Ah! My Goddess!

Let me start by saying that if you understand the reference in my article’s title, I love you, my fellow weeb, but I also hate you. If you don’t get it, that’s too bad. I’m not explaining it. Now back to the article.

I recently had a conversation with someone that absolutely loved that my cat is named Isis. She told me that she enjoyed this fact because she is a pagan and her patron goddess is an Egyptian mom goddess of the same name. She doesn’t believe that Isis is real but does look to Isis as a role model of sorts. I thought this was pretty cool and it made me wonder who my patron goddess or god would be if I were a pagan so I did a lot of research and compiled a list of ten goddesses and gods I would be most interested in showing devotion to. The list is ranked from least likely to most likely. Also, I know that multiple people have differing definitions of what pagan means. For this article, I’m going to use the first definition that came up which is, “a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.” All of the deities on my list are pagan as per that definition even if they aren’t as per yours.

#10) Freya (Norse)

Freya is many things. She is an archetypal Norse mom goddess but she is also a goddess of love, sex, fertility, and beauty. She is considered a party girl, who enjoys the finer things in life. She also has the absolute best modes of transportation. She has a cloak of feathers that allows her to turn into a falcon and fly away. She has a pet boar named Hildisvíni that she likes to ride on the back of. Her greatest mode of transprtation, though, is a mighty chariot pulled by two house cats named Bygul and Trjegul. She also has a fancy necklace that the had to sleep with a bunch of dwarves to obtain. Freya has a lot going on and it’s all interesting but very little of it is relevant to me, personally, which is why she only makes it to the #10 spot on my list.

#9) Houyi and Chang’e (China)

I’m kinda cheating with this one but I can’t really explain one without the other. So the big boss in heaven, called the Jade Emporer, has ten sons who are all misbehaving little shits so he hires Houyi to deal with it. Houyi does so by killing nine of them with a bow and arrow. Fun fact: This is why the Earth only orbits around a single sun according to Chinese mythology; because the other nine are dead. The Jade Emporer was all like, “I wanted you to deal with them, not kill them, you psychopath,” and banished Houyi, along with his wife, Chang’e, to Earth to live as mortals. Houyi goes on a quest to Mt Kunlun to find an elixir of immortality. If he drinks half, he becomes immortal. If he drinks the whole thing, he becomes a god, again. He intends to drink half and give the other half to his wife but Chang’e gets a little too excited and drinks the whole thing. Still banned from heaven and not allowed on Earth as a god, Chang’e ends up floating to the moon, where she lives a lonely immortal life with only a single white rabbit to keep her company. Houyi eventually dies as a sad and lonely, old man who misses his wife. These two make the list because I absolutely love this story but it only makes the #9 spot because I absolutely hate every character who is involved. Houyi is way too trigger happy, Chang’e is a little too selfish, and the Jade Emporer is a little too wrathful. It’s not Chang’e’s fault that Houyi likes killing things so much.

#8) Ninkasi (Sumeria)

Ninkasi is a Sumerian Goddess of beer. We know of her from a song called “Hymn to Ninkasi” and that’s about it. The oldest written version of the song that has been found dates back to 1800 BCE but most scholars believe the song to be even older. Aside from mentioning Ninkasi, the song explains the process of how beer was made back then which is really cool from an archeological perspective. Beer was primarily made by women, back then, apparently. So yeah. Ninkasi is on the list because “hooray beer!” She only makes the #8 spot because I literally can’t find anything else about her.

#7) Xochiquetzal (Aztec)

Let me start by saying that I know the word looks hard to pronounce so I looked it up but all I could find was, “ZAAK-IHKWEHTZAHL,” which is even worse. I think it’s pronounced, “so-chee-ketz-ul,” but please don’t take my word for it. Anyways, Xochiqutzal is an Aztec goddess that fits the traditional mom goddess archetype. Her name means “Precious Feather Flower” which is absolutely adorable. She’s associated with pretty things like flowers, plants, music, dancing, etc. She’s the patroness lovers, prostitutes, and creative people (artists, smiths, musicians, basket weavers, etc.). She’s one of the few members of the Aztec pantheon that isn’t associated with war or sacrifice in any way which makes the way the Aztecs paid tribute to her all the more shocking. CW: if you are uncomfortable with themes of violence, gore, human sacrifice and other things along those lines, please don’t read the following paragraph and skip ahead to the next entry on this list.

Every year, the Aztecs had a festival called Toxcatl. A year before the festival, a virgin would be chosen to impersonate Xochiquetzal and a warrior was chosen to impersonate Tezcatlipoca (Xochiquetzal’s husband). The two would be married to each other for one year until Toxcatl came around. During the festival, the Xochiquetzal impersonator would be sacrificed and flayed. A priest would wear her skin, sit down at a loom and pretend to weave a people danced and celebrated around them. After this, everyone would draw blood from their tongues as an offering. This is fairly mild compared to what the Aztecs would do to honor some of their other Gods but still. Holy bejeebers. Xochiquetzal is super interesting but I’m too afraid to put her any higher on the list.

#6) Brigid (Ireland)

Brigid is a Celtic sun goddess. She’s associated with fire, healing, smithcraft, divination, and poetry. She’s one of if not the most important Irish diety. She’s so important that the Catholic Church made her a saint. The church will claim that Saint Brigid was a real person but I don’t believe this. Back in the day, it was quite common for Catholic missionaries to go around trying to convert people as I’m sure you know. They would attempt to convince people to abandon their old ways and convert. The thing is that old habits die hard. When missionaries confronted a practice that the locals would not budge on, they would co-opt this tradition and change it to be about Jesus. This is where a lot of western traditions come from. Rabbits and eggs have nothing to do with the death of Jesus but it was something the locals refused to give up. The same thing goes for many Christmas traditions and the same thing goes for Brigid. The Celtic people would not give up on Brigid so the Catholic Missionaries made her a Saint to that people could convert and still look up to her. She’s mostly on this list because that interests me a lot but Brigid and I do have some things in common. We’re both of Irish descent. We both enjoy fire, medicine, and poetry. We’re both women. She’s a Catholic Saint and I was raised Catholic. We’re also both blonde. That being said, most of these commonalities are superficial which is why she didn’t make it any higher on the list.

#5) Ekeko (Bolivia)

Ekeko is a good luck god. He is most frequently depicted in traditional dress and with a mustache. People in Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and Argentina will buy dolls of Ekeko and attach tiny parcels to these dolls that are filled with things like money, candy, and other things they enjoy. The story goes that if you do this, and give the doll to a someone you truly wish to see succeed, that they will receive a significantly larger amount of the things you attached to that Ekeko doll. Some version of Ekeko have mouth holes that you’re supposed to put lit cigarettes into. Supposedly, the longer the cigarette burns, the luckier you’ll be. There are some rules, though. It won’t work if you have more than one Ekeko doll in your house because that’s just greedy. Also, you’re not supposed to keep Ekeko in your home if you’re a single woman because he is a jealous god that will chase off any boys you invite over. Aside from that bit of possessiveness, Ekeko seems like a fun god to worship and if I’m going to have a patron god or goddess, I want to enjoy it. That being said, I think I’m looking for something a bit more meaningful so Ekeko gets close but no cigarette.

#4) Bastet (Egypt)

What could be more meaningful than cats? How about a goddess that specializes in cats and everything having to do with them? Bastet is an Egyptian goddess of the home, domesticity, women’s secrets, fertility, childbirth, and cats. Her main role is to protect the home from evil spirits and disease but let’s be honest. We’re here for the cats. Bastet is great because she looks like a cat, she behaves like a cat, and she protects cats. She is the daughter of Ra and Isis but she is also a cat. Bastet made it this high on the list because holy shit, cats! Like Ekeko, she didn’t rank any higher because I still want something even more meaningful.

#3) Athena (Greece)

This one feels a bit generic but she is super relevant. Y’all know who Athena is a Greek goddess of wisdom, weaving, war, and somehow also peace. She’s the patron goddess of Athens and one of the most popular deities, period. She’s the helper of heroes as almost every Greek hero has received aid from her on their quest. What’s not to like about Athena? She’s smart, beautiful, talented helpful to those who are deserving, vengeful to those that aren’t. I don’t want to spend a lot of time explaining Athena because you already know. Athena would make an excellent choice but I still think there are at least two other deities that would be a better fit for me.

#2) Anansi (Ghana)

Anansi’s origins lie with the Ashanti people of Ghana. His influence lies with many people in West Africa and the Carribean. He has several titles such as, the spider, the trickster, the joke teller, and king of stories. The Earth, Asaase Yaa, is is mother and his father is the sky, Nyame. He typically presents himself to people as a man with spider-like features or a spider with man-like features. He’s almost like sort sort of Spider-Man. He favorite hobbies include telling stories, making jokes, pulling pranks, and other various forms of mischief.

One famous story involving Anansi is the story of how Anansi gave us stories. Try saying that ten times fast. Anyways, Anansi recognized that the world was really boring, one day, so he decided to visit his dad, Nyame. Nyame had all these stories locked up, that he was hoarding for himself. Anansi asked Nyame to give stories to the people of Earth. Nyame said, “sure thing but only if you can bring me four mightiest and most fearsome beasts.” The four beasts were a giant python named Onini, a ravenous leopard name Osebo, the deadly Moboro Hornets, and an invisible fairy named Mmoatia who was famous for her pride, greed, and quick temper. Anansi agreed to this task.

He went to Onini, the pythons gave, holding a stick and pretending to argue with himself. Onini was all like, “hey, what’s going on?,” and Anansi told him that his wife thought the stick he was hold was longer than Onini but that Anansi thought the opposite. Onini was like, “alright, I’ll stretch myself out next to the stick,” and Anansi said, “it won’t work unless you let me tie you to the stick.” Onini agreed to this and was captured as a result.

To capture Osebo, the leopard, Anansi dug a big hole and hid. Osebo fell in. Anansi came along a was all like, “use my spiderweb as a rope to climb up and escape.” Osebo did this but by the time he got to the top, he was all tangled in Anansi’s web and was thus, captured.

Next, Anansi poked a hole in a gourd and made a plug for it. Then, he filled a leaf with water. He poured half of the water over himself and half of it over the nestof the Moboro hornets. The hornets were all like, “Oh no! Our home is ruined!,” and Anansi responded with, “I know, right?! The reains came early, this year, bu it’s all good. Just use this gourd I found. The hornets flew in and Anansi plugged the hole. Now, the Moboro hornets were captured.

To capture the fairy, Mmoatia (who I will just call Mo for the rest of this article), he made a baby puppet out of gum and attached a string to the head. Then he made some yam paste and placed a bowl of it next to the gum baby. Anansi grabbed the string attched to the gum baby’s head and hid in a tree. Mo came up and asked the gum baby if she could eat the yam paste. Anansi used the string to make the gum baby nod, “yes.” After Mo was done, she said, “thnk you, baby,” but this time, the baby didn’t respond. This poissed Mo off so she punched the baby but since the baby was made of gum, her hand got stuck. In a blind rage, she punched the baby with her other hand. After kicking the baby with both legs, Mo was completely trapped and therefore, captured.

When Anansi returned to his dad with the four beast, his dad was like, “holy crap, you actually did it?”. Nyeme, then, rewarded Anansi a box containing all of the stories in the world. That’s why we have stories.

In case you didn’t already know, my mission statement/mantra is, “if you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bullshit.” No diety represents this better than Anansi. There are so many more great stories involving him but it’s time to move on to my number one choice.

#1) Syn (Norse)

Syn is a doorkeeper goddess. She is a protecter of boundaries and a keeper of oaths as an oath is a boundary that should not be infringed upon. People call on Syn to keep negative and ill-willed people away from themselves and their homes. In this way, she’s kind of a safe space goddess. Syn is also the goddess of telling people, “no,” or, “I don’t want to.”

Syn was born possessing both masculine and femenine features. Her parents were ashamed of this so they hired some elves to make he look like a boy but maintaining this was expensive so they sold her to the elves and replaced her with a chageling look-alike. Her elvish captors were pretty cool, though. They didn’t try to change her genitals as there is nothing wrong with being both. She learned magic and guard duty stuff from the elves before escaping.

You can see from Syn’s background that she hates deadbeat and unaccepting parents. In addition to being the protecter of children and punisher of bad parents, Syn is the patron goddess of all disenfranchised people but especially the LGBTQ+ community. Syn gets the number one spot because she is the patron goddess of every cause I most strongly believe in. She may not be the most popular choice but there you go.

I had a lot of fun doing research for this article. There are so many awesome stories, gods, goddesses, and other characters from all around the world. These may be my ten favorites but there is no wrong answer to the question. What do y’all think? Who are your favorite goddesses and gods? I can’t wait to read your answers in the comments. Also, please don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share with your friends if you enjoyed it. I’ll end this article with a song that loosely references my 11th place goddess.

Love, Lara

Works Cited

  1. Kaldera, Raven. “Freya.” Freya’s Shrine: Who Is Freya?, Raven Kaldera, 25 Aug. 2012, www.northernpaganism.org/shrines/freya/who-is-freya.html. Accessed 09 Apr 2019.
  2. “Hou Yi and Chang’e – the Goddess of the Moon – Rendition by Shen Yun – Shen Yun Performing Arts.” Hou Yi and Chang’e – the Goddess of the Moon – Rendition by Shen Yun – Shen Yun Performing Arts, Shen Yun Performing Arts, www.shenyunperformingarts.org/learn/article/read/item/fX4pKuyhEqw/the-goddess-of-the-moon-change-and-hou-yi.html. Accessed 10 Apr 2019
  3. Mark, Joshua J. “The Hymn to Ninkasi, Goddess of Beer.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 01 Mar 2011. https://www.ancient.eu/article/222/the-hymn-to-ninkasi-goddess-of-beer/ Accessed 10 Apr 2019.
  4. Mingren, Wu. “Xochiquetzal: Aztec Goddess of Beauty, Pleasure and Love… But Don’t Mess With Her!” Ancient Origins, Ancient Origins, 14 July 2018, www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-americas/xochiquetzal-aztec-goddess-0010372. Accessed 09 Apr 2019.
  5. “Brigid: Survival Of A Goddess.” Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, Druidry.org, 28 Dec. 2012, www.druidry.org/library/gods-goddesses/brigid-survival-goddess. Accessed 11 Apr 2019.
  6. “Brigid: Survival Of A Goddess.” Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, Druidry.org, 28 Dec. 2012, www.druidry.org/library/gods-goddesses/brigid-survival-goddess. Accessed 11 Apr 2019.
  7. “Ekeko.” The Smoking God of Prosperity and Luck, GoodLuckSymbols.com, 18 Mar. 2018, www.goodlucksymbols.com/ekeko/. Accessed 11 Apr 2019.
  8. Mark, Joshua J. “Bastet.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 9 Apr. 2019, www.ancient.eu/Bastet/. Accessed 08 Apr 2019.
  9. “ Athena :: Greek Goddess of Wisdom and War.” Greek Mythology, www.greekmythology.com/Olympians/Athena/athena.html. Accessed 10 Apr 2019.
  10. Geller. “Anansi – Spider in African Folktale.” Mythology.net, Mythology.net, 8 Apr. 2017, www.mythology.net/mythical-creatures/anansi/. Accessed 10 Apr 2019.
  11. Kaldera, Raven. “Maidens of Sky.” Frigga’s Handmaidens: Who Is Syn?, NorthernPaganism.org, 29 Jan. 2014, www.northernpaganism.org/shrines/handmaidens/syn/who-is.html. Accessed 11 Apr 2019.
  12. “The Sword – The Veil of Isis.” YouTube, The Sword, 19 Nov. 2012, youtu.be/NDBEJiM8j18. Accessed 12 Apr 2019.
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