Wiccan Goddesses are part of the nature orientated religion followed by a diverse group of modern witches and some pagan groups.
It is essentially a dualistic belief system where the male and female energies are worshipped in balance.
Geraldine Gardner is considered the founding father of modern Wicca which draws heavily upon pagan and hermetic ideology. In this tradition the Gods and Goddesses are often not named individually, appearing in rituals as the Lord and Lady or Mother Goddess and Horned God.
For most Wiccans, the Lord and Lady are seen as complementary polarities representing masculine and feminine, force and form. All of creation results from the interplay and tension between these two complementary forces.
This duality of the divine is reflected in the structure of many covens which are jointly headed by the high priest and priestess. These individuals are responsible for calling in and embodying the energies of the Wiccan Goddesses and Gods during rituals.
Traditionally the Wiccan Goddesses are further split into three different aspects known as the triple goddess, reflecting the mother, maiden and crone. In this symbol the Maiden represents expansion, new beginnings and youth. The Mother archetype symbolises nurturing and fertility of the natural world and the Crone reflects the wisdom gained in a lifetime of learning, transformation and change. These aspects are also seen in the cycles of nature.
There are several, traditional, wiccan Goddess symbols. One of the most frequently used motifs is the triple moon, combining the images of the waxing, full and waning moon. These phases of the moons correspond to the maiden, mother and crone respectively. Another popular Goddess symbol is the spiral, reflecting the expansive and cyclical nature of the divine feminine. These different symbols are often incorporated into clothing and jewellery or crafted into ritual objects.
Whilst many Wiccans adhere to the dualistic approach to the divine, the energies of the Goddess are often further divided to reflect many different feminine archetypes taken from Goddess myths from around the world. Celtic, Nordic, Greek and Roman Goddesses are most frequently but not exclusively used.
If you are new to Goddess spirituality or Wicca and want to develop a stronger connection to the Wiccan Goddesses, please use the lists of goddesses and archetypes on this site to identify which individual resonates most strongly with you and your current goal. You can then use the information on that particular Goddess’s symbolism to create your own special ritual or altar space. You will also find useful information on Goddess books and tarot cards pages.
The Wiccan year is often illustrated as a wheel with eight spokes. Each spoke represents a different festival known as a Sabbat.
One of the most important sabbats is known as Samhain, the Witch's New Year, this is traditionally celebrated on October 31st or November 1st of each year. This date represents the end of summer and the final harvest. Samhain is also known as The Day of the Dead. A time to honour the ancestors, because they are more easily contacted on this date as the veil between ours and the spirit realm is at it's thinnest.
Traditionally Samhain is linked to the Crone Goddesses, they embody the wisdom of the ancients and represent death and rebirth. If you wish to celebrate this Sabbat you can find out about Cerridwen, Ereshkigal, Hecate, Hella, Innana, Isis, Nephthys and the other Crone Goddesses on this site. You can use their symbolic objects and herbs to decorate your altars or to incorporate into a Samhain ritual.
The Goddess Pomona is also associated with Samhain as apples were traditionally buried along roadsides and at crossroads on this night to help lost spirits find their way home. Apples are a sacred fruit for Wiccans as when you cut across them horizontally the pips form a five sided star known as the pentacle.
YULE - WINTER SOLSTICE
This is usually celebrated on 21st/22nd December, the shortest day of the year. This is a time when the great mother Goddess gives birth to the new Sun God. A new cycle of life will begin and the days start to lengthen once again.
Evergreen plants, especially mistletoe and holly are brought into the home. Yule logs are burnt with the ashes scattered on the fields to fertilize the ground. It is also the time of wassailing, when offerings of spiced cider are made to the apple trees to encourage a good crop next year.
Although this festival mainly celebrates the return of the Sun God there are several Goddesses that are especially associated with this time of year.
Caileach Bheur, the Scottish blue faced, Queen of Winter who rules the land between Samhain and Beltain.
Mother Holle, the Nordic Goddess is associated with evergreen plants. The snow is said to be feathers that fall when she shakes out her mattress.
Frigga, The myths of this Goddess include stories of the mistletoe a plant that is sacred to the druids at this time of year.
For more Goddesses associated with this general time of year check out the Winter Goddesses section of the website.
IMBOLC - 2nd February
This festival falls halfway between Midwinter and the Spring Equinox and celebrates the first stirrings of spring, when the maiden takes over once again from the crone. The days begin to lengthen once more and the fertility Goddess is awoken after her long winter sleep.
In the Celtic tradition it is also known as Brigid’s Day, she is the fertility Goddess associated with fire and livestock. Celebratory fires and torches were lit to mark the occasion. In Scandinavia the custom was for the woman to wear crowns of candles.
For more information on other Goddesses that are linked to this time of year go to the Spring Goddesses section of this site
If you would like to learn more about Wicca and Wiccan Goddesses I recommend the site by Cassie Bayer. She writes in a very friendly, approachable style, using her personal knowledge of practicing Wicca to teach others. The site also includes an excellent list of book recommendations for beginners.