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The Lord and Lady. The Horned God and the Triple Goddess. Cernunnos and Diana. You may have heard of these names, all of which represent the Wiccan Goddess and the God. But who are these two important deities?
The Goddess and God are Wiccan deities which embody gender polarity: the equal but opposing feminine and masculine universal energies. They are standalone deities in Wicca, but are represented, either in whole or in part, by a host of pagan deities like Cernunnos, The Triple Goddess, and others.
The Goddess and God are central figures to Wicca. Let’s learn about who they are, their history, why there are two of them, why they are important, in which forms they are represented, and more!
Two Deities: The Wiccan Goddess and God
Even for those unfamiliar with the Goddess and the God, it’s often well-known that Wicca does have both a female and a male deity. This is often what attracts people to Wicca in the first place.
Unlike mainstream religions, Wicca represents both the feminine and masculine forces equally.
Contrast this to Christianity. It has only one God who is referred to as a He. The Christian God is a Father, he is paternalistic, and he is unabashedly masculine.
Wicca embraces the notion of gender polarity, sometimes called energy polarity. This is the idea that there are equal but opposing forces at play in our Universe. Both forces are equally powerful and equally required to maintain balance in the universe.
Creation and destruction. Birth and death. Hard and soft. Analytical and creative. Yin and yang.
This notion of gender polarity is precisely what the Wiccan Goddess and God represent. We cannot exist in an unbalanced universe– these coequal forces must both exist.
What About Other Pagan Deities?
So… does that mean Wiccans just believe in two deities, and no others? What about all of the other myriad deities in the pagan pantheons?
Well, the answer varies from one Wiccan to another.
Some Wiccans view the Goddess and God as archetypes of the various deities from other pagan pantheons. This basically means that throughout history in pagan religions, deities with the same traits and strengths keep popping up. Whether it be ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, or any other pre-Christian religion, you will find similar deities between the societies. And so the Goddess and God are just representations of these common archetypes.
Another view is that the Goddess and God encompass all of the respective female and male energies. And so they also encompass all of the other feminine and masculine deities. This means that by worshipping Diana, you are actually worshipping a facet of the Goddess. Or by worshipping Pan, you are worshipping a part of the God. And so on.
Yet another view is more of a pure polytheistic view. That each and every deity stands alone, of which the Goddess and God are two of them.
As you can see, each and every Wiccan can envision their own relationship with the Goddess and the God. For a more in-depth discussion on the theism of Wicca, see our comprehensive guide on Wiccan beliefs.
Significance of the Wiccan Goddess and God
The Goddess and the God represent the totality of the forces throughout the Universe. Whether a particular Wiccan is polytheistic or not, the deities are still archetypes for all that we hold sacred.
The Goddess and God permeate nearly every Wiccan activity in one way or another, whether directly or indirectly.
How to Connect With Them
Because of their significance, it is common (but certainly not required) to honor both deities at any ritual, while performing spellwork, or during any other activity conducted at one’s altar.
Wiccans might conduct daily devotions to these deities, such as leaving offerings or performing a small meditation. They might place a small idol to each deity on their altar, or, they might light candles to represent each deity.
The deities can be represented by including certain altar tools. The Goddess can be represented by what are known as receptive symbols. Hint: Think of the natural dynamics of reproduction 😉 You can represent her with a chalice, a cauldron, or any other receptive item. She can also be represented by natural items of growth and rebirth like flowers. If lighting candles, represent the Goddess with colors like white, silver, green.
The God, on the other hand, can be represented by projective symbols. These include an athame, a wand, a sword, and other projective items from nature like branches or antlers. To light candles for the God, use sun colors like gold, yellow, or red.
And now, let’s learn some fascinating aspects of the deities themselves.
The Goddess is multi-faceted and endlessly complex. She is the Goddess of the Earth, Goddess of the Moon, and represents all that is feminine.
As Goddess of the Earth, she embodies everything related to the Element of Earth, planting and harvesting, and the passing of time.
Connected intimately with the Earth, she provides a grounding and centering energy. Like the soil of the earth, we can metaphorically plant ourselves into her domain to grow and bloom. She provides a solid base and nurturing care for us to manifest change.
Similarly, as she brings about energetic growth, she also brings natural growth. We look to her for all things with the harvest cycle. Sowing fields and planting seeds, allowing crops to grow, and the bountiful harvest, and even the eventual death of crops in the winter months.
Just like the harvest cycle which repeats yearly, she keeps the Wheel of the Year turning, bringing the natural cycle of creation to us year over year.
As Earth Mother, you can find similar traits in the Greek goddess Gaia, along with her Roman counterpart, Terra.
Another aspect of the Wiccan Goddess is Moon Goddess. She is associated with the element of Water. This might seem surprising, but when you think about the moon’s effects on the water (tides), the connection actually becomes quite obvious!
Associated with Water, she controls the tides and other watery aspects like intuition, emotion, and mystery. Wiccans look to her to answer emotional questions, or to gain intuitive wisdom into their lives.
As a complement to her divine feminine embodiment, she rules over the reproductive cycle of women. The monthly reproductive cycle ebbs and flows right along with the moon. And in the larger scale, we look to her all all stages of a woman’s life– youth, motherhood, and elderly.
The Triple Goddess represents this last aspect. She is a three-form deity which embodies these three phases of a woman’s life:
- The Maiden- youth and virginity, associated with the waxing moon phase
- The Mother- reproductive years, associated with the full moon phase
- The Crone- wise old age, associated with the waning moon phase
As Moon Goddess and representing the divine feminine, the Goddess is reflected in the Greek goddess Hecate, the Roman goddess Diana, the Irish goddess Brigid, and the Celtic goddess Cerridwen.
As the masculine half of the all-encompassing life force, the God is usually represented in two different associations.
The Horned God
The Horned God archetype is often referred to as the God of the Hunt. Here, the God is father and patron of all things related to wild animals, the flock, and the hunt. He provides balance between sustenance and preservation– hunting, respect, and conservation.
The Horned God is often associated with fertility as well. In this role, he represents masculine strength, passion, and virility. His energy is the impetus which allows nature to procreate each year.
You’ll find the God of the Hunt is often depicted as a wild stag or goat, appearing with two antlers or two horns. You will find similar depictions and traits in the Greek god Pan, the Roman god Faunus, the Celtic god Cernunnos, and the English ghost Herne the Hunter.
Some Wiccans represent the Horned God as the Green Man, a deity that has existed in numerous pagan religions across many countries for thousands of years. The Green Man is a symbol of the yearly rebirth and regrowth of flora. He is often depicted as a face or head covered by or growing foliage.
The Sun God
As God of the Sun, the Wiccan God embodies the projective sun and its bright light. As a male energy, sunlight allows for the growth of every life form on Earth– both plants and animals.
The Sun God is a key figure in the Wheel of the Year as well. Just like the sun’s waning and waxing throughout the year, the Sun God transforms along with it.
During the autumn months, as the sun is waning and bringing the darkest days of the year, the Sun God dies. We live without him until he is reborn by the Goddess when the sun reappears in the spring.
As the sun strengthens throughout the spring and summer, so does the Sun God. And then again in the fall, he dies again, to continue the cycle in perpetuity.
You can find the Sun God in the Egyptian god Ra, the Greek and Roman god Apollo, and the Celtic god Lugh.
The Oak King and Holly King
These two archetypes are sometimes associated with the Wiccan God. These figures are two rulers of the year, who exchange rulership in fiery battles at the solstices.
Thank you for joining us to learn about the Wiccan Goddess and God! To continue learning about Wiccan beliefs and deities, click below!