While deep into the study of comparative religions in seminary school, many years ago, I was surprised to discover the many feminine faces of the Divine. There are thousands of Goddesses, from many of the world's cultures, known by different names and images, which represent feminine aspects of divinity and also aspects of our humanity. In addition to practitioners of earth-based spirituality, the Hindu, Buddhist, Tibetan, Native American and South American cultures are among the traditions that continue to commune with the Divine Feminine.
I wrote quite a bit about the history and worship of goddesses in different cultures back then and thought this was a good time for a refresher article on ways to connect with the divine feminine.
Meet nine special goddesses who are sought out for their special qualities - such as love, abundance, healing, relationship balance, beauty, peace of mind, and inspiration.
Find out what they each represent. And try some of these traditional, and westernized, suggestions for how to bring those qualities into your life.
Lakshmi: Attract Good Fortune-Hindu
Lakshmi (Lock-schmee) is the Hindu Goddess of Good Fortune and Beauty. She is actively worshiped around the globe by millions of Hindus and is considered the personification of abundance, prosperity and wealth. It is said that three millennia ago, Lakshmi was born, fully grown, on a pink lotus that rose from the milky sea. She was immediately be-decked, be-jeweled and worshiped by the gods and sages. They prayed that she would come to their abodes, and to their worlds, because they believed that where Lakshmi is you find riches and fulfillment. Her ability to enhance good fortune is symbolized by the gold coins that you see pouring from her hands back into the ocean of life.
Special qualities: Increasing income, healing financial crisis, bringing spiritual and material wealth, attaining prosperity through the right means.
Evoke her: Get a clear glass vase with a narrow neck and tape or paste an image of Lakshmi on it. Pour in four shiny quarters each day and offer thanks for the abundance in your life. Watch your money grow and visualize a life of constant cash flow, prosperity, and success.
Affirmation: "My life is rich in so many ways."
Venus: Love Yourself-Roman
Venus, the Roman Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality, is one of the most famous Goddesses on the planet, and also has her own planet - Venus, planet of poetry, music, pleasure and love. Her name is synonymous with all that is feminine, and with love and passion. She is reputed for her sizzling sexuality, her thorough enjoyment of her own exploits and for a complete and utter appreciation of self.
Special qualities: Inspiring love, romance and self love.
Evoke Her: Create special vows of love - to yourself, such as: I promise to treat myself well and offer the same kindness, love and compassion to myself as I do others. I will always honor and cherish myself. Speak them as you look into a mirror.
Affirmation: "I am worthy of love."
Kuan Yin: Find Compassion-Chinese Buddhist
Kuan Yin (kwan-yin) is the Chinese Buddhist goddess of compassion, mercy and healing. She is the "Compassionate Saviouress" worshiped for centuries throughout China, Japan, Korea and South East Asia. Known also as Quan Yin and Guan Shih Yin, she is the patron and protector of women, children, sailors and artisans and those who are imprisoned. Her name is translated as the being who hears the cries of the world. She is a Bodhisattva, which in Buddhism is a human being who has completed all Karma and reached enlightenment.
Special qualities: Compassionate caring, loving kindness, healing human pain.
Evoke her: Chant to her any time. Her powers and gifts can be invoked by calling her name or chanting the famous "Mani": Om Mani Padme Hum (Oh-m mah'-nee pahd'-may hoom).
Affirmation: "I forgive myself for any ways in which I have disappointed myself or others. And I forgive others for disappointing me."
Brigid: Find Your Inspiration-Celtic
Brigid (bridge-jeed) is the Celtic Triple Goddess known as keeper of the sacred fire. Her name means "exalted one" and she is sometimes referred to a "bride." Goddess of poets, blacksmiths, brides and childbirth, she watched over the hearth, fire, fertility, creativity, healing. As a triple Goddess, she represents the three aspects of the divine feminine and three stages of a woman's life --maiden, mother, and wise woman - all in one.
Special Qualities: Empowering self-expression and bringing new ideas into the world and giving them life.
Evoke her: The ancients lit a candle in her honor for 19 days and it was said on the 20th the goddess appeared. Light a candle, and visualize that whatever you are trying to create- or work through -- is completed.
Affirmation: "Inspiration fills me. My creativity flows easily."
Isis: Heal Your Relationships-Egyptian
Isis (i·sis) is one of the earliest and most important Goddesses in ancient Egypt. Her worship was a major part of Egyptian culture just over two thousand years ago; her image abounds on the walls of Egyptian temples and tombs and in museums around the world. Known as a healer, physician, enchantress, magician, patron of women in childbirth, mother and devoted wife she is referred to as Goddess of 10,000 names. In her eternal relationship with her beloved Osiris - her brother, husband, lover and co-ruler -- she shared the same soul. When he was killed, Osiris became King of the Underworld and Isis the Queen of Heaven, together they ruled still.
Special qualities: Healing, healing relationships, commitment in the long haul, devotion and keeping relationships sacred.
Evoke her: Her image lives on in ancient temples and relief's, and she is often seen carrying a ankh, symbol of eternal life. Buy an ankh necklace or download an image and place it somewhere you can see if daily.
Affirmation: "I am in you. You are in me."
The Muses: Honor Female Friendship-Greek
The Muses, the Greek deities who presided over the arts, are among the most familiar mythical women. Although the numbers varied from region to region, the classical period in Greece established them as nine. Each had their own distinct area of expertise: Calliope was Muse of epic poetry; Clio, history; Erato, the lyre; Euterpe, the flute; Polyhymnia, hymns and mime; Terspsichore, dance; Thalia, comedy; Urania, astronomy; and their mother, Mnemosyne, Muse of tragedy and memory. Hesiod suggested that the Muses were the ultimate party girls of Greece, "their hearts set upon song and their spirit is free from care." Taking great pleasure in merriment, good food, and celebration, they helped mortals lighten up and allow their creativity to flow.
Special qualities: Inspiration for creative endeavors, joyful self-expression, and sacred sisterhood.
Evoke them: Call together your favorite women, gather in a sacred circle, make declarations about your creative endeavors, and promise to support each other in fulfilling your dreams.
Affirmation: "My life is filled with muses who inspire me in all ways."
Green Tara: Feel Protected-Tibetan Buddhist
Tara (Ta-rah) is the much-loved Tibetan Buddhist mother goddess. Monks and devotees around the world chant and evoke her energies daily, calling upon her for everything from world peace, to inner peace and protection. Tara is worshiped in both mild and wild forms, and exists in a rainbow of colors based on various attributes. As Green Tara, she is a goddess of action, great strength and special protective powers who wards off evil and shields you from spiritual harm.
Special qualities: Deflecting negative energy, overcoming danger, quelling fear and anxiety.
Evoke her: Light incense and chant her mantra. "Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha," (Ah-um Tah-ray Too-tah-ray Too-ray So-hah)
Affirmation: "I am safe and sound in the arms of the Mother."
White Buffalo Calf Woman: Create Peace-Native American
White Buffalo Calf Women is a Native American spirit woman considered a holy woman-savior who came here to give instructions for living the sacred life to "The People." In Native American Culture, she is credited with helping the Lakota and Sioux establish rituals and a sacred social life that would bring them closer to Great Spirit, the Great Mother and one another, as well teaching them how to perpetuate peace and honesty in their world.
Special qualities: Activating your ability to build peaceful community and spread peace.
Evoke her: Focus on peace, every day. Take a "peace break" in lieu of a coffee break, and softly or silently chant: Peace to my right. Peace to my left. Peace in front of me. Peace in back of me. Peace above me. Peace below me. Peace within me. Peace all about. Peace abounds. Peace is mine.
Affirmation: "I radiate peace everywhere I go."
The Great Goddess: Connecting to the Feminine-Ancient Cultures
The Great Goddess is the Great Mother of all things. The earliest artifacts of Goddess worship date back over 40,000 years and many believe that the first God worshiped was a woman She is the earth we stand on, the air we breathe, the fire we cook with, the waters of life that sustain us and the spirit that lives inside us and all around us. She can be found in the history, mythology, sacred texts, spiritual practices and folklore of every culture. In the beginning she was Inanna, Ishtar, Isis, Astarte, and Gaia and in modern times she's come to be known as Mother Nature.
Special qualities: Connects you to all ancestors and all women, unconditional love and nurturing.
Evoke her: Spend time in nature. A walk in the park, a talk on the patio, a hike up a mountain, a moment gazing at the full moon, a swim in the sea will all bring you closer.
Affirmation: "We all come from the Goddess."
I adapted this article from my book, The Goddess Pages: A Divine Guide to Finding Love and Happiness (Llewellyn Publications, 2008) and my online course, Discovering the Goddess (Self Healing Expressions).
Image: Lakshmi, Hindu Goddess of Fortune