The Hindu Goddesses refer to numerous female deities that are indigenous to Indian Subcontinent. Such a vast area and the range of different religious traditions mean that I have concentrated on the more widely known Goddesses.
In general the Hindu traditions split the primordial divine energies into a male and female, Shiva and Shakti. Nothing can exist without the existence of these two opposing but complementary forces. This sacred double has numerous incarnations, as different avatars they take new names eg Krishna and Radharani, Rama and Sita, Lakshmi and Vishn
to the sacred couple the energies of the divine a further divided to reflect
all aspects of the natural world. There are also Goddesses that reflect
philosophical ideas such as Maya who represents the veil of illusion and
Gayatri who personifies one of the sacred verses known as a mantra.
Many Hindu houses have a shrine where there are images and statues of different Gods and Goddesses. These provide a focus for prayer and provide a link to the Deities. Pujas are performed, this involves the lighting of special oil lamps, reciting mantras and other religious verses and offerings of the relevant incense, food and flowers.
There are numerous festivals that honour the Hindu Goddesses, the two most important are Navrati and Diwali. Navrati is celebrated over nine nights and seven days, reflecting the different aspects of Durga. Diwali, the festival of lights, is linked to the Goddess Lakshmi.
Aditi – First Mother, Goddess of space, infinity and timelessness. A protective Goddess who helps you overcome obstacles.
Agneya – Daughter of the fire God Agni and guardian of the south east direction.
Ammavarua – The Goddess who laid the egg from which Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu hatched. She existed before time began.
Aranyani – Goddess of the forest and the creatures that live there.
Banka Mundi – Goddess of the hunt and fertility.
Chhaya - Goddess of the shadows and consort of Surya, the Hindu sun God.
Durga - A fierce, demon fighting Goddess who sits upon a lion. Her name means one who alleviates suffering.
Gayatri – The personification of the Gayatri mantra.
Jyestha – Goddess of misfortune, she is the opposing force to her sister Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and abundance.
Kali – Dark mother and Goddess of death and destruction. She represents our worst fears and the freedom that we gain when we conquer them.
Kamadhenu – A bovine Goddess and mother of the sacred cow. She is also known as Surbhi.
Lakshmi – Hindu Goddess of abundance of spiritual and material wealth. She is also the Goddess of light celebrated at Diwali.
Maya – The Goddess of illusion through which the material world manifests. She keeps us occupied so we do not see the deeper spiritual truths.
Nirriti – Goddess of death and corruption and guardian of the southwest.
Parvarti – Consort of Shiva and mother of Ganesh. She is the Goddess of love and devotion.
Periyachi – A midwife Goddess associated with the protection of infants.
Narashimhika – She is the eternal creative energy known as Shakti. Depicted with the head of a lion and the body of a woman she symbolises the balance between good and evil.
Radharani – The consort of Krishna she shows by example how to devote yourself to the divine. She is also known as Radha, Radhika and Radhikarani.
Ratri – Goddess of the night- time, she is often referred to as Ratridevi.
Saranya – The beautiful Goddess of the clouds and the dawn. She is married to Surya the sun God.
Saraswati – Patron of the arts, music and sciences, she is the Hindu Goddess of Wisdom.
Shakti – The active, creative feminine energy of the divine.
Shasti - The Goddess of marriage and children. Shasti is also responsible for the fertility of the land.
Sita – Consort of Rama and an incarnation of the Goddess Lakshmi. Her name means furrow as according to myth she appeared from the earth when it was ploughed.
Tulsi – A personification of the Holy Basil. The leaves are included in the offerings of prasadam.
Ushas – Goddess of the dawn she rides across the sky in her chariot, bringing in the new day.
Vishwambhari – Goddess of karma.
Yamuna – the River Goddess of the sacred Ganges. Also Known as Yami and Kalindi