“I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, giver of good gifts, bringer of seasons, universal Mother.” Thus start several ancient Greek hymns to Demeter, the Olympian Goddess of the Harvest and agriculture. You’ve probably heard of Demeter in conjunction with her daughter, Persephone. But although motherhood is a sacred aspect of Demeter’s identity, the Goddess is so much more than that! As we approach the first Harvest of the Year, let’s take some time to acquaint ourselves better with “She of the Grain”.
Hera was worshipped in Greece way before people started speaking Greek there. She was the first deity to whom the people of that area ever dedicated a temple; she was worshipped all the way from Iran to Egypt. She's often conflated with the Egyptian Goddess of fertility and agriculture, Hathor, and with Demeter, the Earth Goddess. Hera's name probably comes from an older form of the word for "Lady" (Kera) but adapted to mean "Lady of the year" or "Lady of the season." Some historians think it's an anagram for the word for "air," as Hera was considered the Queen of the Skies, or the Heavens. Just as Freya, the Lady of the Old Norse pantheon, played a much more important part in the past before her role was diminished to not antagonize Odin, so did Hera. Prior to her marriage to Zeus, Hera was considered a manifestation of the Great Earth Goddess in all her three aspects: Maiden, Mother, and Crone.
When talking about where the origins of Witchcraft came from, many may not have a clear answer. New Witches especially may hear lore of where Witchcraft came from but may not be sure how accurate it is. There is no one answer saying where Witchcraft originated from. But, some were strong influences for the Craft. For instance, one of the biggest Witchcraft influencers was Circe. Circe, humbly given the Original Witch title, holds the strong position of being one of the first few to use and develop Witchcraft so others like us can use it today. Let us take a look at who exactly Circe is and how she influenced the use of Witchcraft.
Hekate (also written as Hecate or Hecat) is, both literally and figuratively, a multifaceted deity. Almost always, she is depicted in her triple form: a Goddess with three aspects/faces. Some say it’s to symbolize the power she has over all the three realms (Earth, Sea, and Sky). Others say it’s to symbolize the inherent Sacred Trinity in her nature, being simultaneously the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone.
Dionysus, also known as Bacchus in Roman mythology, is the God of winemaking, wine, and ecstasy. He is a rather boisterous God, as he is not afraid to get drunk and go wild. His teachings encouraged people to let themselves go, using drinks to show their true selves. This earned him the title of party god. But despite his wild nature, Dionysus was a well-respected god, best honored during Mabon. How can such a wild God be respected during a crucial Sabbat? Well, it’s due to his partying nature that he plays such a vital role at Mabon. Let us learn more of his lore, how he is worshipped today, and why he is prayed to during Mabon. Dionysus Lore
Gaia, or Gaea, is the Greek Goddess of the Earth and was believed to have been a deity who governed the universe before the Titans were created. Over time, Gaia has been giving the title of “Mother Earth” due to her responsibility for creating all life on Earth, her inability to see people suffering and her natural nurturing personality. Even though she is a Greek Goddess, her power and influence are still highly respected amongst Witches and other Pagan religions. She is one of the most important Goddesses since, without her, none of the other Gods and Goddesses, much fewer humans, would have existed. Let’s go over who exactly Gaia is, her influences, and how she is worshiped on Modern Paganism.