood.


“Snow Queen,” a Greek title of one of the Horae; an untouchable
virgin Goddess of the high mountains, prototype of the medieval fairy,
Virginal the Ice Queen. She was also canonized as a Christian
“virgin martyr.”

Irene, Saint

“Peace,” the third of Aphrodite’s three Horae; the Dove who
announced the coming of death. She also associated with the “peace” to
be won by ritual castration, even as late as the 14th century A.D. when
a nun or priestess bearing her name was linked to the heretical sect of
Mount Athos monks who emasculated themselves.’ (See
The pagan temple of Irene on the acropolis of Constantinople was
taken over by Christians and renamed the Church of Holy Irene. 2

Thus the Byzantine Goddess was canonized, along with her two sisters
in the same Trinity.3Eunomia

“Order,” the first of Aphrodite’s three Horae; one of the names of
the Triple Goddess’s virgin aspect as the Creatress who first brought
order out of chaos. See Creation; Diakosmos.


Greek “Fortune,” also called Dike or Moera; the Goddess of Destiny
either for the universe, or for the individual soul.1 Tyche Basileos was
the title of the “female soul” or Fortune-goddess of a king. No ruler
had any power to act unless the Goddess Tyche looked upon him with
favor. See Fortune.Dike/Dice

Alternative spelling of the Greek Fate-goddess Tyche, whom the
Orphics called Eurydice, “Universal Dike.” To her were dedicated the
oracular knucklebones (dice) used to select sacrificial victims by the
rite of lots, and to prophesy the future, like the Hebrews’ sacred urim
and thummim. See Orphism.


“Universal Dike,” Mother of Fate, the Orphic name for the underworld
Goddess who received the soul of Orpheus. Hellenic writers
converted her into Orpheus’s wife, sent by a serpent’s bite to the land
of death, where he followed her; but this was an artificial myth of very
late origin. The icons from which came the apocryphal story of
Eurydice’s death seem to have represented Orpheus entering the
underworld, to be greeted by Hecate with her serpents. Eurydice’s
“snake in the grass” was her sacred animal, constant companion of the
underworld Goddess. 1
Medieval poets knew the same classic Goddess as a queen of
England, “Heurodis,” whose consort was a god-begotten king of
Winchester, “Sir Orfeo.” 2


Pythagorean name for the Goddess of Allotted Fate, a trinity with
Ananke and Dike. She was another philosophical transformation of the
Triple Goddess.

“Due Enactment,” the Time-goddess also called Dike or Tyche,
“Destiny.” 1 She was probably derived from Kala-Nemi, the Mother of
Karma and of the wheel of time. 2 Many versions of the Moon and
her holy groves were cognates: Nemea, Diana Nemetona, the Celtic
Nemhain, Merlin’s Nimue, the Mother of the ancient Nemed or
Ovid called Nemesis “the Goddess that abhors boastful words,”
because she brought all kings and heroes down to destruction in the
end, no matter how arrogant they might become.3 The Stoics worshipped
her as the world-governing principle of Nature, which in
time reduced all things to their component elements. Even Zeus feared
Nemesis, for she was once his destroyer and devourer, the Goddess
who gave both birth and death to all gods.4 She was sometimes entitled
Adrasteia, the Inescapable One. 5
Charites“Graces,” heavenly dispensers of charis (Latin caritas), the grace of
Mother Aphrodite, which the Bible translates either “love” or “charity”
(1 Corinthians 13). The Charites were ancient manifestations of the
Triple Goddess. Pausanias said they were worshipped at Orchomenos
as three standing stones.1 The classic myth of their nymph-hood
hardly described them; nor did their Christian form, the mythical St.
Charity. See Grace; Sophia, Saint.


Prophylactic mask signifying Female Wisdom: a face of Athene or
Medusa surrounded by snake-locks. Gorgo, Gorgon, or Gorgopis,
“Grim Face,” was the title of Athene as a death goddess.1 Athenians
tried to explain the Gorgon face on Athene’s aegis with the myth that
Perseus cut off Medusa’s head and brought it home to his own
Goddess. But this was a late myth designed to conceal Athene’s roots in
Libya, where she was herself called Medusa, or Metis.
Like other versions of the archaic Goddess, the Gorgons were a
trinity in classical mythology. Their names were Medusa, Stheino,
and Euryale: Wisdom, Strength, and Universality. Hellenic writers
pretended they were monsters, but these were not the names of
monsters. They were titles of the triadic Moon Mother. Orphic mystics
continued to call the moon “The Gorgon’s Head.” 2
The story that the Gorgon’s look could turn men to stone dated
from the use of the Gorgon-face to enforce taboos on secret Mysteries
of the Goddess, guarded by stone pillars formerly erected in honor of
her deceased lovers. See Athene; Medusa.


Classic myth made Medusa the terrible Gorgon whose look turned
men to stone. The Argives said Medusa was a Libyan queen beheaded
by their ancestral hero Perseus, who brought her head (or ceremonial
mask) back to Athens.1
Actually, Medusa was the serpent-goddess of the Libyan Amazons,
representing “female wisdom” (Sanskrit medha, Greek metis,
Egyptian met or Maat). She was the Destroyer aspect of the Triple
Goddess called Neith in Egypt, Ath-enna or Athene in North Africa.
Her inscription at Sais called her “mother of all the gods, whom she
bore before childbirth existed.” She was the past, present, and future:
“All that has been, that is, and that will be.” 2 So famous was this
description of her that Christians later copied it on behalf of Jehovah
(Revelation 1:8).
She said: “No mortal has yet been able to lift the veil that covers
me,” because she was Death, and to see her face to face was to die-that
is, to be “turned to stone” as a funerary statue. She was veiled also
because she was the Future, which always wears a veil. Another
meaning of her hidden, dangerous face was the menstrual taboo.
Primitive folk often believe the look of a menstruous woman can turn
a man to stone.3 Medusa had magic blood that could create and destroy
life; thus she represented the dreaded life- and death-giving moonblood
of women (see Menstrual Blood).4
The Perseus story was invented to account for the appearance of
Medusa’s face on Athene’s aegis, inherited from the pre-Hellenic
period when Athene was actually the same Goddess (also mythologized
as Metis, her alleged “mother”). The Athenians pretended their
municipal Goddess was the “wisdom” of Zeus, born from his head. But
older myths said Athene was born of the Three Queens of Libya-that
is, the Triple Goddess, of whom Metis-Medusa was the Destroyer
aspect.5 A female face surrounded by serpent-hair was an ancient,
widely recognized symbol of divine female wisdom, and equally of the
“wise blood” that supposedly gave women their divine powers.



“Wisdom,” mythical mother of Athene, assimilated to the Zeus cult
by the claim that Zeus impregnated her, then swallowed her, so her
wisdom-principle became part of himself. Thus he was able to give
birth to Metis’s child Athene from his own head. Older versions of the
myth show that Metis was really Medusa, whose Gorgon face and
snake hair symbolized Female Wisdom. Athene was the virgin form of
the same Goddess, born not from Zeus’s head but from the triple
Gorgon in the land of Libyan Amazons, who worshipped Medusa-Metis
as the Mother of Fate.1 A later, Gnostic-Christian version of
the same Goddess was Sophia, whose name also meant “Wisdom.”


Mother-goddess of Athens, worshipped as Holy Virgin, Athene
Parthenia, in the Parthenon, her “Virgin-temple.” Though classic
writers insisted on her chastity, older traditions gave her several
consorts, such as Hephaestus and Pan.1 She was united with the phallic
Pallas, whose “Palladium” was a lingam, later Rome’s greatest fetish.2
Athene came from North Africa. She was the Libyan Triple
Goddess Neith, Metis, Medusa, Anath, or Ath-enna. An inscription
at Larnax-Lapithou named her Athene in Greek, Anat in Phoenician.3
Pre-Hellenic myths said she came from the uterus of Lake Tritonis
(Three Queens) in Libya.4 Egyptians sometimes called Isis Athene,
which meant “I have come from myself.” 5
Greeks claimed Athene was born from Zeus’s head, after he
swallowed her mother Metis-i.e., Medusa, “Female Wisdom,”
formerly symbolized by the Gorgoneum, Athene’s snake-haired mask,
invested with power to turn men to stone.6 Gorgo, or Gorgon, was
Athene’s Destroyer aspect.7 Funerary statues or phallic pillars were her
“men turned to stone,” perhaps even identified with the pillars of the
Parthenon which was seized by Christians at an unknown date in
the 5th or 6th century A.D. and rededicated as a temple of the virgin


Goatskin breastplate of the Goddess Athene, ornamented with
oracular serpents and the petrifying head of Medusa. The original
Libyan Athene was herself the Gorgon mask surrounded by serpents,
served by priestesses who wore the aegis as a goatskin apron. It was a
badge of divine power. Later Homeric myths considered the aegis so
essential to sovereignty that not even Zeus could rule the other gods
without it.


The Gray Women of classical myth; like the northern Norns, a
variant on the personae of the Triple Goddess. Graeae were mothers of
Greece (Graecia). According to the Perseus myth they were less
terrible than the Gorgons, but Graeae and Gorgons were originally the
same triad, the former having more sinister names than the latter.
The Graeae were named Enyo, Pemphredo, and Deino: Warlike One,
Wasp, and Terror.1 They shared but a single eye and a single tooth
among them, showing that they stood for a primitive concept of the
Goddess who was three in one and one in three. See Gorgon;


Ninefold Goddess as the source of “in-spiration,” literally breathing
in “I-deas” or Goddess-spirits within. The Muses were originally a
triad-the primordial Triple Goddess. First of them was Mnemosyne,
“Memory,” who made poets able to remember sacred sagas.1
The seven-tone musical scale was the Muses’ invention, supposedly
based on their “music” of the seven spheres. Scipio the Elder said
the spheres “produce seven distinct tones; the septenary number is the
nucleus of all that exists. And men, who know how to imitate this
celestial harmony with the lyre, have traced their way back to the
sublime realm.” 2 Led by Thalia, who governed music in general, the
classical Muses were Clio (history), Calliope (heroic poetry), Terpsichore
(dance), Melpomene (tragedy), Erato (erotic poetry), Euterpe
(flute accompaniments), Polyhymnia (sacred songs), and Urania, the
Celestial Aphrodite of the plane of the fixed stars. The Alexandrian
shrine of the Muses was the Museum, “the nearest thing to a modern
university that the ancient world experienced.”3 It was destroyed by
Christians, who detested pagan learning.


“Memory,” first of the Muses, an old version of the Ninefold
Goddess. Poets called on Mnemosyne to help them avoid errors in
reciting the sacred sagas, learned by rote in pre-literate cultures.1 She
was linked with Mother Earth, whom Nordic bards invoked under the
name of Erda.

Euphemia, Saint

“Good-speaker,” a fictitious Christian saint based on a title of the
Goddess as the Muse of mellifluous speech. St. Euphemia’s legend
shows that she was not a human being but a statue. She stood aloft on
a high place, and could not be reached except with ladders; those who
climbed up to pull her down were afraid, because the first of their
number had been stricken with paralysis upon touching her and was
borne away half dead.1 That is, she was a holy image protected by so
stern a taboo that even early Christians feared to violate it.


“All-Goddess,” one of “three daughters of the Moon” in Greek
myth; a title of the female trinity.1 Her two sisters were called Erse and
Nemea. See Moon.


Etruscan name for the Great Mother’s holy trinity, a “three-in-one”
Goddess who gave birth to the uni-verse. She was represented by the
sign of female genitals; Uni was a cognate of “yoni.” In Rome, the
three were worshipped as the early Capitoline Triad of Virgin-MotherCrone
(Juventas, Juno, Minerva); but in Imperial times the virgin
Goddess was removed to make room for Jupiter.1 The name of Uni
evolved into Iune, or Juno.


Latin form of the Great Goddess, cognate with Greek Kore or Core,
identified with Demeter as Mother Earth. As the earth-ruling aspect of
the Goddess’s trinity, Ceres combined with Juno as queen of heaven,
and Proserpine as queen of the underworld. She was called Ceres
Legifera, “Ceres the Lawgiver.” Her priestesses were considered the
foundresses of the Roman legal system.1
Ceres ruled Rome through her sacred matronae, during that lost
period of four centuries before 200 B.C., a period whose written
records were destroyed by later patriarchal historians, leaving only a
residue of myths and religious customs that were only vaguely
explained.2 Farmers viewed her as the source of all food and kept her
rites faithfully, for fear of crop failure.
This was true not only of Roman farmers but even of Christian
farmers. Ceres’s greatest annual festival, the Cerealia, was celebrated
in the British Isles almost to the present day. An account of the Shire of
Murray in the late 19th century said, “In the middle of June, farmers
go round their corn with burning torches, in memory of the Cerealia.” 3


Roman Great Mother, derived from Sabine-Etruscan Uni, the
Three-in-One deity cognate with “yoni” and “Uni-verse.” Juno had
dozens of attributes or emanations which are sometimes erroneously
viewed as separate Goddesses. Juno Fortuna was the Goddess of Fate.
Juno Sospita was the Preserver. Juno Regina was Queen of Heaven.
Juno Lucina was Goddess of Celestial Light. Juno Moneta was the
Advisor and Admonisher. Juno Martialis was the virgin mother of
Mars. Juno Caprotina, or Februa, was the Goddess of erotic love. Juno
Populonia was Mother of the People. And so on, through many
other Junos. 1
Every Roman woman embodied a bit of Goddess’s spirit, her own
soul a juno, corresponding to the genius of a man. 2 Later patriarchal
vocabularies dropped the word juno but retained genius, thus depriving
women of their souls-which may be why church councils of the
early Middle Ages sometimes maintained that women are soulless.
Juno’s sacred month of June honored her as patroness of marriages
and the family, which is why June is still the traditional time for
Juno had her formidable aspects too. As a battle-goddess she
represented the fighting spirit of a mother defending her offspring,
the epitome of bravery by Roman definition. Therefore Juno Seispitei
Matri Reginae (Juno the Preserver, Queen of the Mothers) was
regarded as the spirit of war.3 Her title was the same as that of the Hindu
war-goddess Durga the Preserver, Leader of the Mothers.4 Like all
Indo-European forms of the Goddess, Juno was.only another local
manifestation of the same all-encompassing deity.
Among Juno’s sacred symbols were the peacock, the cowrie shell,
and of course the lily, or lotus, universal yonic emblem. With her
sacred lily, Juno conceived the god Mars without any assistance from
her consort, Jupiter; thus she became the Blessed Virgin Juno.5 The
three-lobed lily that used to represent her parthenogenetic power was
inherited by the virgin Mary, who still retains it.


Roman version of Persephone, queen of the underworld. Along with
Hecate and Diana, Proserpina was frequently designated “queen of
witches” in medieval tradition. Christian Gnostics spoke of her as the
death-goddess whom every soul would meet soon after death. Christian
demonologists listed Proserpina among the dignitaries of hell, as the
“arch she-devil.” ‘ She had a poetic appeal however for such as Swinburne,
who said she “gathers all things mortal with cold immortal
hands”; and in her mystic garden there was “only the sleep eternal in an
eternal night.” zMinerva

Roman Goddess of wisdom and the moon derived from the Etruscan
Goddess Menarva or Menrva, probably a Crone aspect of the original
Capitoline Triad: a Latinized Athene. Her totem was the same as
that of Athene, Lilith, and the Welsh Goddess Blodeuwedd: an owl,
which consequently became known as the bird of wisdom and of


“Queen of Heaven,” Roman name for the Triple Goddess as (1)
Lunar Virgin, (2) Mother of Creatures, and (3) the Huntress (Destroyer).
Her Greek name was Artemis. Her major pilgrimage centers
were Ephesus and Nemi, the Sacred Grove. She was Dione, Diana
Nemorensis, or Nemetona, Goddess of the Moon-grove. In her
sanctuaries, sacred kings periodically engaged in combat, the loser dying
as the god Hippolytus, the winner invested as the Goddess’s new
favorite, Virbius. See Hippolytus, Saint.
As Diana Egeria, patroness of childbirth, nursing, and healing, the
Goddess made Nemi’ s holy spring the Lourdes of pagan Rome.1 The
legendary King Numa was said to have derived all his wisdom from a
sacred marriage with her.
Diana’s cult was so widespread in the pagan world that early
Christians viewed her as their major rival, which is why she later
became “Queen of Witches.” The Gospels commanded total destruction
of all temples of Diana, the Great Goddess worshipped by “Asia
and all the world” (Acts 19:27).
Roman towns all over Europe habitually called the local mother
goddess Diana, as later Christian towns were to call her Madonna.
Fortunatus said Diana was the Goddess worshipped at Vernemeton,
“which in the Gaulish language means the Great Shrine.” In the 5th
century A.D., the Gauls regarded her as their supreme deity. Christians
spoke slightingly of their pagan custom of adoring the spirit of Diana
in a cut branch or a log of wood.2 Gozbert, a 7th-century Frankish
chieftain, doubted the claims of a Christian missionary on the ground
that the Christian God was “no better than our own Diana.”3
At Ephesus, the Goddess was called Mother of Animals, Lady of
Wild Creatures, and Many-Breasted Artemis, shown with her entire
torso covered with breasts to nourish the world’s creatures.4 In the 4th
century A.D., the church took over this shrine and re-dedicated it to
the virgin Mary. 5 One of the earliest churches devoted to “Our Lady”
existed at Ephesus in 431; but most of the people believed the Lady
was Diana, not Mary. In 432 the Council of Ephesus tried to eliminate
worship of the pagan Goddess, but the bishops were besieged by
crowds demanding, “Give us our Diana of the Ephesians!”6
An excuse for converting Diana’s temples into Mary’s churches
was provided by a made-to-order legend that Mary lived at Ephesus
in her old age. Her tomb was located there, and some Christians even
pointed out the house in which she had lived. 7 But sometimes she
was identified with the sinister Widow of Ephesus, a Crone aspect of
the Goddess showing some primitive features.
Petronius’s version of the myth said the Widow hung her husband’s
dead body on one of the three crosses in front of Diana’s
temple, replacing the body of a previously crucified thief. Then she lay
with her new lover at the foot of the cross. 8 The parallel between this
image and that of the triple Mary at the foot of Jesus’s cross was too
close for comfort, especially since Diana herself was assimilated to the
Christian myth as Mary’s mother, or elder self, the “Grandmother of
God” under the name of either Anna (Hannah) or Di-anna
Gnostic Christians called their Wisdom-goddess Sophia the same
Grandmother of God, and frequently identified her with Diana of
Ephesus. When Diana’s temple was finally pulled down, as the Gospels
ordered, its magnificent porphyry pillars were carried to Constantinople
and built into the church of Holy Sophia. 10
The magic of Ephesus was remembered through the Middle Ages.
A writer said in 1725: “It is recorded in divers authors that in the
image of Diana, which was worshipped at Ephesus, there were certain
obscure words or sentences … written upon the feet, girdle and
crown of the said Diana: the which, if a man did use, having written
them out, and carrying them about him, he should have good luck in
all his businesses.” 11
Some Christians even remembered that Diana was once the triple
deity who ruled the world. A 14th-century poem attributed to the
Bishop of Meaux said Diana was an old name for the Trinity. 12
Officers of the Inquisition however regarded Diana as the “Goddess
of the heathen” with whom witches made their aerial night
journeys-or thought they did. 13 The worship of Diana was denounced
wherever it was found, even when the worshippers were members of
the clergy. In the 14th century, a bishop found the monks of Frithelstock
Priory worshipping a statue of “the unchaste Diana” at an altar
in the woods, and made them destroy it. 14 The notorious inquisitor
Torquemada declared bluntly that Diana is the devil. 15
Devil or not, Diana ruled the wild forests of Europe through the
medieval period. As patron of the forest of Ardennes she was Dea
Arduenna; as patron of the Black Forest she was Dea Abnoba. 16
Serbians, Czechs, and Poles knew her as the woodland Moongoddess
Diiwica, Devana, or Dziewona.17 She remained the Goddess
of wild woodlands and hunting, all the way up to the 18th century in
Dianic rites were celebrated even in church, despite objections
from the clergy. A minister wrote against the traditional parade of a
stag’s head into St. Paul’s Cathedral in London: “bringing in procession
into the church the head of a deer, fixed on the top of a long spear or
pole, with the whole company blowing Hunters Horns in a sort of
hideous manner; and with this rude pomp they go up to the High
Altar, and offer it there. You would think them all the mad Votaries of
Diana.” 18


The Roman Triple Goddess of Fate had many “Fortune” titles:
Fortuna Primigeneia, the Firstborn; Fortuna Muliebris, Goddess of
Women; Fortuna Scribunda, the Fate Who Writes; Fortuna Regia,
Goddess of Rulership; Bona Fortuna or Mala Fortuna, good and bad
Fortuna Augusti was the foundation of the emperors’ right to rule.
Romans swore by the emperor’s personal Fortuna, who governed his
soul. Caesars “constantly had before them, even during sleep or on
voyages, a golden statue of the goddess, which on their death they
transmitted to their successor and which they invoked under the name
of Fortuna Regia, a translation of Tyche Basileos (Fate of the
Rulership).” I
Greek Tyche was the same as Fortuna. When she was a Fate
attached to an individual, like a guardian angel, she was a psyche
(soul) or anima (spirit). Her Roman name Fortuna may have descended
from Vortumna, “She Who Turns the Year,” the Great Mother
turning the celestial wheel of the stars and also the karmic wheel of
Under the name of Agatha, “Kindly Fortune,” the Goddess was
associated with a serpent-consort, Agathodemon, a genius ofkindly
fate. 3 On the Orphic Bowl of the 5th century A.D. he appeared next to
her in the guise of the Lord of Death, “halfway around the circle, at
the point of midnight … holding in his right hand the poppy stalk of the
sleep of death, turned downward.” 4 ln this case Fortuna and her
consort stood for a fortunate life followed by a gentle death. The
Goddess’s favored ones went to her paradise in the far west, often
called the Fortunate Isles.
On the Goddess’s magic wheel of time, odd numbers were sacred
to her, even numbers to her consort. Roman religious festivals were
scheduled for the odd-numbered “female” days, because they were
supposed to be more propitious than “male” days.5
Fortuna became patroness of gamblers when her fate-wheel was
secularized as the carnival Wheel of Fortune, and she was renamed
Lady Luck. In England she was transformed into a fairy-creature called
a “portune,” which might lead horses astray, make travelers lose their
way, and other pranks. 6 Like most other forms of the Goddess she was
converted into a malicious spirit.


“Three Ways,” a Roman title of Hecate as Goddess of three-way
crossroads, where her three-faced images received offerings of cake,
fruit, or money. She also ruled springs and fountains. Money is still
offered to the Roman fountain that bears her name, Trevi.
The modern meaning of “trivia” may be related to early attempts
to belittle the cult of the Goddess and render unimportant the old
custom of offering gifts to her image for protection on journeys.


Turkish variant of Qis-Mah, the Arabic “Fate” bestowed by
the Moon-goddess Mah. The meaning was similar to Hindu karma,
Roman fortuna, Greek dike (destiny). See Ma.

Brigit, Saint

Triple Goddess of the great Celtic empire of Brigantia, which
included parts of Spain, France, and the British Isles. Before she was a
saint, she was a typical feminine trinity. Brigit ruled; her two sisters
governed the arts of healing and smith craft. Cormac’s Glossary called
her “Brigit the female sage …. Brigit the goddess, whom poets
adored, because her protecting care over them was veiy great and very
famous.” 1
Dr. MacCulloch said Brigit “originated in a period when the Celts
worshipped goddesses rather than gods, and when knowledgeleechcraft,
agriculture, inspiration-were [sic] women’s rather than
men’s. She had a female priesthood and men were perhaps excluded
from her cult, as the tabooed shrine at Kildare suggests.” 2 Brigit’ s
priestesses at Kildare kept an ever-burning sacred fire like that of the
temple of Vesta in Rome. They called the three personae of Brigit the
“Three Blessed Ladies of Britain” or the “Three Mothers,” and
always identified them with the moon.3
The number of Brigit’ s priestesses at Kildare was 19, representing
the 19-year cycle of the Celtic “Great Year.” Greeks said the sun god
of the north, whom they called Hyperborean Apollo, visited the northern
“temple of the moon goddess” once every 19 years, a mythic
expression of the coincidence of solar and lunar calendars.4 In reality the
period of coincidence was 18.61 years, which meant the smallest
regular unit to give a “mating” of sun and moon was 56 years, two
cycles of 19 and one of 18. This astronomical data was well known to
the builders of Stonehenge, who marked the span of Great Years with
posts around their circle.s
Brigit was older than Celtic Ireland, having come with Gaelic
Celts from their original home in Galatia. One of her earliest shrines
was Brigeto in Illyricum.6 Long before the Christian era, the Goddess
of the Brigantes was said to be the same as Juno Regina, Queen of
Heaven, and Tanit, the Dea Celestis (Heavenly Goddess).7
Finding the cult of Brigit impossible to eradicate, the Catholic
church rather unwisely canonized her as a saint, calling her Bridget
or Bride. Hagiographers declared she was a nun who founded a convent
at Kildare. But the convent was noted for its heathenish miracles and
evidences of fertility magic. Cows never went dry; flowers and shamrocks
sprang up in Brigit’s footprints; eternal spring reigned in her
bower. Irish writers refused to reduce their Goddess to mere sainthood,
and insisted that she was Queen of Heaven, which meant identifying
her with Mary. She was called “Mother of my Sovereign, Mary of the
Goidels, Queen of the South, Prophetess of Christ, Mother of
Jesus.” 8
An Irish charm against the evil eye suggested collusion between
the pagan and Christian heavenly-mother figures; it was “the Spell
the great white Mary sent to Bride the lovely fair.” 9 She was also the
mystic mother-bride of St. Patrick, supposed to have died as one of
her sacrificial victims, and entered the underworld via her sacred grove
at Derry Down. An old distich said, “On the hill of Down, buried in
one tomb, were Bridget and Patricius.” 10 Since Patrick’s name meant
“father,” and he was as apocryphal as other Irish saints, he may have
been a new name for Brigit’s old consort the Dagda or “father.”
Three churches of “St. Brigit” occupied her Triple-Goddess
territory of Hy Many, formerly Emania or Emain Macha, country of
the Moon. Baptismal fees of those churches belonged to the O’Kelly
tribes, descended from the Goddess’s kelles or sacred harlots. Her
original female trinity was semi-Christianized as a “Wonder-working
Triad” consisting of Brigit, Patrick, and Columba: the Mother, the
Father, and the Holy Dove. St. Brigit’s feast day was the first of
February, the first day of spring according to the pagan calendar. It
was called Oimelc, Imolg, or Imbulc, the day of union between God
and Goddess. 11
The same day was celebrated in Rome as the Lupercalia, sacred to
Venus and to women gene~ally. With unconscious irony, the church
transformed it into the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, also called
Candlemas, which kept much of its pagan symbolism and was
regarded as a major festival of witches.12
Like other versions of the Celtic Goddess, Brigit was a teacher of
the martial arts, and a patron of warfare or briga. Her soldiers were
brigands, or as Christians called them, outlaws. 13 Robin Hood’s merry
men were outlaws of the same kind; so were Kali’ s Thugs and the
“Assassins” who worshipped the Arabian Moon-goddess.
Brigit was canonized more than once. Besides the Irish Brigit there
was a St. Bridget of Sweden, foundress and supreme ruler of a double
monastery ofboth sexes, the Order of Brigantines. (See Convent.) A
branch of the ancient “colleges” of Brigit was a Brigantine House of
Sion established in 1420 on the bank of the Thames, where it flourished
untill589 as a center of education for ladies of noble birth. 14


The Triple Goddess Morgan in Ireland: the virgin Ana, flowering
fertility-goddess; the mother Babd, “Boiling,” the cauldron perpetually
producing life; and the crone Macha, “Great Queen of Phantoms,”
or Mother Death.1 Sometimes she was Mugain, the ruling Goddess of
Like Hecate the triple Moon-goddess, Macha sometimes stood for
all three personae. Queens of Ulster governed her shrine, Emain
Macha, or Macha’s Emania, land of the moon. 2 She laid the death
curse on Cu Chulainn, and haunted battlefields, making magic with
the blood of slain men.3 In the form of a raven she emerged from her
fairy-mound and perched on a standing-stone, singing of her Mysteries:
“I have a secret that you shall learn. The grasses wave. The flowers
glow golden. The goddesses three low like kine. The raven Morrigan
herself is wild for blood.” 4 See Trinity.


“Great Queen of Phantoms,” worshipped in Ireland even before the
coming of the Celts; probably identical with the Central Asian Moongoddess
Macha Alia, Mother of Life and Death. She appeared in the
Old Testament as Queen Ma~chah, whose spirit was worshipped as an
idol in a grove until ousted by her “son,” King Asa (l Kings 15:13).
The mountaintop temple ofMachaerus (where John the Baptist met his
doom) may have been named for her.
Macha’s Irish shrine was Emain Macha, capital of Ulster. Its
heavenly form was Emania, the Moon-goddess’s realm of death.1 As
the third person or death-aspect of the triple Morrigan she presided over
an extensive necropolis. Like other versions of the deadly mother
(Morgan, Durga, Uma, Kara), she haunted battlefields and made magic
with the blood of slain men.2 She was also identified with the Fairy
Queen, Mab. As a trinitarian Goddess, she cast her death curse on Cu
Chulainn in the guise of three druidic “sorceresses of Mab.” 3
Some said the voice of Macha summoned men to death, and it was
the same as the dread voice of the Banshee, or “woman of the
barrow-graves.” 4 Since followers of the Old Religion went to her land
of death, naturally their spirits inhabited the ancient tombs that also
represented her womb of rebirth.

Morgan Le Fay

Celtic death-goddess: Morgan the Fate, or Fata Morgana, or the
Triple Morrigan, or “Morgue Ia Faye.” 1 Sometimes she was a Ninefold
Goddess, the Nine Sisters called Morgen ruling the Fortunate Isles in
the far west, where dead heroes went.2 Sometimes she, or they, became
mermaids. Morgans or “sea-women” could “draw down to their
palaces of gold and crystal at the bottom of the sea or of ponds, those
who venture imprudently too near the water.” 3
Like Macha, the Crone aspect of the Morrigan, Morgan as
Mother Death cast the destroying curse on every man. Even Arthurian
romances which presented her as a human being, Arthur’s sister,
inconsistently admitted: “Morgan the Goddess is her name, and
there is never a man so high and proud but she can humble and tame
him.” 4
Sometimes she kindly promised immortality to her favored lovers,
like Ogier the Dane, who accompanied her to her paradise. As the
Morrigan, she stage-managed the contest between Cu Chulainn and a
giant named Terrible. She presided over Cu Chulainn’s killing of his
springtime rival, in a tale based on the Celtic legend of Gawain and the
Green Knight.S
Morgan sat at the head of the table in the Green Knight’s castle,
presiding over the death and resurrection of the rival year-gods as
they beheaded one another in their proper seasons. Gawain was
obviously a solar hero, his strength waxing in the morning and
waning in the afternoon; he was one of four brothers representing the
four solar seasons. The Green Knight was his perpetual antagonist.
Like Njord and Frey, Horus and Set, Gwynn ap Nudd and Gwythyr
son of Greidawl, they rose again and killed each other at the turning
of the year. Gawain bore Morgan’s pentacle as a heraldic device on his
blood-red shield. He and his rival seem to have established the
ceremony of knighthood, a symbolic decapitation, which formerly
transformed a victim into a god at the year’s end.6
Late romances deprived Morgan of her divinity and made her
human, just as the Great Goddess Mari became a mortal virgin
Mary. Morgan became Arthur’s sister, yet “a great clerk of necromancy,”
a prototypical witch.7 She received a fictitious husband, King
U riens of Gore, probably a corrupt form of the classic castrated heavengod
Uranus. Her name was applied to anything magical, miraculous,
or misleading, as the Fata Morgana. An old word for witches’ spells,
glamor, came from Glamorgan, the Goddess’s sacred territory in
Morgan’s mysterious Fortunate Isles continued to appear in Irish
folklore up to the present time. It was claimed that off the coast of
Galway nine islands rose out of the sea every seven years; but if anyone
tried to reach them by boat, they would vanish. 8

Fata Morgana

Medieval term fo’r mirages, illusions, or witch-lights over swamps:
“magic” created by the Goddess Morgan, evolved from the primitive
Magog and sharing many characteristics with the Hindu Maya,
creator of “magic.” Morgan-the-Fate was often said to be still living in
swamps and seacoasts, where she led travelers astray with her illusions.
See Maya; Morgan.


Celtic Moon-goddess, cognate with Greek Nemesis and the Diana of
the Groves (nimidae). Medieval romances made her the witch-maid
who enchanted Merlin into his crystal cave of sleep at the heart of
her fairy-wood, Broceliande. Her name meant Fate. She was also called
Vivien, “She Who Lives,” or Morgan, the Goddess of death, for she
was the archetypal Death-in-Life duality, as even Tennyson described
her: “How from the rosy lips oflife and love J Flash’d the baregrinning
skeleton of death!”


In Germany, Guinevere was Cunneware, “female wisdom.” 1 According
to the Welsh Triads, she was the Triple Goddess, Gwenhwyfar,
“the first lady of these islands,” at times one queen, at times three
queens, all named Gwenhwyfar, all of whom married King Arthur.2
Arthur was born of the same Goddess when he was cast ashore on
the ninth wave. The Welsh called breaking waves the Sheep of the
Mermaid, and the Mermaid was Gwenhidwy, or Gwenhwyfar. The
ninth wave represented the “god born of nine maidens,” also known
as The Ram.3 Nine maidens signified the triplicated Triple Goddess,
like the nine Muses in Greek myth.
Guinevere embodied the sovereignty of Britain. No king could
reign without her. Thus, in story after story, she was abducted by
would-be rulers. Melwas, Meleagant, Arthur, Lancelot, and Mordred
all took Guinevere away from the incumbent ruler when they wished
to make themselves kings. When a king lost Guinevere, he lost the
kingship. Some myths suggest that she was a sacred statue, like the
Fortuna Regia of Roman Caesars.4 Yet she was also a living woman,
who impersonated the Destroyer when she gave the apple of death to
Patrick, and was nearly burned at the stake when she was accused of
witchcraft. Early legends said she disappeared into the castle of
Joyous Card, the earthly paradise, where she reigned each spring as
May Queen.Norns

The female trinity of Fates as she/they appeared in Scandinavia: also
known as Weird Sisters, from Teutonic wyrd, “fate.” The Prose Edda
called them “three mysterious beings,” High One, Just-As-High, and
Third, who revealed the secrets of the universe and wrote the book of
destiny; hence their other title, Die Schreiberinnen, “women who
write.” More common names for the Norns were Urth (Earth),
Verthandi, and Skuld, variously translated Fate, Being, and Necessity,
or like the ancient Egyptian Goddess of past, present, and future,
“Become, Becoming, and Shall-Be.”1
The original, single, eldest Norn was Mother Earth, Ertha, Urth,
Urdr, etc., who represented Fate and the Word of creation. She was
Wurd in Old High German, Wyrd in Anglo-Saxon, Weird in English.2
She/they lived in the cave at the source of the Fountain of Life,
Urdarbrunnr, the cosmic womb under the root of the World Tree. She/
they were older than the oldest “heavenly father” and had power
over every god. 3
The death-Norn Skuld was a variant of Skadi, an eponymous
mother of Scandinavia and a typical Destroyer. Norse poet-shamans
were servants of Skuld and called themselves skalds; Christians said they
indulged in witchcraft, or “skulduggery.” Skuld would lay the deathcurse
on the whole universe at doomsday. Her name apparently gave
rise to “scold,” meaning a woman gifted with the power of cursing.
Like the third of the Moirai, Skuld cut the thread of every life.
The Norns became “fairies” in romantic traditions of pagan
And lo! Reclining on their runic shields
The mighty Nornas now the portal fill;
Three rosebuds fair which the same garden yields,
With aspect serious, but charming still.
Whilst Urda points upon the blackened fields,
The fairy temple Skulda doth reveal.4


One of the Norse names of Mother Earth, in addition to Urtha,
Erda, Eartha, Wyrd, Wurd, Word, Weird, etc. Urd was usually called
the divine fount of wisdom tended by the three Noms (Fates) under
the root of the World Tree; it was also the name of the oldest Nom, an
Earth Goddess who knew everything, past, present, and future. The
gods couldn’t render judgment unless they gathered at the fount of Urd,
because they were helpless without the wisdom imparted by the
Urdarbtunnr, “Stream of Urd,” which gave life and mind. Old mythologies
held that the fount of wisdom was female, and without it
neither men nor gods could know anything.1 Another name for the
fountain was Mimir, which means “Mother,” although the same
name was given later to Odin’s maternal uncle, who brought. him back
to life with fluid from the Mother-spring and taught him the wisdom
of the runes.


Second of the three Noms venerated by Norsemen. Verthandi
signified the present, while her sisters Urth and Skuld stood for the past
and future.1 As the Weird Sisters, or Mothers of Fate (wyrd), they
corresponded to the Greek Moerae, Latin Fortunae, and other versions
of the Triple Goddess. Verthandi also governed motherhood and the
phases of the moon, like Kali the Preserver.


Norse name of the Earth-goddess or primal “giantess” from whose
underground cauldron Odin stole the wise blood of immortality,
magic, and feminine mana, to make himself a supreme god. 1 Though
her myth underwent several revisions, Gunnlöd was another form of
the Triple Goddess, keeping three cauldrons (or wombs) in the
bowels of the earth, which meant in herself.


The “Three Fates” in Slavic myth. “Three little sisters, three little
Zorya: she of the Evening, she of Midnight, and she of Morning” -i.e.,
of the old lunar calendars that figured the day from noon to noon.
Like the Norns, the Zorya kept the doomsday-wolf fettered to the pole
star: “Their duty is to guard a dog which is tied by an iron chain to
the constellation of the Little Bear. When the chain breaks it will be the
end of the world.” 1 An Egyptian prototype of the triple Zorya was
the Goddess Reret, who kept the powers of destruction fettered by a


Valkyrie swan-queen who defeated her enemies with magic songs,
flying above them in her dress of swan feathers. Another name for the
Aryan Great Goddess, also rendered Kauri, Cara, Kari, etc~, as
mother of the heavenly swan-nymphs or Apsaras. See Swan.

Triduana, Saint

Christian transformation of the Triple Goddess, Diana Triformis, in
Scotland. Triduana was the Three Dianas, a threefold Lady of the
Moon. She was credited with the same legend of eye-sacrifice as St.
Lucy, the Christian transformation of Juno Lucina (see Lucy, Saint).
Triduana’s shrine at Restalrig was destroyed in 1560 by a church
order that declared it “a monument of idolatry.” 1 So, even as a saint,
she proved to be unacceptable to the church that canonized her.

Carved representation of a naked woman squatting with her knees
apart, displaying her vulva, shown as a vesica piscis or double-pointed
oval. Sometimes the figure presented the vesica with both hands or
drew it open with one. Sheila-na-gig figures appeared all over old Irish
churches built before the 16th century.1 Many were still in place
during the 19th century, but Victorian prudery defaced or destroyed
large numbers of them. Some have been found buried near the
churches they once embellished.2
Sheila-na-gig figures closely resembled the yonic statues of Kali
which still appear at the doorways of Hindu temples, where visitors
lick a finger and touch the yoni ”for luck.” Some of the older figures
have deep holes worn in their yonis from much touching.3
The protruding ribcage on many examples of the sheila-na-gig
imitates the figures of Kali as the death-goddess, Kalika, evidently
remembered in Ireland as the Caillech or “Old Woman,” who was also
the Creatress and gave birth to all races of men.4 Celts generally
protected doorways with some female-genital fetish, which is why they
settled on the horseshoe, classic Omega-sign of the Kalika. In India it
stood for the feminine cosmos within which Shiva ever performed his
creative sexual dance, although he was assimilated to the Kalika and
given her title of Destroyer. 5
Derivation of the term sheila-na-gig is obscure. It meant something
like “vulva-woman.” Gig or giggie meant female genitals and
may have been related to the Irish “jig,” from French gigue, in
pre-Christian times an orgiastic dance. In ancient Erech a gig seems to
have been a holy yoni; the sacred harlots of the temple were known
as nu-gig.6
Ceann Caillí (‘Hag’s Head’), the southernmost tip of the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. One of many locations named for the Cailleach.
Old Celtic name for Kali-the-Crone, the Great Goddess in her
Destroyer aspect. Like Kali, the Caillech was a black Mother who
founded many races of people and outlived many husbands. She was
also a creatress. She made the world, building mountain ranges of stones
that dropped from her apron. 1
Scotland was once called Caledonia: the land given by Kali, or
Cale, or the Caillech. “Scotland” came from Scotia, the same
Goddess, known to Romans as a “dark Aphrodite”; to Celts as Scatha or
Scyth; and to Scandinavians as Skadi. 2
Like the Hindus’ destroying Kalika, the Caillech was known as a .
spirit of disease. One manifestation of her was a famous idol of carved
and painted wood, kept by an old family in County Cork, and described
as the Goddess of Smallpox. As diseased persons in India sacrificed to
the appropriate incarnation of the Kalika, so in Ireland those afflicted by
smallpox sacrificed sheep to this image.3 It can hardly be doubted that
Kalika and Caillech were the same word.
According to various interpretations, caillech meant either an old
woman, or a hag, or a nun, or a “veiled one.” 4 This last apparently
referred to the Goddess’s most mysterious manifestation as the future,
Fate, and Death-ever veiled from the sight of men, since no man
could know the manner of his own death.
In medieval legend the Caillech became the Black Queen who
ruled a western paradise in the Indies, where men were used in
Amazonian fashion for breeding purposes only, then slain. Spaniards
called her Califia, whose territory was rich in gold, silver, and gems.
Spanish explorers later gave her name to their newly discovered paradise
on the Pacific shore of North America, which is how the state of
California came to be named after Kali.
In the present century, Irish and Scottish descendants of the Celtic
“creatress” still use the word caillech as a synonym for “old
woman.” 5Kelle /Kelly

Irish-druidic priest-name, derived from pre-Christian holy harlots of
the Goddess Kelle, Kale, or Kali. Irish writings described the divine
harlot Mary Magdalene as a kelle. 1 The medieval term Kele-De was
considered somewhat mysterious, translated “Bride of God” if a woman,
“Servant of God” if a man.2 These translations were inaccurate.
Kele-De meant literally the spirit of the Goddess Kele, evidently
identical with the Goddess Kali of the original Indo-European Celts.
Votaries of the Goddess Kele stressed the search for inward
perfection through meditation, yogic style.3 Her gods assumed the
lotus position like eastern yogis. Her primitive Grail hero, Peredur,
experienced her as the “most beautiful woman in the world,”
represented by the three colors of the Divine Prakriti, still known as the
Gunas, standing for her powers of creation, preservation, and
destruction. 4
The mythical “St. Kilda” seems to have been another version of
the Goddess Kele, dwelling on a remote rocky islet once identified
with the western paradise of the dead. St. Kilda’ s Isle still exists, but the
origin of its name has been forgotten. The ubiquitous Irish word kill,
a cell or cave, once meant a shrine of Kele, whose holy men called
themselves Culdees, Colidees, Cele-De, Keledio, etc. Some were
described in Christian histories as monks, though they were obviously
Kildare was a major shrine of the Goddess Kilda-Kele, or Brigit,
identified with the virgin Mary after Christian monks appropriated
the site. But the guardianship of the sacred fire at Kildare had long been
a prerogative of priestesses; the shrine was forbidden to men.6
Confusion ofKilda-Kele-Brigit with Mary was not too far-fetched, as
they had been aspects of the same Goddess for thousands of years in
India as Kali-Mari or Kel-Mari, the Pot Goddess who made human
forms out of clay.7 (See Kali Ma.)


“Lady of the Place of the Dead,” eponymous Mother Goddess of
Mexico. Very similar to Kali, she represented the earth’s yonic hole
from which all things were born, and she was shown also in the
trappings of death, thrusting a corpse into the earth.1 See Kali Ma.


“Lady of the Serpent Skirt,” mother of all Aztec deities as well as of
the sun, the moon, and the stars. She produced all earthly life, and
received the dead back again into her body. She was associated with
volcanic mountains. Like Kali she wore a necklace of skulls, and a skirt
of either serpents or shorn penises of her castrated savior-lovers. Her
daughter Xochiquetzal, the Mexican Aphrodite, was a Goddess of All

Dravidian “Goddess of Caverns,” one of the primeval matrikadevis
(Mother Goddesses). Prototype of such western forms as Cybele,
Demeter Chthonia, Nertha, He!, and other underground deities. She
was a red Kali, seated in her cave, with four arms: two that threaten, and
two that soothe.1 See Kali Ma.


Malay variation of the Triple Goddess Kali, sometimes identified
with “three grandmothers under the earth” who cause floods-that is,
bring about the doomsday-by-water and subsequent re-creation. Kari
was also a primordial creatress, perhaps androgynous, who conceived
the first human beings by means of magic flowers (the yonic lotus)
and gave birth to the human race.1 Kari’s voice spoke in the thunder.


Australian primordial spirit who taught men to mutilate their genitals
in imitation of female menstrual bleeding.1 Probably a corruption of
Ma-Kali (Mother Kali). See Kali Ma.


The Celtic trefoil, which originated in the east. Pre-Islamic Arabs
called the trefoil shamrakh, the three-lobed lily or lotus flower of the
Moon-goddess’s trinity: a design of “three yonis” which appeared on
artifacts of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, as well as on stone,
pottery, and woodwork in Mesopotamia, Crete, and Egypt between
2300 and 1300 B.C.1
Christians pretended that St. Patrick explained the doctrine of the
Christian trinity to the Irish by exhibiting the shamrock. However,
the Irish were worshipping this emblem of their Triple Goddess long
before Christianity appeared in their land. It stood for her triple
“door,” and her God sometimes bore the title of Trefuilngid Tre-
eochair, “Triple Bearer of the Triple Key,” a trident representing the
triple phallus. He was known as a God of the Shamrock, partially
assimilated to Christianity by a legend that he appeared to the Irish on
the day of Christ’s crucifixion, bearing sacred stone tablets and a branch
with three fruits.2

Trefuilngid Tre-Eochair

Irish god of the trefoil (shamrock), known as Triple Bearer of the
Triple Key, the same as Shiva the “trident-bearer,” referring to a triple
phallus designed to fertilize the Triple Goddess. The shamrock-god
was assimilated to St. Patrick, another bearer of the trefoil, whose name
meant “father” like that of any tribal begetter. Old legends said the
Irish god’s trefoil produced apple, nut, and oak trees, as well as the five
mystic trees representing the five senses.1 See Shamrock; Trident.

From Barbara Walker’s Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s