Art by Kris Waldherr


Macha was an Irish war goddess, often seen (like her sisters Morrigan and Badbh) as one entity with three aspects: prophet, warrior and matriarch/queen. But Macha probably predated the Celtic Gaels as a prehistoric Asian moon goddess. She was associated with the crow, as well as with the ability to outrun the king's horses, and she cast a famous curse on the hero Cu Chulainn.


The Chinese goddess Ma-Ku personifies the goodness in all people. She took land from the sea and planted it with mulberry trees. She freed the slaves from her cruel father.

Mananaan mac Lir

Mananaan mac Lir by Joanna Powell Colbert

Mananaan mac Lir was an Irish sea-god and the pilot of souls who seek the way to the Blessed Isles (the Otherworld). He could fold up his coracle, Wave-Sweeper, into the crane bag he carried at his side. When he shook out his mantle, a mist spread over the land. Wearing the shape of a heron, he came to women by night as an otherworldly lover and with them conceived sea-heroes.


Mars was Roman god of war, the son of Juno and a magical flower (or Jupiter). As the word has no Indo-European derivation, it is most likely the Latinized version of the Etruscan god, Maris. Initially the Roman god of fertility and vegetation, and protector of cattle, the Mars deity later became associated with battle. He was the very tutelary god of Rome, legendary father of Romulus. He is identified with the Greek god Ares. As the god of spring, when his major festivals were held, he presided over agriculture in general. In his warlike aspect, Mars was offered sacrifices before combat and was said to appear on the battlefield accompanied by Bellona, a warrior goddess variously identified as his wife, sister or daughter or cousin. His wife was also said to be Nerio. In Rome, his primary temple was on the Capitol, shared with Jupiter and Quirinus. The temple to Mars Ultor ("the avenger") was in the Forum Augustus. Another temple to Mars Gradivus ("he who precedes the army in battle") was where the army gathered before leaving for a war and praised upon return and victory of a war. The Campus Martius ("field of Mars") was dedicated to him; it was where soldiers and athletes trained. Mars was called Mavors in some poetry (Virgil VIII, 630), and Mamers was his Oscan name. In the Regia on the Forum Romanum, the hastae Martiae were kept in a small chamber. Any movement of the hastae Martiae, the "lances of Mars," was seen as an omen of war. If Rome was attacking, the generals moved lances and repeated Mars vigila ("Mars awaken"). On March 1, the Feriae Marti was celebrated. On October 19, the Armilustrium was celebrated; the weapons of the soldiers were purified and stored. Every five years, the Suovetaurilia was celebrated; a pig, sheep and bull were sacrificed. On February 27 and March 14, the horses race of the Equirria were held. On March 23, the Tubilustrium was celebrated by purifying weapons and war-trumpets. Priests of Mars and Quirinus were called Salii ("jumpers"). They were referred to as jumpers because they jumped down streets and sang the Carmen Saliare. A priest of Mars alone was called a flamen Martialis. Mars, unlike his Greek counterpart, Ares, was more widely worshipped than any of the other Roman gods, probably because his sons Romulus and Remus were said to have founded Rome; the Romans called themselves sons of Mars. As the consort of Rhea Sylvia and father of Romulus and Remus, Mars was considered the father of the Roman people. He is associated with Quirinus, said to be the Spirit of Romulus, the founder of the City. Quirinus may have been a Sabine deity, however. In art, Mars is depicted as an armored warrior with a crested helmet. He is also drawn on a chariot with a shield and spear going into battle. The shield symbolizes Rome, and according to a legend his shield fell from a sky to save the Romans. The wolf and woodpecker are sacred to him. His children are Fuga and Timor. The month of March and the planet of Mars were named after him.


Eons ago, there was born the Demigod Maui. His father was the holder of the heavens and his mother was the guardian of the path to the Netherworld. Maui was the only one of the children who possessed the powers of magic and miracles. Maui was the smallest of the family, but he had the quickest mind and had an extremely rascally nature about him. Maui would take advantage of both his friends and the gods in his quest to fulfill his schemes. Maui's brothers were much more skilled fishermen, and they would often laugh at him for his poor success. They refused to take him fishing with them. Maui's mother sent him to his father to obtain a magic hook called "Manaiakalani". She explained that the hook fastened to the heavens. "When the hook catches land, it will raise the old seas together." Maui returned with his hook, and he joined his brothers in another fishing expedition. They paddled far into the deep ocean and threw their lines overboard. To their dismay, they only caught sharks. The brothers ridiculed Maui asking "Where are the fish you promised?" Maui then rose and threw his magical hook into the ocean. Chanting a spell of power, he commanded the hook to catch the Great Fish. At once the sea began to move. Great waves rose around the canoe. Maui commanded his brothers to paddle with all their might and to not look back. For two days, Maui held taut the magic line and hook while his brothers kept paddling furiously. Suddenly from below the depths arose the tops of great mountains in a series of peaks that broke the surface of the ocean. Maui reminded his brothers to keep paddling mightly. Maui pulled mightly against the line and forced the peaks even farther out of the water. One of his brothers then broke the command and gazed back in awe at the sight of the rising land. He stopped paddling and quickly the magic line began to slacken in Maui's hands. Before he could call out to his brothers, the line snapped and the magic hook was lost forever beneath the sea. Maui chastised his brothers for their failure to paddle as he had commanded. "I had endeavoured to raise a great continent but because of your weakness I have only these islands to show for all my efforts"....And this is how the Islands of Hawai'i came to be...(Cool story, huh? :o)


Mawu-Lisa is an African Dahomey supreme deity. Mawu, the moon, is the female half of this androgynous deity. She is called the wife or twin of Lisa, the sun. Together they created all the other deities. When they mate, it causes an eclipse.



Medusa was an ancient serpent goddess. She was a guardian spirit, protector and healer of women, and keeper of sacred women's mysteries and wisdom. She was one of the three Gorgons, who were three monstrous daughters of the sea god Phorcys and his wife, Ceto. Her sisters were Stheno and Euryale. The Gorgons were monstrous creatures covered with impenetrable scales, with hair of living snakes, hands made of brass, sharp fangs and a beard. They lived in the ultimate west, near the ocean, and guarded the entrance to the underworld. She was the only one who was mortal. Her gaze could turn whoever she looked upon to stone. There is a particular myth in which Medusa was originally a beautiful maiden. She desecrated Athena's temple by lying there with Poseidon. Outraged, Athena turned Medusa's hair into living snakes. Medusa was killed by the hero Perseus with the help of Athena and Hermes. He killed her by cutting off her head and gave it to Athena, who placed it in the center of her Aegis, which she wore over her breastplate. From Medusa's dead body the giant Chrysaor and the winged horse Pegasus, her son by Poseidon, sprang forth.

Medusa Gorgon

Medusa Gorgon

Medusa Gorgon was the Goddess of Righteous Wrath. In some traditions she was a serpent goddess of the Libyan Amazons and represented female wisdom. In others she was an Anatolian Sun Goddess. Medusa is identical with the Crone or Destroyer aspect of the dark Egyptian goddess Nieth; she was also one member of the triple personae of the North African goddess An-Ath. When that goddess was imported by the Greeks as patroness of Athens, Medusa's fierce visage was embossed on Athena's shield. That her wrath turned men to stone may be a folk memory of the theft of wise woman culture by the patriarchy. An allomorph of Kali, this image with her sword and lion guards the goddess temple at Corfu.



In Roman mythology Mercury was the messenger of the god Zeus, the son of the god Jupiter and of Maia, (the daughter of the Titan Atlas). Mercury was the god of merchants, of commerce, wrestling, gymnastic exercises, thieving, and what required dexterity. His name is apparently derived from the Latin merx or mercator, a merchant. He is very similar to the Greek god Hermes and the Etruscan Turms.

Mercury is usually depicted wearing a winged hat and winged shoes. He holds a rod entwined with two serpents and wings (called the caduceus). The worship of Mercury was introduced into Rome in 495 B.C. when a temple was dedicated to him near the Circus Maximus, and his festival was celebrated on May 15th. Mercury in Roman mythology was called Hermes.

Mercury's temple in the Circus Maximus, between the Aventine and Palatine hills, was built in 495 BC. This was a fitting place to worship a god of trade and swiftness, since it was a major center of commerce as well as a racetrack. Since it stood between the plebeian stronghold on the Aventine and the patrician center on the Palatine, it also emphasized the role of Mercury as a mediator.

On May 15, the Mercuralia was held in his honor; merchants sprinkled water from his sacred well near the Porta Capena on their heads.

Mercury became extremely popular among the nations the Roman Empire conquered. In the Roman syncretism, he was equated with the Celtic god Lugus and the Germanic god Wotan.


Minerva and the Muses, by Hans Rottenhammer

Minerva was a Roman goddess of crafts and wisdom. This article focuses on Minerva in early Rome and in cultic practice. For information on mythological accounts of Minerva, which were heavily influenced by Greek mythology, (see Athena). The name "Minerva" may come from the Indo-European root *men-, from which "mental" and "mind" are also derived. However, the non-Indo-European speaking Etruscans had a goddess Menrva, so the name may be of entirely unknown derivation. Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter and Metis. She was considered to be the virgin goddess of warriors, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, crafts, and the inventor of music. As Minerva Medica, she was the goddess of medicine and doctors. Adapting Greek myths about Athena, Romans said that Minerva was not born in the usual way, but rather sprang fully armed from the brain of her father; this image has captivated Western writers and artists through the ages. Ovid called her the "goddess of a thousand works." Minerva was worshipped throughout Italy, though only in Rome did she take on a warlike character. Minerva is usually depicted wearing a coat of mail and a helmet, and carrying a spear. The Romans celebrated her festival from March 19 to 23 during the day which is called, in the feminine plural, Quinquatria, the fifth after the Ides of March, the nineteenth, the artisans' holiday. A lesser version, the Minusculae Quinquatria, was held on the Ides of June June 13 by the flute-players, who were particularly useful to religion. Minerva was worshipped on the Capitoline Hill as one of the Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Juno. In 207 BC, a guild of poets and actors was formed to meet and make votive offerings at the temple of Minerva on the Aventine hill. Among others, its members included Livius Andronicus. The Aventine sanctuary of Minerva continued to be an important center of the arts for much of the middle Roman Republic.


Minona is the African protector of women of Benin, and she gives fertility to women and the fields. She can divine the future from palm kernels.


Several Hawaiian legends tell of Mokolii, a huge dragon slain by Hiiaka, the sister of the powerful goddess Madame Pele. Hiiaka, a goddess in her own right, set the creature's tail flukes into the waters off windward Oahu as a landmark and left its body as a roadbed on shore. The island formed by the creature's tail flukes bears its name, Mokolii. Also known as Chinaman's Hat, Mokolii is now part of Kualoa Regional Park. The 157-acre park was bought from a private landowner in the early 1970s, and after the purchase archaeologists found evidence that Mokolii and the Kualoa area had historic importance. Kualoa was a training ground for Oahu's high chiefs and the residence of Kualii, the first king of Oahu. Mokolii was an adze quarry and finishing area. Hawaiians quarried adze blanks from the basalt on the eastern part of the island and shaped them using seawater and sand they poured into one by two foot hollows in the rock. Traces of several of these work areas remain to this day.


Morpheus, God of Sleep by Hans Nelsen

In Greek mythology Morpheus was the god of dreams, and it is believed he was the son of Hypnos, the god of sleep. While Morpheus formed images of humans in dreams or visions, his brothers Phobetor and Phantasos were in charge of depicting dream images of animals and inanimate objects. Together these three sons of Sleep: Morpheus, Phobetor, and Phantasos ruled the realm of dreams. The name Morpheus is derived from the Greek word for "shape" or "form."


The Morrigan

The Morrigan is a triple goddess originating in Wales. Her aspects have various names such as Neaim, Macha, Badb, and Mave. In this modern image by artist Paul Borda, she is the maiden warrior holding two spears, indomitable in battle. She could shape-change into a raven or crow, shown on the back of her cloak. A protector, she empowers individuals to confront challenges with strength, even against overwhelming odds. The Celtic cultures were unusual in expecting many women to function as warroirs. Roman chroniclers reported that both male and female Celts went into battle naked, exposing tattoos which served to summon their magical forces. In later Christianized mythologies she became Morgan le Fay.

Mother Goddess of Thrace

Mother Goddess of Thrace

Her exaggerated thighs and throne-seat emphasize the robust fertility and nurturant quality of this sweetly-poised Lady from the Black Sea region, an area known for its ancient matrifocal cultures. The Amazons were the best-known goddess culture of this area, and this may be a proto-Amazon deity. Her prominent genital triangle, plus the lozenge and serpentine swirls on her limbs tell us she is a goddess of the polarities, life and death.


Myo-o are a protective deity, chiefly associated with the Japanese Shingon sect of Buddhism. Also known as "Heavenly Kings" or "Wisdom Kings", the Myo-o drive away sins and threats to Buddhist doctrine. They are represented with fierce expressions and poses. Each has a third eye on the forehead, a traditional point of psychic power, and is surrounded by flames. The five Myo-o most often worshiped and represented were originally conceived as agents of the five eternal so-called self-born Buddhas. The most important, Fudo Myo-o, bears a flaming sword and is regarded as the fierce aspect of the cosmic Buddha Vairocana. Aizen Myo-o, a god of love, is also venerated. Although known in India as Vidyaraja (Kings of Knowledge), the Myo-o have traditionally enjoyed a significant cult only in Japan, perhaps due to their depiction in ornate Shingon temples and their appeal to the Japanese warrior class. The various myoo were often worshipped in groups as principal objects of reverence in Esoteric Buddhist temples, but Fudo and Aizen were also widely worshiped by the common people as independent entities

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