For today’s post, I have decided to briefly look at 13 Goddesses from around the world who have a Death aspect!
~This is the Goddess of the Sumerian Underworld. She is known as the Judge of the Great Below, whose job it is to determine who is to go where after death. Similarly to Aphrodite having evolved from Inanna, I believe Persephone could have evolved from Ereshkigal! We know both Aphrodite and Persephone are primordial Goddesses, and Inanna was Ereshkigal’s sister.
~Lilith is often said to have been the first wife of Adam in Abrahamic religions. When she refused to be on the bottom during sex, she was cast out of Eden. After that, it is said she became a monstrous woman who fed on the blood of babies. Modern polytheistic worshippers have done a lot to undo the negative connotations of Lilith. She is a powerful female deity who is forever linked in some way to death, though.
~This lion-headed Egyptian Goddess is sometimes seen as a fiercer reflex of the cat Goddess Bastet. This is a misconception, as she was truly more of a wrathful version of Hathor! She was the “Eye of Ra” and often meted out punishment in his name.
~She is the great destroyer in the Hindu faith. This Goddess is often seen with the heads and hands of fallen enemies decorating her body! She is a very powerful deity and is sometimes viewed as possibly vampiric, much like Lilith, forever linking her with death and warfare.
~Although Freya is a Goddess of Love and Beauty, she is also one of War and Death. She has her own hall in the Norse afterlife and is sometimes said to be the leader of the Valkyries. This intimately links her to the realms of the dead.
~It was Hel who ruled over the masses of Norse dead that did not die a warrior’s death. She was the Goddess of the Underworld in this pantheon, as well as the daughter of the trickster-god Loki.
~The monstrous gaze of this gorgon turned many a man to stone, ending his life. It is for this reason that she is oft viewed as a Goddess of the Dead.
~Persephone was the supreme Dead Goddess of Greece, as she was the Queen of the Underworld. Her role also made her a caretaker of the souls of the deceased!
~Although she is the ultimate Goddess of Love, she also had a war aspect, known as Aphrodite Areia. It was in this aspect that we see her connection with death, for any Goddess involved in war, has a death link.
~The Celtic Goddess of Winter is also one of the Dead. This link is because she presided over the dying time of the Dark Half of the Year.
~Rhiannon had three birds with the ability to raise the dead and lull the living to sleep. It is through these birds, the Adar Rhiannon, that she shows us her Death aspect. She is able to control the border between the world of the living and the dead. She is also a Faery Queen, and the Otherworld of Faery is also a land of the dead.
12. The Morrighan
~This Irish Goddess of War is also known as the Queen of the Banshees. This means that she had dominion over who lived and died during any battle, forever linking her to those slain in battle!
13. Morgan le Fay
~Finally, I have to mention my favorite Goddess, Morgan le Fay. She is both a Witch Goddess and a Death Goddess, as she acts as a psychopomp to help souls transition. It is this Doula of Death aspect that sees her collecting Arthur after Camlann. It is also this aspect that links her to other psychopomps, like Persephone, who could travel between the worlds of living and dead. She is also, like Rhiannon, a Faery Queen linked to the Celtic Otherworld and Faeryland of Avalon, which is a land of the dead as well!
~I hope you have enjoyed learning a little about these thirteen badass Death Goddesses. Who is your favorite Deity of Death? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
- Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realms by Frances Billingshurst
- By Blood, Bone, and Blade: A Tribute to the Morrigan by Bibliotheca Alexandrina
- Blood and Roses: A Devotional for Aphrodite and Venus by Bibliotheca Alexandrina
- Fire Jewel: A Devotional for Freyja compiled by Gefion Vanirdottir
- Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons by Jhenah Telyndru