Wicca is a polytheistic religion, though the form of that polytheism can vary from individual to individual. This means that they worship and work with multiple gods and goddesses.
While Wicca is a relatively new religion, Wiccan deities draw from cultures and religious practices that are far older.
When Gerald Gardner first wrote about Wicca in the 1950s, he believed that there were two genders that operated in a kind of sacred balance. (This idea is the source of old grimoires that refer to herbs and crystals as masculine or feminine.)
This dualistic concept led to the idea of the Goddess and the God. This duality is also seen in many old religions. Early agrarian societies paid a lot of attention to reproduction — of their crops, their animals, and themselves — hence the emphasis on male and female deities as representations of reproductive sex, growth, and the natural world.
While the average modern Wiccan is more likely to work in an office than by breeding sheep, many still uphold these old traditional beliefs.
Today, Wiccans generally fall into one of three camps when it comes to conceptualizing deities:
- Some Wiccans believe that there is a single, all-encompassing, genderless deity from which all gods and goddesses spring. Imagine a die. It’s one object, but every face has a different number. What number you see depends on where you look.
- Others believe that there are two halves of the divine, a God and Goddess. All other deities are facets of this God and Goddess. This is the closest to Gardner’s original idea.
- Still other Wiccans believe that there are multiple deities, and all of them exist as discrete individuals.
Specifically Wiccan Deities
Here are some of the gods and goddesses worshipped in various schools of Wicca:
The Goddess is the supreme divine feminine in duotheistic Wicca. She doesn’t come from a particular culture, and is associated with Earth, the Moon, Venus, intuition, receptivity, nurturing, and feminine power. She is sometimes referred to as The Lady. The High Priestess of some covens may take on the role of The Lady in ritual.
The God is the masculine principle. Like the Goddess, he doesn’t come from a specific culture. He’s associated with the Sun, Mars, projection, logic, vigor, protection, and masculine power. He is sometimes referred to as The Lord. The High Priest of some covens may take on the role of The Lord in ritual.
The Horned God
The Horned God is a nature deity, named for his antlers. He represents all aspects of nature, from the peace of the forest to the necessity of death so life may continue. He’s associated with the wild world and death. Some Wiccans call him Cernunnos, particularly those who worship a Celtic pantheon.
The Triple Goddess
The Triple Goddess is either one goddess that moves through three distinct phases, or three goddesses that represent these phases. She represents the cycles of the natural world, from planting, growing, and harvesting, to the moon’s waxing, fullness, and waning, to women’s lives as maidens, mothers, and crones.
Gerald Gardner didn’t include her as one of the Wiccan deities, so she only rose to prominence in the 1970s.
Aspects of the Triple Goddess
The Triple Goddess, as her name implies, has three aspects:
- The Maiden symbolizes youth, sexuality, beginnings, the planting cycle, spring, and the waxing moon. She stands for creativity, potential, and newness in all of its forms.
- The Mother symbolizes maturity, fertility, the growing cycle, summer, and the full moon. She stands for the creation of life, the fullness of growth, and the height of divine feminine power.
- The Crone symbolizes age, wisdom, endings, death, the harvest cycle, autumn and winter, and the waning moon. She stands for the ending of life, protection, and spiritual guidance.
All of these are worshipped in turn, when the time is right. For example, a ritual to look for or celebrate a new relationship or job might call on The Maiden aspect of the goddess. A spell for fertility might call on The Mother instead. A ritual for protection might call on The Crone.
Ancient Deities Found in Wicca
Some Wiccans favor specific cultural aspects of the God and/or Goddess. They may be drawn to a specific pantheon, like the Greek, Egyptian, or Celtic, or choose from multiple cultures.
Here are some of the ancient gods and goddesses commonly worshipped as Wiccan deities:
Symbols: The moon, bows, hounds, deer, water
Colors: Silver, white, black, deep indigo
Incense: Rose, lemon, sandalwood, lunar-associated flowers
Offerings: White wine, milk, potatoes, coconut, eggs, cucumber, broccoli, butter, blueberry
Diana is the Roman form of Artemis. She’s a lunar goddess, and is a deity of nature, the woods, hunting, and wild animals.
Diana covers all three aspects of the Triple Goddess. She wished to remain a maiden, in the company of maidens, and never, ever have to marry, so she’s sometimes worshipped as The Maiden. She’s also a goddess of children and healing, making her The Mother. As a huntress, she’s associated with the underworld, death, and The Crone.
Symbols: The crossroads, aconite, ravens, owls, snakes, yew trees
Offerings: Red mullet, bread, cheese, raw garlic, honey
Hecate is an enigma. Her origins are disputed — some legends hold that she’s one of the surviving Titans, others call her one of the Furies, and still others say she’s the daughter of Nyx, the Goddess of the Night. She may have been imported to Greece via Egypt, as an aspect of the Egyptian midwife goddess Heket.
Hecate is a goddess of abundance, eloquence, and witchcraft. She’s often depicted as part of a Triple Goddess with Persephone and Demeter.
Traditionally, Hecate was The Maiden, Persephone was The Mother, and Demeter was The Crone.
In modern depictions, this is reversed. Persephone is The Maiden, Demeter The Mother, and Hecate The Crone. Hecate acts as a guide for Persephone to and from the underworld.
Offerings to Hecate should be left at a crossroads. After setting them down, the offeror should leave without turning back.
Symbols: Dolphins, doves, hand mirrors, apples, roses, myrtle, lime, swans
Offerings: Flowers, honey, perfume
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, desire, and sex. She’s also a sea goddess, and is responsible for starting the Trojan war by encouraging Paris and Helen to have an affair.
Though she was married to Hephaestus, the God of Invention, she took Ares, the God of War, as a lover. She has no children by Hephaestus, but gave birth to Ares’ children Deimos, Phobos, Harmonia, Himeros, Anteros, and possibly Eros, and bore many other children to gods and mortals alike.
Symbols: Forests, springs, streams, quails, deer, bears, boars, hounds
Colors: Silver, white
Offerings: Honey cakes, bird seeds, food for wild animals
Artemis is the Greek counterpart to the Roman Diana. She is also a lunar goddess, associated with hunting, the moon, and the forest. She favors women and can be unforgiving toward men — one story tells of a hapless hunter who caught a glimpse of her bathing with her nymphs.
In revenge, the goddess turned him into a stag, and he was devoured by his own dogs. Though a virgin goddess, she was often called upon for help by women in labor.
Symbols: A nursing mother, snakes, cows, crocodiles
Colors: White, silver
Offerings: Milk, honey, candles, incense, flowers
Isis is one of the best-known and widely worshipped goddesses in the world. (Some scholars even attribute the Catholic worship of Mary to Isis!) She is the daughter of the Heavens and the Earth, and she can raise the dead, heal the sick, and bestow fertility.
She is the protectress and patroness of everyone, alive or dead. She is the Moon Goddess who gave birth to the Sun God, Horus. When Set killed her husband, Osiris, Isis sought out his body, created the embalming ritual, and brought him back to life.
This goddess is so powerful and so widely admired, she is one of the most popular Wiccan deities. Even covens who don’t otherwise worship the Egyptian pantheon often make an exception for Isis.
Symbols: Boars, cows, fish, sheep, blackberries, Brigit’s cross, flame
Incense: Dill, rosemary
Offerings: Poetry, spring flowers, milk
Brigid is a daughter of The Dagda. She was born at sunrise and, as she entered the world, a column of flame erupted from her head and reached the heavens.
She is a goddess of fire, smithcraft, poetry, and inspiration. Brigid is also associated with sacred wells — there are multiple sacred wells and springs where worshippers used to cast offerings to her.
Traditionally, she had a shrine at Kildare with a sacred fire tended by nineteen priestesses. Each of these priestesses would tend the flame on a given day. On the twentieth day, the Goddess would tend the flame herself.
As Catholicism swept across Ireland, driving out the native traditions, Brigid became Saint Brigit, her shrine became an abbey, and her priestesses became nuns.
Brigid is often regarded as a triple goddess. One aspect is associated with poetry and bardic inspiration, one with the healing arts, and one with smithies, the hearth, and metalwork.
Imbolc, which falls on February 1st or 2nd, is sacred to Brigid. This is the holiday that celebrates the beginning of the lambing season.
Symbols: Ravens, crows, skulls
Colors: Red, black
Offerings: Blood, red ribbon, offerings to corvids
Morrigan, or The Morrigan, is an Irish triple goddess of battle, sexuality, fertility, death, and witchcraft. She is a shapeshifter, a healer, and a powerful sorceress. Her Maiden aspect is named Macha, her mother aspect is Badb, and her Crone aspect is Nemain.
She is said to choose who will die in battle. If a man sees an old woman washing clothes in a stream on his way to the battlefield, he should take a closer look. If she’s washing blood out of the clothes, and the clothes look like his, he will die that day. Her association with death in battle is so strong, the decapitated heads of the enemy were called “Macha’s acorn crop.”
In Wicca, The Morrigan is invoked for protection and battle magic. While offensive magic is considered taboo according to the Wiccan Rede, she is still called upon in spells for shapeshifting, healing injuries, and defense.
Symbols: Cats, sistrum (a percussion instrument),
Colors: Gold, turquoise, red, silver
Incense: Cinnamon, myrrh, lavender, catnip
Offerings: Catnip, fish, milk, candles
Bastet, also called Pasch, Bast, Ubaste, Baset, or Baast, is a cat-headed Egyptian deity. She is the protectress of the pharaoh, and goddess of cats, enlightenment, the home, dawn, and truth.
As a Wiccan deity, she’s often invoked by witches in rituals for physical pleasure, sensuality, and playful energy. She is also associated with the Greek Artemis and Roman Diana.
Symbols: Cauldron, white sows
Colors: Silver, purple, green, black, gray
Incense: Mugwort, patchouli, sandalwood, sage
Offerings: Acorns, grain, vervain leaves
Cerridwen represents the Mother and Crone aspects of the goddess. She is a seer, and the keeper of a cauldron full of the brew of inspiration and knowledge.
In Welsh legend, she is making this brew to give to her son, Morfran. Since the brew needs to steep for a year and a day, she puts a young boy named Gwion in charge of watching it. While it boils, it spatters three drops onto his hand. This grants him secret knowledge that wasn’t meant for him, and he runs away.
Cerridwen chases him, engaging in a shapeshifter’s duel. The duel ends when Cerridwen, disguised as a hen, swallows Gwion, disguised as corn, and later gives birth to Taliesin, a great Welsh poet who was later associated with Merlin in Arthurian legend.
In other Celtic lore, Cerridwen’s cauldron is capable of resurrecting the dead. For these reasons, Carridwen is associated with wisdom, prophesy, knowledge, witchcraft, transformation, death, and rebirth.
Symbols: Atef crown, crook and flail, fish, gauze, ostrich feathers
Colors: Green, gold
Offerings: Food, flowers, incense
Osiris is Isis’ brother and husband. He is the God of the Dead, ruler of the Underworld, lord of resurrection, and the first body ever to be embalmed.
In artistic depictions, he’s usually shown with an embalmed lower half, and a green-skinned upper half. The color green is symbolic of rebirth, cementing his image as the deity of resurrection. He is also associated with agriculture, vegetation, and fertility.
The Underworld God Set was very envious of Osiris. As the God of the dead, Set wanted to rule over Osiris’ kingdom in the world of the living, as well. He created a beautiful, richly-adorned chest made especially to Osiris’ measurements, and, during a party, proposed a game: Whoever could fit in the chest could have it.
Everyone took a turn, but only Osiris fit. As soon as he lay down in the chest, Set closed it tight, sealed it with lead, and cast it into the Nile river.
The grieving Isis searched for her husband’s coffin. Knowing Isis’ power, Set stole Osiris’ body and cut it into thirteen pieces. The Goddess was able to find all but one of these pieces — her husband’s penis was still missing. (In some legends, she makes him a new one out of gold. In others, she does not.)
With his body reassembled, Isis resurrected him with Anubis’ help. Since a dead pharaoh could not rule over the land of the living, Osiris became the God of the Dead instead.
As a Wiccan deity, he is worshipped as the God to Isis’ Goddess.
Symbols: Eye of Horus (wadjet), falcons
Colors: Royal blue
Offerings: Hawk images, food, flowers, incense
Horus is the son of Osiris and Isis, conceived after his mother reassembled his father’s body. In some legends, Isis conceived him with the golden penis she crafted for Osiris. In others, she made him by turning into a bird and flying around her husband.
He is the god of the sky, war, sovereignty, and protection. In ancient Egypt, the pharaoh was considered Horus’ living incarnation.
Set killed Horus’ father out of envy, and Isis knew that he would try to kill her son, too. She told Horus to protect Egypt, the kingdom of the living, from Set’s fury. During one of their many battles, Horus lost an eye to Set. When the eye was recovered, he offered it to Osiris to help resurrect him. In artwork, Horus is depicted as a man with the head of a falcon.
Symbols: Ibises, baboons,
Offerings: Lunar images, ibis feathers, baboon images, papyrus, flowers, food, incense
Thoth is one of the oldest Egyptian gods — old enough that he is said to have given birth to the sun. He was created at the beginning of all things, and, in the form of an ibis, laid an egg from which hatched the sun god Ra.
He is the scribe of the underworld, and writer of the Book of the Dead. Thoth is credited with inventing medicine, the tarot, traditions, magic, and writing.
Symbols: Goats, pan pipes
Colors: Brown, green, purple
Offerings: Wine, honey cakes
Pan is the deity of wildness, music, nature, fertility, goats, shepherds, and hunters. He is depicted with a goat’s hind legs and horns, to emphasize his wild, uncivilized nature and rampant virility. From his name we get the words “panic” and “pandemonium,” and the pan flute.
He is strongly associated with sex and lust. His depictions often feature large, erect genitalia. In Wicca, he is one of the representations of The Horned God.
Symbols: The world
Colors: Blue, green, brown
Offerings: Seeds, fresh water, bread, flowers
Gaia is the Greek deity of the Earth. She represents the world, fertility, nature, and primal life energy. It is said that she emerged from Chaos at the beginning of all things, and soon gave birth to the sea, sky, and mountains. Then, with Uranus, she birthed the Titans — the mothers and fathers of the Greek gods and goddesses.
In Wicca, Gaia is variously worshipped as a nurturing mother figure, and the deep, primordial force that both births all life, and welcomes the dead back into her soil.
Symbols: Apples, roses, myrtle, hand mirrors, dolphins, swans
Incense: Lavender, rose, passion flower,
Offerings: Wine, flowers, honey, perfume
Venus is the Roman aspect of Aphrodite. As such, she is the Roman goddess of love, sex, beauty, prosperity, and victory. She is also the ancestor of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas.
Venus was originally associated with gardens and agriculture, and was only later tied to the Greek goddess.
In Virgil’s Aeneid, Aeneas is led to Latium by his mother in her guise as the planet Venus.
Symbols: Club, harp, cauldron,
Colors: Green, brown, gold
Offerings: Oat bannocks, porridge, butter, ale, fresh vegetables, home cooked food
The Dagda is the father god of the Irish pantheon. He’s associated with Druidry, magic, wisdom, warriors, agriculture, and the weather.
His name means “the good god,” and he carries a club called the lorg mór capable of both killing and resurrection. In addition to this club, he also possessed a large cauldron that never empties with a ladle large enough to hold two men.
Above all, the Dagda is a deity of abundance. He teaches magic and bestows wisdom to anyone willing to learn, feeds the hungry, and acts as a deific father figure. It’s believed that the giant chalk figure at Cerne Abbas, Dorsetshire, is an illustration of him.
Symbols: Leopards, panthers, mules, donkeys, large phalluses, grapes, vines
Colors: Green, purple
Offerings: Grapes, wine
Dionysus and Bacchus, like many Greek and Roman deities, are two names for the same god. He is the deity of fertility and wine, and a patron of the arts.
He taught mankind to grow grapes and ferment them into wine, and, like wine, his personality has two sides: He could bring joy or anger, a party or a riot. Because of wine’s potential to stir strong emotions, he is also a deity of wildness, virility, intoxication, madness, and frenzy.
Zeus gave birth to Dionysus in a roundabout fashion. As was his wont, the lustful God fell head over heels for a mortal woman named Semele. When Semele became pregnant, Hera tricked her into looking upon Zeus in all of his deific glory, killing her instantly. Zeus managed to save Dionysus by sewing the unborn baby into the skin of his calf, keeping him there until he was ready to be born.
Dionysus presided over a group of women called Maenads. They led his ecstatic rites, full of wine, danced themselves into trances, and performed rites called “orgeias,” from which we get the word “orgy.”
Symbols: The moon, horses, horseshoes, gates
Colors: White, silver, red, gray, green, gold, black
Incense: Lavender, geranium, sandalwood, neroli
Offerings: White flowers, music
Rhiannon is a goddess of fertility, rebirth, magic, wisdom, transformation, poetry, inspiration, truth, and justice. She was married to Pwyll, Lord of Dyfed, and gave birth to a fine son named Pryderi.
One night, while Rhiannon was sleeping, Pryderi’s nursemaids noticed the baby missing. Fearing what might happen to them for losing him, they smeared dog’s blood on Rhiannon’s hands and face, woke her up, and accused her of killing and eating her son in her sleep.
As punishment, Rhiannon was made to spend seven years wearing a saddle on her back, and carrying all guests to and from the castle while confessing her crime.
Pryderi was alive, however. He was found by a man named Teyrnon, and he and his wife adopted him. As the boy grew and began to resembe Pwyll, Teyrnon realized he should be returned to his parents. Once he was, Rhiannon and Pwyll were overjoyed, and the queen was restored to her rightful place.
Symbols: A snake with ram’s horns, an antlered man, gold coins
Colors: Brown, green, gold
Offerings: Water, wine, ale, acorns, seeds, flowers
Among Wiccan deities, Cernunnos is one of the oldest and least documented. He is the Horned God, depicted as a man with a set of antlers, a torc, and a bag of coins. He’s always shown surrounded by animals, usually in a sitting or meditative pose. The torc is a symbol of nobility, the coins symbolize wealth and abundance, and the horns portray wild virility.
It’s hard to pin down his origins. Celtic cultures relied heavily on oral traditions, so there is a lack of literature about him. Most information surrounding this virile god come from interpretations of old carvings and artistic depictions, as well as similar depictions found in other cultures.
The name “Cernunnos” comes from one particular piece of writing inscribed on the Pillar of the Boatmen, a piece of Gallo-Roman art in modern day Paris. The etymology isn’t clear, but seems to come from an early Celtic word for “horn.”
In Wicca, witches are free to worship whom and how they wish. Some favor a soft polytheistic approach, viewing all deities as masks worn by a single divinity, while others worship two or more gods and goddesses. Some stick to a single cultural pantheon, while others pay homage to whichever deities call to them.
These are only a few of the gods and goddesses found in Wiccan covens — there are an endless variety of beautiful, powerful figures out there to guide your practice.