Webs of Woven Words, Threads, Stitches and Enchantments

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sun Goddesses For The Winter Solstice

If, like me, your spiritual practice is very goddess oriented, perhaps all the solstice/sun child focus just doesn't resonate. May I suggest celebrating the goddesses of the sun, those who banish the darkness? Celebrate them all or choose one. 

Here is a list, by no means complete, but it will get you started. Some goddesses have very little information other than that they were sun goddesses. Notice that many attributes/themes are shared by these goddess: for example, spinning, driving the sun across the sky, banishing darkness.  

Saule (pronounced Sew-lay) - The greatest goddess of the Baltic peoples—the Lithuanians and Latvians—is the shining sun, the sky weaver, the amber goddess. She rules all parts of life, from birth, into her light, to death, when she welcomes souls into her apple tree in the west.  Saule is worshipped each day when her people bow to the east to greet Mother Sun. Saule loves all people and shines on all equally and unconditionally.  The sun is represented as a jug of golden light from which Saule pours her warm light and blessings onto all.  It is also a golden thread which Saule spins on her spinning wheel.  Her love for humanity is likened to that of a mother.  She is a compassionate goddess who cares for orphans and other lost or forgotten individuals.  Good women are often compared to Her.  In Saule's shining presence, people feel safe to go about their businesses and tasks, but once She leaves the skies, certain work must end.   All spheres of traditional women's work are under her guardianship, including laundering and spinning. (from A Kitchen Witch's Book of Shadows)

Alectrona/Alectrone: (Greek) Sun goddess. Alectrona was called Daughter of the Sun. Her center of worship was at Rhodes. Invoke Alectrona for solar magic and banishing darkness.
 Aega: (Greek) Sun goddess. Aega's title was Daughter of the Sun. She was so beautiful that Gaia hid her in a cave while the Titans were assaulting Olympus. Aega forms a triple with her sisters, Circe and Pasiphaë. Invoke her for beauty spells, solar magic, and safeguarding beautiful things.
Amaterasu Omikami: Sun/rising sun/East (Japanese) Sun goddess. Amaterasu, Heaven-Radiant Great Divinity, is the chief deity of Shintoism and the protector of the Japanese people. Also called The Heaven Shining, and Great Shining Heaven, she is the ruler of all deities. Her symbols are the rising sun and a mirror, which is placed centrally in her simple shrines. Amaterasu brought winter to the world when she hid in a cave because she was angry with the outrageously destructive behavior of her brother, the storm god. The gods and goddesses despaired as the world grew dark and cold. Finally the goddess of joy performed a bawdy dance which brought such applause that Amaterasu cracked open the door of the cave to see what was happening. The other deities had a mirror ready, and the gorgeous sight of her own reflection drew Amaterasu forth. She once again assumed her proper place in the heavens, cast her brother out, and had all his nails pulled out (yikes!). Amaterasu is depicted jeweled. December 2 is her feast day. Invoke Amaterasu for fertility, protection, solar magic, and cultural unity.

Hebat/Hepat/Hepit/Hepatu: (earth mother) Sun/Earth (Hurrian, Hittite) Sun goddess; Earth Mother. (Comparable to HEPAT) Hebat, Great Goddess of the Sun, was also called Mighty Mother of the Gods, and Sovereign of Heaven and Earth. She is the wife of Teshub, and the mother of Sharruma. The lion is her sacred animal. In a myth of Hebat that survived, she was forced from her temple by a giant, and lost communication with the other gods for a time. Hebat is best invoked in high watchtowers for earth magic, solar magic, banishing darkness, and reestablishing communication.

Mor: Sun/Water (Celtic: Irish) Dark Goddess of death and rebirth; sea goddess; Sun goddess.
Mor, Queen of the Island of Woman, is associated with Corco Duibne, Ireland. Her symbol is a throne. Invoke Mor while the sun is setting, for sea spells, rebirth, and solar magic. Her power over rebirth makes Her an appropriate goddess to honor at the Winter Solstice, a time brimming with the energies of rebirth.
 Perchta/Percha/Perchte: (Faery) Sun  (Germanic) White Goddess; elf goddess. Perchta, the Elf Woman, is a sun goddess whose titles include Shining One and Bride of the Sun. She has long white hair, and wears a white cloak. Perchta can be seen moving through fields, like mist. She is the the matron of spinning, and cannot tolerate laziness or wastefulness. Perchta punishes lazy and the wasteful people by scratching their faces, or by scratching their stomachs open (again, yikes!). The last day of Yule is sacred to Perchta. Pancakes are traditionally made in her honor then, and the remains of the meal left as an offering to her. It is said that anyone who tries to spy on Perchta when she comes for her offering will go blind that year. Invoke Perchta for fertility, spinning, knot magic, and the fertility of cattle and sheep.
Sol: Sun (Norse) Sun goddess. (Comparable to SUNNA)Sol drives her chariot, which carries the sun, across the sky each day. She is the charioteer who drives the sun across the sky.  She is Mundilfari's daughter, and Mani's sister. Invoke Sol for solar magic and banishing darkness.

Xatel-Ekwa: Sun (Hungarian) Sun goddess. Xatel-Ekwa has three horses, which she rides simultaneously across the sky each day. Invoke her for solar magic, equestrian skills, and banishing darkness.

Helia: Greek, Sun Goddess, Daughter of Helios. Invoke Her for banishing darkness, bringing the light.

Aimah: Celtic Sun Goddess. Invoke Her for banishing darkness and bringing light.

Danu: Celtic Mother of the Gods, Ancestress of the Tuatha de Danaan; Invoke Her for overcoming darkness.

Frigga: Scandinavian, North Teuton, Norse, Germanic; Sun & Day. She spun golden threads of Sun. 

Grainne: Celtic Sun & Day; the sun overcoming the moon.

Ashirat: Mesopotamia, Akkad, Ugarit, Sun & Day; A sun goddess worshiped by the people of Ugarit; she was Venus, the evening star to the Akkadians.

Shapash: Canaan, Palestine, Syria, Arabia, Ugarit, Hittite: Sun & Day: "Torch of the Gods."

Holda/Frau Holle: Holda appears chiefly in the winter, around Yuletime (winter solstice). In Germany and Holland it was and still is a common saying that if the snow falls, Frau Holle (Vrouw Holle) shakes her feather bed (or feather pillows). As a weather-goddess she can also bring fog. The most notable version of the voyage of Holda is that during the twelve days following "Christmas," She travels the countryside in her wagon with her host, unrecognised, bestowing gifts to those who have been generous and punishing those who have been greedy or lazy. Variations have Her flying over fields promoting fertility to the crops. The last of the twelve days was apparently sacred to Huldra. This Goddess, under her various names, was
also commonly associated with Witches by Christian writers in Mediaeval Germany. Huldra in particular was considered to fly about with Witches on brooms, and often was identified with Diana in this respect. Other accounts describe her host as specifically including the spirits of un-baptised  children: could these be the forerunners of Santa's elves? (copyright Wyrd 1996)

I remember reading, some time ago, and have never been able to find the information or confirmation of this lore, that the ancients who worshipped Asherah brought a tree into their homes and decorated it to honor Her. When they did this is lost to my memory, but it is another way to honor Goddess at the Winter Solstice.

As you can see, there are many goddesses to include in your Winter Solstice celebrations for banishing the dark and celebrating the return of light, the growing Sun and the waxing of the year.

Blessings nine!


  1. Wow, such great information. I do not abide by the newborn son mythology either - preferring to honor the sun's return at Yule. In my practice I honor both god/goddess - for most of the year the god rules in his realm in the underworld. The Goddesses I honor from Samhain to Imbolc are the darker/crone goddesses, who are also associated with the underworld and during spring and summer I honor more earth goddesses. And so at Yule I honor Frau Holle. It's interesting - I believe that Percha is a form of Frau Holle or another name for her as they have the same attributes and since they rule the weather they are sky(sun) goddesses! I have never heard of Percha being associated with the faeries though - So interesting. Thank you for posting this!

  2. Thank you for your comments. I'm glad you found this of interest.
    Yes, I believe Percha is a form of Frau Holle - one of Her may names. I gather info from various places, usually I am very careful about keeping sources, but this info is from notes I made, so I'm not sure where the reference to faery came from. If I find the reference, I'll post it.
    There is a little prayer/invocation to Mother Holle somewhere in my December 2009 posts, if you are interested.