Midweek Writer-Rummage: The Goddess in 'Moon Goddess'

I knew from the start that I wanted the goddess in ‘ Moon Goddess’ to be more than a benevolent ‘mother-goddess’; I also wanted her to be a fierce protector. So I made her an amalgam of familiar moon goddesses, blending the benevolence of Arianrhod; the ‘mother’/full moon aspect of Selene; and the goddess of the hunt and of childbirth that is Artemis.

Artemis, the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo, is goddess of the hunt, of wild animals and wild places; she is also a goddess of childbirth and protector of young girls.

 Artemis (sculpture better known as 'Diana of Versailles') - the Louvre Museum

Artemis (sculpture better known as 'Diana of Versailles') - the Louvre Museum

She believed she had been chosen by the Fates to be a midwife as she had assisted her mother in delivering Apollo; one of the wishes she asked of Zeus was the ability to help women in the pains of childbirth.

According to Callimachus, a Greek poet, critic and scholar at the Library of Alexandria, when Artemis was 3 years old, she asked her father, Zeus, to grant her 6 wishes. These included that she be allowed to always remain a virgin; that she be given a bow and arrow and a knee-length tunic to enable her to hunt; and that she be known as the Phaesporia (which means ‘bringer of light’). Being the goddess of wild places, she did not wish for any city to be dedicated to her.

Artemis ~ Howard David Johnson

Her symbols included the golden bow and arrow, the hunting dog, the stag, and the moon. All her companions – her young Okeanid Nymphs and her Amnisiades (who were Naiad Nymphs) – remained virgins, and Artemis herself guarded well her own chastity. Her Roman equivalent was Diana.

Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon, is the daughter of the Titans, Hyperion and Theia; her siblings are Helios, the sun god, and Eos, goddess of the dawn. 

Selene ~ Jean Louis Marchad

She is one of the Greek triple goddesses of the moon – Artemis, the maiden, represented by the waxing moon; Selene, the mother, represented by the full moon; and Hecate, the crone, symbolised by the waning moon.

Selene ~ Susan Seddon Boulet

Many poets tell of her famous love for the mortal, Endymion. Some say she asked Zeus to grant him eternal youth so that he would never leave her; others say she loved how Endymion looked when he was asleep and so implored Zeus to keep him that way. Whatever the version, the end result is that Zeus granted her wish and put Endymion into an eternal sleep, and Selene was able to visit him every night where he slept.

'The Vision of Endymion' ~ Edward Poynter

Selene is usually shown as an eternally beautiful woman with the crescent moon on her head, and driving a chariot pulled by 2 white horses. 

Head of a horse from Selene's chariot - British Museum

The colours associated with her are silver and grey-white; her perfume is said to be white rose or white poppy. Her Roman equivalent is Luna.

Arianrhod is the Celtic moon goddess. She is sometimes called the Silver Wheel that Descends into the Sea – Arian meaning ‘silver’, and rhod, means ‘wheel’ or ‘disc’. The dead were carried on her Oar Wheel to Emania, the moon-land or land of death; she was also seen as a deity of reincarnation.

'Arianrhod' ~ lucreziac

In Celtic myth, Arianrhod is seen as the mother aspect of the Triple Goddess; Blodeuwedd is the flower maiden, and The Morrigu is the crone. Depending on the region, who represents which aspect may change.

Assuming the shape of a large owl, Arianrhod is able to move purposefully through the night, spreading comfort and healing to those who call on her. The owl is seen as a symbol of death and renewal, moon magic and wisdom.

Apart from reincarnation, Arianrhod also influences beauty and fertility. Her colours are green and white.

Another goddess I ‘borrowed’ from was Holda, the Germanic goddess of vegetation and fertility; also spinning and weaving, which connect her to the spirit world. Depending on the region, she was also known as Holle, sometimes Berchta.

Berchta as White Goddess

She was said to take 2 forms, depending on how she was treated. To those who respected and honoured her, she would come as the fertility goddess, a benevolent White Lady, dressed all in white, to grant prosperity to home, family and field. But to those who insulted or ignored her, she would appear as a hideous crone, offering death, illness and misfortune.

She is sometimes seen as a weather goddess. When snow falls, it is said that Holda is shaking her feather bed; fog is the smoke from her fire; and rain is the result of her washing day.

'Frau Holle' ~ Hermann Vogel

Her sacred animals include birds of prey, bears, horses, goats, hounds and wolves.

There are so many goddesses to choose from, not just of the moon; despite the fun I had researching and picking the aspects I thought would work, it was also difficult in that I wanted to include so much more but thought it best to curb my ‘obsession’ ;)