Who Are the Moon Goddesses?
You weren’t aware that there are moon goddesses? Well, don’t worry you are not the first. Allow us at Una Biologicals to inform you about these incredible women and their stories. We will be giving you a bunch of information on all different cultures and their moon goddess representation. You may actually recognize a few names.
Isis, the moon goddess of Egypt
The first moon goddess we will discuss is Isis, the moon goddess in Egyptian culture. Isis is the daughter of the earth god, Geb, and the sky goddess Nut. She is the sister of three other deities, Osiris, Seth and Nephthys. Isis is known as the goddess of healing and magic.
Isis was married to the king of Egypt and her brother, Osiris. As queen, she taught women in Egypt how to weave, bake and brew beer.
Isis possessed the power of bringing back the dead. This was how she brought her husband Osiris back from the dead after being killed by their brother, Seth. Seth had trapped Osiris in a wooden chest coated in lead, he was then thrown into the Nile. Seth became king after the disappearance of Osiris but Isis persevered and found him.
After Seth’s second attempt on Osiris, Isis brought him back from the dead once again as a mummy. She then gave birth to their son, Horus.
Once he was of age, Horus was able to try to claim the Egyptian throne. This led to a battle between Horus and Seth. Interestingly enough, though Horus is Isis’ son, she fell partial to her love for her brother, during the fight for the throne between the two, Horus was beheaded. Later reversed by Isis’ magic, Horus eventually did claim his right to the Egyptian throne.
N’Game, the moon goddess of West Africa
Her name translates to “the shining one.” N’Game was known for creating all of the heavenly bodies. She used a crescent-shaped bow and arrow to shoot life into all living beings and creatures on Earth. It is said that she gives birth to the sun every morning.
N’Game is mainly spoken about by the Akan of Ghana. They believe that N’Game puts a part of her spiritual essence into all human bodies; making the soul imperishable. They believe that even when the physical body dies, the soul will live on.
She is what’s known as a triple moon goddess which is a symbol of the waxing, full and waning moon. This represents maiden, mother and crone.
Chang’e the moon goddess of China
She was married to Hou Yi, an archer and emperor. In one of the most well-known tales, ten suns rose together into the skies and scorched the Earth. Hou Yi shot down nine of them, leaving one. That last one is the sun we know today.
Hou Yi was then gifted an elixir of life. This meant that once he consumed the elixir he would live forever. Hou Yi loved Chang’e though, so like any good husband he wanted her to take the elixir with him.
He had not yet decided to take the elixir, so he left it with Chang’e while he went on a hunting trip. Hou Yi’s apprentice, Fengmeng came up with a plan to steal the elixir so he broke into his house only to find Chang’e. In an effort to not give Fengmeng the elixir, she took it. Chang’e then flew upwards and chose to live on the moon so she was able to stay close to her husband.
This story is now a part of the Mid-Autumn Day Festival tradition. People will burn incense on an altar and pray to Chang’e for luck and safety.
Celtic moon goddesses, Arianrhod and Cerridwen
First, we will start with Arianrhod. Arianrhod is the Celtic Welsch star goddess of reincarnation. She is known as the following references, “silver wheel,” “silver circle,” “high fruitful mother,” “star goddess,” and “sky goddess.” She represents a primal figure of feminine power; ruling both fertility and childbirth.
She was known for being very beautiful with pale skin. Arianrhod was also a virgin goddess, which the ancient meaning refers to a woman who is complete unto herself; a woman who requires no protection from a man.
She rules the arts, magic and manifestation. The silver wheel reference we made earlier is associated with spinning and weaving, which she does when she magically weaves the tapestry of life.
This is also labeled for her responsibility for caring for the warriors that died in battle. Arianrhod would gather their souls on her ship, “the Oak Wheel” where she transported them to Emania, aka, Moonland. She would watch over and nurture the souls between lives.
Cerridwen; another Celtic moon goddess
Cerridwen, commonly referred to as the dark moon goddess is the Celtic goddess of the underworld. She is the keeper of the cauldron of knowledge.
Many consider her the goddess of rebirth, transformation and inspiration. She is paired with herbology, fertility, science, prophecy and poetry. She could even shapeshift!
Cerridwen was married to her husband, Tegid Foel, and the two lived near the Bala Lake located in Wales.
She had three children, Creidwy, Morfran and Taliesin. Creidwy and Morfran represent light and darkness while Taliesin became a poet. Creidwy was her daughter who was known for being very beautiful. Morfran, on the other hand, was not very beautiful so Cerridwen created a potion that would make him intelligent.
Cerridwen actually had a blind man named Morda keep the fire going while a young Giwan Bach stirred the pot to make the potion. It needed to boil for an entire year and one day for it to work. It was designed so that the first three drops of the potion would provide infinite wisdom, but then the rest consumed would kill anyone who drank it.
Three drops fell onto Giwan Bach’s thumb when he was stirring it and he put his thumb in his mouth, gaining all of the wisdom.
Naturally, Cerridwen was very angry with Giwan, so she chased him. He tried transfiguration many times, but remember how we mentioned Cerridwen was a shapeshifter? Well, he turned into a rabbit so she changed into a greyhound. He turned into a bird, so she became a hawk.
Finally, Giwan turned himself into a grain of corn. Cerridwen turned herself into a chicken and ate him.
Let's talk about Greek Goddesses; Artemis, Selene and Hecate
First, we will discuss Artemis. Artemis is the Greek goddess of the moon, hunting, archery and midwifery. This name may be familiar considering she is one of the twelve Olympians that ruled the world on Mount Olympus. She is the daughter of well-known Zeus and Leto. She is the twin of Apollo.
There’s actually quite a story of the birth of Artemis and Apollo. If you aren’t aware, Zeus actually had a wife named Hera. When Hera found out Leto was having Zeus’ babies she banned Leto from giving birth on any mainland or island known.
Leto actually found an island called Delos which floated so it could not be technically categorized as an island. Due to the fact that it was known Leto was going to have twins, Hera locked up Eilethyia, the goddess of childbirth. All of the goddesses came together and convinced Hera to let her go so Leto could give birth. Artemis was born without complications but Leto was in labor with Apollo for days. Artemis actually helped Leto give birth to Apollo.
It is common to see Artemis as a huntress with her bow and arrow. She is always accompanied by a group of nymph huntresses. Deer and stags are her sacred animal.
Many altars, shrines and temples are dedicated to Artemis.
Selene is the goddess of the moon in Greek mythology. She is the daughter of the Titans, Hyperion and Theia. The sister of the sun god, Helios, and the dawn goddess, Eos, Selene is regarded as the personification of the moon.
She is typically depicted as a woman riding sidesaddle on a horse or driving her chariot with her winged steeds.
Selene possesses the power of giving sleep and light to the night. She can control time and can change like the moon.
As for her love interest, she was entranced by the shepherd prince, Endymion. Endymion was given the choice of eternal youth and immortality from Zeus so he could live forever with Selene. It was either this or die. He was then put in a state of eternal slumber in a cave where Selene would meet him at night.
The last Greek moon goddess we will cover; Hecate
Hecate is the moon goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, ghosts, necromancy and of course, the moon.
She is the child of Titans Perses and Asteria. The animals that are significant to her are the black she-dog and the polecat. You can usually find Hecate depicted as a woman holding twin torches. Like Artemis, sometimes we will be wearing a knee-length maiden's skirt with hunting boots.
Different plants like aconite, belladonna, dittany and mandrake are all associated with Hecate. It is said that dogs dig up mandrake because of Hecate. There has actually been suggested proof in the past that dogs digging up plants is an association with magic.
Another attribution to Hecate is her connection to medicines and poisons. She has been mentioned in a lot of Greek tales, one in particular that is very interesting is the story of Persephone.
The Greek goddess Demeter had a daughter named Persephone. Hades, the Greek god of the underworld laid his eyes on Persephone and decided to kidnap her. After taking her in his possession he made her his wife.
Naturally, Demeter was frantically searching for her daughter. With barely anyone around her providing help, she met Hecate. Since she was known for her powers of magic, witchcraft and spirits, she sought help. Hecate was the one who told Demeter that Hades had dragged Persephone into the underworld. She was the reason Persephone was found.
The Mayan moon goddess; Ixchel
Ixchel translates to rainbow woman; she is the goddess of the moon, love, gestation, medicine and textile arts. She was married to the sun god, Ak Kin.
Like the photo you see above, she is often represented alongside a rabbit. Ixchel is known for her femininity which made her a moon goddess. She represents fertility linked to the earth. This was because the reliance on the best times to planet and harvest are determined by the cycles of the moon.
She is also often associated with the Mayan rain god, Chaac. Often in Mayan culture, Ixchel is represented as a young woman for the waxing moon, and an older woman for the waning moon. The older woman is pouring water into the earth or weaving on a loom. In other pieces of art depicting Ixchel, you will see a serpent on her head and her skirt bearing a cross made of skulls.
She is celebrated during Zip, a month in the Mayan calendar, to praise her for her role in medicine.
Ixchel actually had her own island, frequently visited by pilgrims. Any pilgrim who visited her was then protected. The island is now referred to as Cozumel, which you may be familiar with. Pilgrims would depart with canoes and seek her temple to see the oracle of Ixchel. She was sought after to help those who wanted to have sons.
These are the kinds of stories that make you proud of your gender
These moon goddesses aren't the first groups of women to represent femininity, but they do it well. We love the tales of strong women that are found in almost every culture. Where you need inspiration for art, medicine, crafty plots, plant cultivation, or just a good Woman Strong story, the moon goddesses are there for you. Embrace your power sisters, embrace your femininity & rock your own moon goddess story! Be sure to stay updated with new insights here at Una Biologicals.