The Greek goddess Demeter, the motherly goddess of harvest and agriculture, had a daughter with her brother Zeus
Are you on a Hellenic path? Do you work with either of these deities? We would like to hear about your experience in the comments.
Despite ancient Roman polytheism lasting a millennia-and-a-half (that’s MD in Roman numerals, in case you were wondering), and the fact that the planets in our solar system and our days of the week are named after them, it still seems that people tend to know more about the ancient Greek pantheon than Rome’s. And yes, we realize that is likely because nearly the entirety of Rome’s pantheon was derived from Greece’s own, but that doesn’t make them any less important to Paganism today.
So sit back and allow us to introduce you to the 12 most important Gods and Goddesses of ancient Rome.
Jupiter was the son of Saturn and Ops. Like his Greek counterpart, Zeus, he was the king of the Gods, and god of thunder, lightning, and the sky. His sacred animal was the eagle, which could be seen adorned atop his golden staff. This later became one of the most prominent symbols of the Roman Army, called the Aquila (Latin for “eagle”). With his sister and wife, Juno, Jupiter had four children: Mars, Vulcan, Bellona, and Juventas.
Queen of the Gods, Juno was married to her brother, Jupiter. She was the goddess of marriage and childbirth and was the patron goddess of Rome. In ancient Rome, Juno was often referred to as Juno Regina or Queen Juno. Her symbols were the peacock and the pomegranate, which was also a symbol of fertility. Some myths say Juno gave birth to Mars without the help of Jupiter. She was given a sacred lily that, when touched, caused her to fall pregnant. Because of this myth, Juno is also associated with the fleur-de-lys.
Prior to the inclusion of the Greek tradition in the Roman pantheon, Neptune was solely the God of freshwater springs, but eventually, like his counterpart, Poseidon, also became God of the Sea. As with Poseidon as well, Neptune was associated with horses, and was then worshipped as Neptunus Equester. Neptune was brother to Jupiter and Pluto, who, together, with his brothers, governed the three realms of earth, heaven, and the underworld. Neptune’s consort was Salacia, Goddess of saltwater. His symbols included horses, dolphins, and the trident.
Vestia was the goddess of family, home, and the hearth. She was rarely depicted in human form and instead, took the form of the sacred fire at her temple in the Roman Forum. This temple was home to Vestia’s priestesses, the Vestal Virgins, the only full-time priesthood in Rome, and also the only all-female priesthood. Vestia was the guardian of Rome and its people, and as such, her yearly festival, the Vestalia, was considered the most important festival of the year. Vestia was so important to Rome that her cult was the last still practicing after Christianity took hold of the country. Her symbols were fire, donkeys, and the hearth.
Ceres was associated with the Greek Goddess Demeter. She was considered the eternal mother, and was the goddess of motherhood, fertility, crops, harvest, grains, agriculture, and law. It was believed that Ceres’ moods changed the seasons, as, in winter, when her daughter, Proserpina, had to spend her time in the Underworld with Pluto, crops wouldn’t grow. During spring, she would get excited that her daughter would soon be home, and crops would begin to grow again. When Proserpina was home in the spring and summer months, crops would flourish. As the autumn hit, Ceres would grow anxious at her daughter leaving soon, and crops would begin to wither. Sound familiar? Her symbols were the sickle, the cornucopia, and torches.
Goddess of many things, including love, fertility, sex, beauty, prosperity, desire, victory, prostitution, and wine, Venus was also considered to be the mother of the Roman people. Venus had two consorts in Roman mythology. Her husband, Vulcan, and her lover, Mars. With Mars, she bore Cupid, the God of affection, attraction, erotic love, and desire. Like Aphrodite, Venus was borne from the seafoam that rose up after her father, Caelus, was castrated by his son, Saturn, who then tossed Caelus’ genitals into the sea. Her symbols were roses and myrtles.
Like his Greek equivalent, Hephaestus, Vulcan was the God of metalwork, the forge, fire, and volcanoes. Vulcan was also born with a physical deformity which caused him to be ousted from the heavens. The myths say that he took up residence at the base of Mount Etna, where he learned his craft. It was here that he forged weapons for the rest of the Gods. According to these myths, whenever Venus, Vulcan’s wife, was unfaithful, his rage would cause Mount Etna to erupt.
Though Mars is, of course, associated with the Greek Ares, their mythologies actually differ quite a bit. Ares was often treated with contempt and disgust among the Greek pantheons and in the written legends, while Mars, on the other hand, was loved and revered by Romans. Called the Father of the Roman people, through his fathering of twins Romulus and Remus – Romulus would go on to found the city of Rome – Mars was the God of war and the guardian of agriculture. He was venerated as being the personification of aggression and virility. His symbol is the Spear of Mars, also known as the symbol used to represent the male sex.
Mercury was the God of thieves, trickery, commerce, travelers, luck, merchants, financial gain, communication, messages, and eloquence. He was also a psychopomp, a deity whose responsibility it was to guide souls to the Underworld. In some legends, Mercury was the father of the Lares, lesser deities who were worshipped by family and ancestral cults, and were thought to protect any home within their boundaries. Mercury’s consort was Larunda, a naiad nymph that he was supposed to bring to the Underworld as punishment for telling Juno about one of Jupiter’s affairs. However, on the way, Mercury fell in love with Larunda, and didn’t end up taking her. His symbols are the caduceus, winged sandals and hat, rams, roosters, and tortoises.
It would probably be quicker to list the things that Minerva wasn’t the Goddess of, but we digress. Her domains included arts, crafts, strategic warfare, poetry, commerce, medicine, weaving, courage, wisdom, inspiration, victory, heroism, bravery, war, law, protection, family, civilization, justice, strength, science, mathematics, technology, music, city-state, strategy, and skill. Her origin story is much the same as Athena’s. Her father, Jupiter, raped Metis, the Titaness, and she became pregnant with Minerva. Fearing Jupiter, Metis tried to escape by shapeshifting into a fly. Jupiter then, remembering the prophecy that he would be overthrown by his child, swallowed Metis in fly form, in an attempt to outrun the prophecy. Metis gave birth to Minerva while in Jupiter’s body. She then began to forge armor and weapons for her daughter. The constant clang within him drove Jupiter insane, so Vulcan split his head open with an ax, and from the wound burst Minerva, fully formed and armor-clad. Her symbols are the owl, serpent, olive tree, spear, spindle, and the plant Hellebore. She was considered the most important Goddess of the Roman pantheon.
Diana was the twin of the God Apollo. She was the Goddess of the hunt, the moon, fertility, wild animals, crossroads, and the countryside. Diana was considered a triple Goddess. Not three distinct goddesses, but rather three aspects of Diana as a whole, known as Diana Triformis. These three aspects were Diana, Hecate, and Luna. Diana the Huntress, Diana of the Underworld, and Diana the Moon. Like the Greek Artemis, she was a virgin Goddess, and a protector of childbirth. Her symbols were deer, quiver and arrow, the crescent moon, and hunting dogs.
There isn’t much difference between the Roman Apollo and the Greek one. In fact, he’s one of the only gods whose name didn’t change. Nor, really, did his domains. He was the god of music, healing, sunlight, knowledge, and truth. His parents were Jupiter and Latona, Diana was his twin sister. His symbols were the lyre, pythons, laurel wreaths, bows and arrows, swans, and ravens.
Now that you’ve learned more about the ancient Roman Gods and Goddesses, are there any other pantheons you’re curious about? Let us know at Coven Cloud.
If you’re interested in the zodiac, then you likely know at least a little bit about Sagittarius, Leo, and Aries, but do you know what these three feisty signs have in common? Of course, three of these zodiac signs are fire signs. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, Leo by the Sun, and Aries by Mars. Fire signs are passionate and bold, unafraid to take the road less traveled when they believe it will lead them to their purpose. Fire signs are known for their passion, creativity, spontaneity, inspiration, and strong-willed spirit.
1) The Sagittarian
An explorer at heart, the Sagittarian values freedom above all else. No matter where they are located on earth, there is a constant quest for adventure. They have a lust for life that fuels their every waking moment. The farther away from home they are, or whatever situation or activity they find themselves in, it’s always an opportunity to learn something new about their world or themselves. Intellectual and talkative, constantly learning is one of their favorite pastimes, along with exploring wherever they are visiting. People born under this fire sign will definitely never be bored! Life is too short to spend time being bored or unhappy, so it’s time to get out and see what other people’s lives look like beyond your own.
Sagittarians have an unbridled optimism that shines upon every aspect of their life. Life should be full of fun experiences, so live life to its fullest while you can! It would be a shame if you didn’t live up to your full potential by not knowing what you’re capable of. Your curiosity will lead you down many paths before your journey here on earth comes to an end, so don’t put limits on yourself just because others have already placed limitations upon themselves. As friends, Sagittarians are insightful, wise, and honest, but they can also be blunt and too direct. They struggle to share their truths with tact and sensitivity. They are great to have around as their talkative, sociable nature makes it easy for them to connect with everyone.
2) The Leo
This fire sign is an extrovert who loves to be around people and sports surprisingly thin skin. Criticism can pierce them deeply. They crave affirmation, praise, and validation. Leos are always willing to lend a helping hand. These generous individuals like everything to be just right for them before getting started, but once they’re on board with a project or team, it’s impossible to stop them from blazing ahead. Leos are like the sun: warm, constant, shining on all those in their orbit. They are fixed, steady, predictable friends who love to-do lists, can be resistant to change, and take time to adapt to pivots.
In romance, Leos take center stage. They love being adored by their partner and will go out of their way to put a smile on their face. They need their partners to lavish them with affection and prove their love and loyalty. Once they are settled into a trusting relationship, they make playful, affectionate partners that enjoy keeping things hot and heavy. Leos are secretly sensitive though. They are quick to put up a brave face when hurt, but inside, they are more vulnerable than their fiery-lion outside would let on.
3) The Aries
The first quality of an Aries that people typically notice is their creative (fiery) energy. This fire sign is always on the move, putting their independent and entrepreneurial spirit into action. Aries-born individuals make up some of the most inspiring leaders, and can get even the most “stuck” people moving with their energetic, motivating attitude. Their energy is infectious and they have a limitless curiosity for everything (including new projects). This makes them an exciting friend to hang out with. They are somewhat competitive, but love to celebrate and uplift their friends.
Aries also have a child-like fascination with the world and a sense of adventure that can be a little reckless and impulsive at times. They don’t like to be told what to do and avoid being controlled at all costs. They do far better being their own boss than having to answer to someone else. Their boundless energy is best channeled in physical activity (preferably outdoors), or challenging projects that they can pour their whole heart and mind into.
If you’re born under an astrological fire sign, your potential is incredible! If not, then you would gain much by befriending a Sagittarius, Leo, or Aries to reap the benefits of their fiery personalities.
Colors play an important role in the practice of magick and witchcraft. They also appear frequently in different types of spells and rituals, as well as in the tools used to practice such crafts.
Casting a circle before performing magick is an important part of spellwork, whether you’re trying to make your goals manifest or banish an evil spirit from your home. There are many different techniques for casting circles, but they all serve the same basic purpose of creating an area free from the negative energies of the outside world that allow you to focus on your spell work undisturbed. If you’re looking to begin practicing magick, knowing how to cast a circle of protection will help give you confidence and make it easier to perform spells effectively and safely. Here’s how to do it!
Tools you will need:
Candles: White can work in a pinch, but colors representing the elements work best.
Green – Earth
Yellow – Air
Red or Brown – Fire
Blue – Water
Earth – jasper, moss agate, onyx, aventurine, black tourmaline
Air – opal, aventurine, citrine, tiger’s eye, turquoise
Fire – amber, fire opal, fire agate, carnelian, sunstone
Water – amethyst, aquamarine, pink tourmaline, lapis lazuli, coral
Something to cast the circle with: an athame, chalk, salt, smudge stick, earth-charged water, paint, rope, etc.
1) Prepping your space
With all of your tools set out, stand in front of them and visualize what you want your finished product (your circle) to look like. Close your eyes, take three deep breaths and make sure you really see it in your mind’s eye before opening them back up. You can even draw out what you want it to look like if that helps. Once you have an image clear in your head, grab one of your tools—it doesn’t matter which one—and start drawing it where you’d like on the floor or on some other surface that will be safe for paint or chalk. When you’re done with that, add another tool and keep going until you fill up your space.
2) Drawing your circle
The purpose of casting a circle is twofold—protection and focus. For protection, it’s important that you create an unbroken space around yourself. This means drawing your circle in one continuous motion. If you stop, even for just a moment, you break your circle and invite outside energies into your protected space. If all else fails, use physical barriers like salt or chalk (or rope for very large circles) to form your perimeter. Remember, when casting your circle, it is important to do so while walking deosil (clockwise) around the perimeter of your circle. To release the circle after your spellwork is done, walk widdershins (anti-clockwise) three times around the perimeter.
3) Invoking energy
To start, you must be open and receptive to new energy. To do so, take some deep breaths while focusing on your chakras. Start with your root chakra (near your tailbone) and draw energy from there up through your sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra, and third eye chakra, until you reach your crown chakra at the top of your head. If something feels wrong, stop and take more deep breaths until it feels right again.
4) Verbalizing the ritual
First, give an overview of what you’re about to do. This is basically telling your audience (whether it be yourself or actual people) that you are about to perform magick. Focus on safety, protection, and asking for blessing from whatever deities/spirits/guardian angels you believe in; ask these forces for protection during your rite. You can make up your own blessings or say something easy and non-denominational, if you’re just beginning, such as “Elements/Spirits of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, I call on thee together. Attend my rite and protect and consecrate my circle, above, below, and within.”
Greek mythology has given us many of the most enduring figures in Western culture, from Zeus and his wife Hera to the tragic figure of Prometheus. But who were these Gods and Goddesses? How did they rise to power? This list of the most important deities in the Greek pantheon will help you understand their power, personality, and divine responsibilities.
When Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, it didn’t come without controversy. The Romans saw Christians as hostile heathens who rejected the religion of their ancestors. But many of the customs practiced by early Christians were actually borrowed from the pagans they so despised, all as a means of converting the Pagans to Christianity. Here are the 10 most mind-blowing ways Christianity stole from Paganism!
1) The Number 12
The number 12 has an important place in both Pagan and Christian traditions. Pagans worshipped a number of gods, usually 12, but also 22, 32, or 36 depending on the region. Early Christians paid homage to Jesus’ 12 apostles and even today it is said that he will return to Earth with his 12 disciples. Likewise, early Pagans often built temples in groups of 12, with circular designs like Stonehenge (in England) or The Sanctuary at Corsepius (in Turkey). Today, Christians are encouraged to welcome Jesus into their lives through 12 steps programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. 12 is also considered a good omen because many people believe it has no imperfections.
2) Christmas Trees
Early Christians were called tree worshippers by Romans who noted their custom of decorating Christmas trees during holidays. The first documented use of Christmas trees was in Germany in 1521. The ancient Greeks and Scandinavians also decorated trees to celebrate the Winter Solstice, but it is uncertain if they were using evergreen or just hung ornaments on their trees. Early Pagans would bring evergreen branches into their homes and decorate them to bring light and life into the home during the dreary winter months. It has been suggested that Pagan cults worshipped sacred groves of evergreens, thus giving rise to modern-day Christmas tree traditions, but there is no hard evidence to support these theories.
If you’ve ever partaken in a Communion service, you’re familiar with its origins: Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding by turning water into wine. (The first documented Communion ritual was practiced in Alexandria and involved bread and wine.) The fish symbol appeared on early Christian tombstones and other artifacts as a nod to Jesus, who stated that he will make you fishers of men. But the reality is that the symbol of the fish finds its roots in Paganism. The Christian symbol of the fish, called the Ichthys, even gets its name from a Pagan God, coincidentally named Ichthys, who was the son of the sea goddess, Atargatis, in Babylonian mythology. Pagans worshipped the symbol of the fish, often drawn by two intersecting crescent moons, as a symbol of fertility, believing it resembled a woman’s womb, thus representing the monthly cycle.
In ancient times, humans used fire as a tool for cooking, keeping warm, and light. In addition to these benefits, fire also had religious significance in many cultures. It was believed that divine forces were responsible for providing fire to humankind and so certain rituals were performed to appease these gods. Fire rituals were performed by Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Hebrews, Incas, Native Americans, and many other cultures around the world. One of these Pagan beliefs is represented in Christmas celebrations where families gather together around a Christmas tree, which has lights adorned on it. Lights that, in ancient times, were actual candles, not the string lights we see today.
5) Easter and Easter Eggs
Pagans and Christians alike observed that eggs were a magical and unique thing: they start out in a lifeless shell and turn into a living, breathing animal over time. It didn’t take long for Pagans to adopt eggs as symbolic of new life, springtime, and transformation, while in Christianity, eggs, and Easter eggs, in particular, symbolize Jesus’ resurrection and emerging from his tomb after three days. Like with many Christian holy days, the holiday known today as Easter got its origins from the Pagan festival of Ostara, a celebration of the Vernal Equinox.
6) The Virgin Birth
Think Mary was the first virgin to give birth to a god, demi-god, or son of God? Think again! Virgin births have been around in mythologies for centuries before Jesus. One of the earliest mythologies of an immaculate conception was that of the Egyptian God Horus, borne of the virgin Isis. Other virgin births prior to Jesus consist of Zoroaster, Mithra (who’s birthday is also written as December 25th), Krishna, and the Tien-Tse (Sons of Heaven) in China, among others.
7) Death and Resurrection
Like the myth of the virgin birth, Jesus’ resurrection cannot be solely (or even primarily) attributed to Christianity. 5000 years before Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Egyptian God, Osiris was killed and resurrected (more than once!). Osiris’ son, Horus, was also killed and resurrected. Moving onto Greek mythology, Adonis, Hermes, Dionysus, and Herakles all died and were resurrected. Other deities who were killed and subsequently resurrected include Tammuz of Babylonian mythology, Zarathustra, Mithra, and Krishna. The latter of which was believed to be crucified as well.
8) Longer Days at Easter
The earliest Christians may have decided to celebrate Easter on a Sunday because it meant they could worship for longer. During some years, Easter would be celebrated on April 21st or 22nd, rather than March 25th—but Christians still kept their firstfruits celebrations by congregating in church. Pagans, on the other hand, held celebrations at night since they thought that’s when spirits were most likely to wander into our world. It’s no wonder that Christians started celebrating Easter sunrise services!
9) Sunday Rest Days
The ancient Romans had a day of rest on Sunday. The ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Persians, and even ancient Jews had a concept of a day of rest. Some have speculated that Christians stole their Sabbath from Pagans, but it’s possible that all religions were taking a page from history.
The Christmas tree tradition can be traced to Pagan practices in Germanic Europe. Heathens decorated fir trees in honor of their god, Thor, around December 24—the same day that early Christians used to celebrate Christ’s birth. But the theft from Paganism goes far deeper than simply Christmas trees. The entire holiday of Christmas – you know, the supposed day of Jesus’ birth? – was stolen from the Germanic celebration of Yule, and the Roman festival of Saturnalia. Though it is widely accepted that Jesus’ birth coincides with Christmas Day, historical texts suggest that Jesus was, instead, born in the Spring, however, in an effort to convert Pagans, who were very attached to their holy days, early Christians adopted Pagan celebrations and renamed them.
Written by Vehemence
Cana Cludhmor (also known as Canola), was a Celtic Goddess of Inspiration and Creativity and inventor of the harp (Lyre), Ireland’s long-loved symbol and the core of traditional Irish music. Her story begins with something trivial: a lover’s quarrel.
As mythology tells it, one fine day, Canola had an argument with her lover, Machuel. Although she was a goddess, as an intermediary between our physical world and the infinite Source of All, she felt emotions just like mortal humans. So, like any mortal woman who’s had a falling-out with her man, Canola was a little…vexed. And the best way to deal with strong emotions was to get some air, so Canola went out for a late-night walk to clear her head.
She decided to walk along the seashore, hoping to calm down and feel the peace and beauty of nature. Suddenly, she heard beautiful, haunting music drifting over to her in the wind. It was so enchanting and compelling that she completely forgot her anger and sat down to listen more intently to the melody. She was lulled into a deep sleep as the music continued to wash over her, calming her soul.
Upon awakening in the light of morning, the music was still floating along, and she just had to find where it was coming from. After searching for some time she found its origin – and it was quite a surprise. The music was emanating from the carcass of a giant whale laying on the beach. The wind was gently strumming the notes across dried sinews still attached to the rib-bones of the whale. Even in the death of a beautiful creature, Mother Nature made something alive and beautiful. What a gift!
While sleeping, Canola’s mind, stroked by the wonderful notes, was full of marvellous dreams. Upon witnessing the unique gift offered to her by Mother Goddess, inspiration struck Canola and she was moved to try and recreate this wondrous, natural resonance. Canola, filled with creative intelligence, forged the harp (Lyre), Ireland’s national emblem to this day.
The harp is believed to symbolize the immortality of the soul and the eternal circle of life. Dane Rudhyar, in a 1922 lecture in New York City, said that the original, primeval harp was shaped like a bow or a half-circle. He also adds that the circle represents the unmanifest (the spirit world) while the half-circle represents the manifest (the physical world). These two shapes help us understand the eternal cycle of life.
Canola created the Irish harp, a unique, exquisite instrument that captures the haunting melodies of the universe, inspired by the perfect dance of nature. The harp, the Irish Goddess’ gift to the people of Ireland, continues to depict the eternal nature of life.
Canola is known as the patron Goddess of musicians and bards. Call on Canola for inspiration in your creative endeavours and look to her while practicing dreamwork and magic. She reminds us that the universe is made up of vibration and frequency and that we are all cosmic beings in this great journey of life, death and rebirth.
In some ways, it can be easier to find friends who share your interests as an adult than it was as a child—because as an adult, you’re not limited to your immediate circle of friends and close family. However, finding people who share your interests can be tricky—especially if they have nothing to do with the occult. But don’t despair! Here are a few tips on how to find witchy friends in your local community. Just remember to practice safety first!
Ask Around at the Metaphysical Shop
If you’re looking for people who share your interests, where better to find them than at a shop or event that specializes in those interests? Many shops and events like Wiccan festivals make it clear on their web pages and advertisements what they’re all about. If you go out of your way to chat with people there, then you may end up talking about more than just candles or crystals. You could even become involved with a coven. And don’t worry: Wiccan gatherings aren’t as underground as they used to be. That means if you want an open and honest community, you can probably find one online or nearby.
Use Online Resources
The most obvious online resource is well…Coven Cloud, but while we’re busy building out matchmaking and geolocating features for witches, you can also check your local coven’s website for public gatherings. If you don’t have a high-speed internet connection or access to a computer at home, try asking at your local library for an hour of web time. Community centers, churches, and even little leagues may offer space for meeting people. Many cities are also organized by neighborhood. Chances are there’s some kind of organization close by that will let you sign up as a member — again mostly online these days — so that if anyone posts an event or notice looking for guests or members, it’ll show up on your own personal page.
Join Witchcraft Meetups
Before you start a coven, check out local witch-specific meetups. If you can’t find any, make your own. While you don’t have to actually join a coven, there are several benefits from attending group gatherings with witches. First and foremost, these groups usually take place on a monthly basis—which is perfect for starting up a long-term friendship. In addition, many of these meetups have other members who identify as solitary practitioners—which means they’re not part of a coven but still identify as being part of the witchcraft community. When looking for local meetups, be sure to check reviews and scope out the social profiles of those you might meet with. While witchcraft can be fun and safe, there are predators out there. Be vigilant!
Let’s face it: The prospect of cold-calling someone you don’t know and asking if they want to be your friend can be terrifying. If you want a local witching group that will welcome you with open arms, then there’s only one way to go about it: initiate contact. Pick up your phone and call! With a warm and friendly voice, just ask them how they found their coven or circle and go from there.