Taliesin (whose name means Radiant Brow) is the great bard of ancient Britain who drank three drops from the cauldron of Cerridwen and thereby received all wisdom and knowledge. He underwent a series of shamanic transformations into various animal and bird forms before being reborn from the womb of Cerridwen. According to John Matthews, Taliesin knows, above all, the language of the birds. This picture is "Taliesin in the Tree of Far Sight".
Tane-Mahuta is god of trees and forests, and venerated by the Maori. (Native inhabitants of New Zealand). Tane-mahuta was one of the six offspring of the principal deities Rangi, the sky, and Papa, the earth. According to legend, Tane-mahuta succeeded in forcing apart his parents, who had been locked in a tight embrace, but in doing so he incurred the jealousy of his siblings. Tawhiri, the god of the elements, blew down all Tane-mahuta's trees and caused Tane-mahuta's offspring, the fish, who until then had lived in the forests, to flee to the sea, the domain of the ocean god Tangaroa. It is said that Tane-mahuta, furious at the loss of his offspring, has been at odds with Tangaroa ever since. Another account describes the creation of humans. Tane-mahuta wanted a wife and went first to his mother Papa. She rebuffed his advances and told him to create a female version of himself from sand. This creation, who was named Hine-hau-one (earth-created maiden), was the first human. She bore a daughter, Hine-titama, whom Tane-mahuta also married. When Hine-titama found out that he was her father, she fled to the underworld in horror and became Hine-nui-te-po, the goddess of death. Since then all humans have been mortal.
Tangaloa is the creator god of the Samoan people.
Tangaroa is god of the sea to the Maori, native inhabitants of New Zealand. Tangaroa was the son of the principal deities Rangi and Papa. Unsurprisingly, the sea god was very important throughout Polynesia and was known by various forms of the same name, such as A'a in the Austral Islands (also known as the Tubuai Islands) and Ta'aroa in Tahiti. Outside New Zealand, on the smaller islands, Tangaroa was widely revered as the supreme creator deity. According to Maori myth, most of the things in the sea were the creation of Tangaroa and those on land were the creation of his brother, Tane-mahuta, the god of trees and forests. However, all fish were the progeny of Tane-mahuta and lived in the forests until Tawhiri, the god of the elements, blew down the trees and drove the fish in panic to the sea. The loss of all the fish to his brother Tangaroa annoyed Tane-mahuta and they have been in conflict ever since.
Tantalus was to the Greeks, of Lydia and son of Zeus, ruler of the gods. Tantalus was honored above all other mortals by the gods. He ate at their table on Olympus, and once they even came to dine at his palace. To test their omniscience, Tantalus killed his only son, Pelops, boiled him in a cauldron, and served him at the banquet. The gods, however, realized the nature of the food. They restored Pelops to life and devised a terrible punishment for Tantalus. He was hung forever from a tree in Tartarus and afflicted with tormenting thirst and hunger. Under him was a pool of water, but when he stooped to drink, the pool would sink from sight. The tree above him was laden with pears, apples, figs, ripe olives, and pomegranates, but when he reached for them the wind blew the laden branches away. The word tantalize is derived from this story.
Goddess of the Polynesian Society Islanders. She was the mother of the stars by the god Roua. Her son was Fati.
Tara is the Mother Goddess who answers human supplication. Sita Tara was born of a single tear of compassion shed by Avaloketishwara on seeing the suffering of humanity. Tibetan Buddhism numbers 21 Taras, often featuring seven all-seeing eyes of compassion (three in the forehead, one in each palm and foot sole). White Tara, the mild form of the goddess, promises health, long life and prosperity. Green Tara, her foot outstretched to meet supplicants, is protectress in practical matters, and engenders growth. Black and Red Taras are fiercer guises. Here the deity may use suffering to foster the devotee's healing and courage. But even in Her wrathful aspect, Tara's role is to dispel the fear of death and foster the evolution of compassion.
Tawhaki is the Polynesian god of thunder and lightning, and a Maori hero.
Tawhiri is the Polynesian god of storms and winds.
Tezcatlipoca is, in Toltec and Aztec religions, the god of the night sky, the moon and stars, and young men. Also called Yaotl (the warrior), this god was associated with the forces of destruction and evil. He ruled over the district schools where Aztec youths received an elementary education and military training. He was also the protector of slaves and punished anyone who mistreated them. Tezcatlipoca was also a wizard and a master of black magic and was usually depicted with a black stripe across his face or a mirror on his chest, in which he saw all deeds and thoughts of humankind. Human sacrifice was introduced through his cult into central Mexico. For one year before he was to be the sacrifice to Tezcatlipoca, a young, handsome prisoner was chosen to live in luxury. At the end of that year, during the fifth ritual month (Toxcatl), he climbed the steps of a temple and was sacrificed by having his heart cut out.
The Dagda was the Good God. The grotesque Irish god of immense strength and appetites, he was considered to be all-competent. He wore the humble garment of a servant, wielded an exaggeratedly huge club symbolic of his power and possessed a magic cauldron. The latter had properties of rejuvenation and inexhaustibility; no one who petitioned it went away unsatisfied. The Dagda coupled with the Morrigan at Samain (the Celtic New Year), invoking her fertility and blessing on the tribe in the coming year. This ancient ithyphallic image emphasized his fecundating function. Nearly 220 feet tall, it is incised in chalk at Cerne Abbas, England.
The Horned Lord
The Horned Lord is known as Cernunnos in Celtic mythology and as Herne the Hunter in southern England. He is the Guardian of the Beasts and of the primal forests and can appear as a fertility god as well as a god of wealth. He is the lover and consort of the Lady, and they dance a dance of partnership wherein neither dominates the other. This image was inspired by the Song of Taliesin, in which he sings I am a stag of seven tines.
The Three Sisters
In the Iroquois tradition, the life-giving forces of corn, beans, and squash were given by the Three Sisters, who were thanked daily.
Thor was called The Thunderer. The most important of the Norse gods because of his control of weather during the brief growing season, Thor corresponds to the Phoenician bull-god. His sacred groves, springs and rites were observed in Northern Europe well into the Middle Ages, and he gave his name to Thursday. He holds his hammer Mjollnir, which with his chariot Thun-ear created lightning and thunder. Of the six magical treasures created by the dwarves as part of the wager between Loki and Brokk, the Norse divinities considered Thor's hammer Mjollnir the best. Thor had a huge appetite, relished feasting and war, and was married to the earth goddess Thrud. The Celtic hammer god Succellos was Thor's equivalent among the Gauls.
Thoth was the Ibis-headed Egyptian god of the moon, time, the calendar, of wisdom, and writing. His attribute is writing materials (pen and/or parchment). Along with Anubis he presided over the second "hearing" in Ma'at (the Hall of Judgement), where the deceased soul had to answer to forty-two judges regarding his life so it could be determined what would happen to him. Thoth presided there as a baboon. (See our Egyptian section in the Cauldron for details)
Tiamat, the primordial sea-serpent of ancient Babylon, is only one of the multitudes of sea goddesses and mermaids that are found in folklore and mythology around the world. The ocean mother is also known as Mari or Mare, Meri, Mere-Ama, Amphritite, Mama Cocha, Thalassa, Sedna, Toyota-Mahime, White Shell Woman, Yemaya, Iamanja, and Stella Maris, Star of the Sea.
To the Chinese Tian Hou is the goddess of sailors. Tian Hou supposedly began as the mortal daughter of parents who fished for a living, between the 7th and 12th centuries A.D. As a young girl, Tian Hou lived on an island off the coast of southern China. She warded off typhoons and sent her spirit out to save those drowning at sea. She died at a young age with no husband or children to worship her restless spirit. Tian Hou is particularly venerated by the waterborne peoples of the southern China coast. Her annual festival is an occasion for considerable pageantry at the various temples built in her honor.
Tiki is the Polynesian creator god or first created man. In Hawaii Tiki is known as "Ki'i".
Tilitr is the god of song on Infaluk.
Tinirau is the Polynesian god of sea creatures. He is depicted as a fish-man divided down the middle, with the right side human and the left side piscine.
In Greek mythology the Titans were the 12 children of Uranus and Gaea (Heaven and Earth), and some of the children of the 12. Often called the Elder Gods, they were for many ages the supreme rulers of the universe and were of enormous size and incredibly strong. Cronus, the most important of the Titans, ruled the universe until he was dethroned by his son Zeus, who seized power for himself. The other important Titans were Oceanus, the river that flowed around the earth; Tethys, his wife; Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory; Themis, the goddess of divine justice; Hyperion, the father of the sun, the moon, and the dawn; Iapetus, the father of Prometheus, who created mortals; and Atlas, who carried the world on his shoulders. Of all the Titans only Prometheus and Oceanus sided with Zeus against Cronus. As a result, they were honored and the others were bound in Tartarus. Eventually, however, Zeus was reconciled with the Titans, and Cronus was made ruler of the Golden Age.
Tlaloc was an Aztec god who lived in a place called Tlalocan (the Aztec heaven) with his companion, Chalchiuhtlicue (also called Matlalcueye). She was the goddess of freshwater lakes and streams. Tlalocan was the place where all people who had drowned existed.
Tlaloc was the rain god, the lord of fertility, the bringer of death, and agricultural prosperity. He was shared by both the Maya and the Aztec peoples. He lived in caves high in the mountains. Tlaloc was responsible for four great jars in his keeping: one jar dispensed fertilizing rain, the other three, disease, frost, and drought. His name means "He Who Makes Things Sprout". Tlaloc was the eighth ruler of the days and the ninth lord of the nights. Obviously, Tlaloc was greatly feared because he could hurl lightning upon the earth and unleash devastating hurricanes.
Tlaloc was often pictured as a man wearing a net of clouds, a crown of heron feathers, foam sandals and carrying rattles to make thunder. The Teocalli (Great Temple) at Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, was dedicated to Tlaloc, and was painted in white and blue. Certain illnesses, such as dropsy, leprosy, and rheumatism, were said to be caused by Tlaloc.
In olden Mexico the local bishop had virtually enslaved the native Aztecs of Guadalupe (modern Mexico City) when Tonantzin appeared four times to Juan Diego in December, 1510. (Just 10 years after the damned conquistadores had destroyed the indigenous culture). Despite the winter cold, flowers miraculously bloomed at her feet. Speaking in his Nahautl dialect Tonantzin told Juan to direct the bishop to desist, and to carry him the out-of-season blooms in his serape as proof of her presence. When he unwrapped the flowers, this image of the goddess was imprinted on the white garment. Today the imprint is enshrined, and millions venerate the dark Aztec goddess Tonantzin as the "Virgin of Guadalupe".
Toru is the Polynesian god of the chasms of the deep.
Tsetse is the Boshongo goddess of lightning. She brought fire which can be helpful, but also disastrous.
Tsuki-Yomi is the Japanese Moon Goddess.
Tu is the Polynesian god of war. In Hawaiian mythology he is known as "Ku".
Tuna is the Polynesian eel-lover of Hina. It is said that from his severed head sprang the coconut palm.
Tyr was the "Giver of Victory". He was Odin's second son, and the bravest of the gods. Our Tuesday is named for Tyr, who fought only wars of justice. Tyr sacrificed a hand defeating and chaining Fenrir, the great Wolf of Chaos, when he threatened Asgaard. This piece depicts the god with battle-ax, and replicates a bronze original dated circa 200 B.C.E., from Zealand in Denmark.