Flirt at the Nami’s Party:Aizen-Myoo
God of love, especially worshipped by prostitutes, landlords, singers and musicians. He has a third eye above his other eyes on his forehead and a lion’s head in his hair.
God of thunder. To quiet him as a child, the gods carried him up and down a ladder, explaining the approaching and receding sound of thunder.
‘Divine Lord of the Middle Heavens’ and god of the Pole Star.
Shinto goddess of the sun and the leader of the Shinto pantheon. She was known as ‘shining heaven’ and the Japanese Emperors claimed to be descended from her.
God of evil, his name means “August Star of Heaven”.
Gods of heaven who live ‘above’ the earthly plain. They are heavenly and eternal.
Shinto water goddess.
God sent to rule the earth. Killed by the sky god Takami-Musubi.
“Imaginary Friend” who Helps Maloni overcome her “nightmares”(premonitions):Baku
A good spirit, known as the ‘eater of dreams’. He brings good fortune by eating the nightmares of those who call on him. Seen as a creature with a lion’s head, tiger’s feet and a horse’s body.
Goddess of love, the arts, wisdom, poetry, good fortune and water. Originally a sea deity, he became the patroness of the rich and the arts. She is seen as a beautiful woman riding a dragon. In her eight hands she holds a sword, a jewel, a bow, an arrow, a wheel and a key. Her other two arms are folded in prayer.
A kami which is related to particular geographical area, and protects those living in the area.
Sun goddess of the Ainu. She was originally the moon goddess, but after one night of watching the adulterous behaivors of the people below, she begged the sun god to trade places with her.
God of the wealth of the sea, he is the patron god of fishermen and fishing. He is pictured holding a fish and a fishing pole. Anything washed up on the shore could be Ebisu, including a corpse.
The boat-spirit, she is a goddess who protects and helps mariners and fishermen.
God of marriage. He binds the feet of lovers with a red silken cord.
God of war and agriculture, and the divine protector of the Japanese people.
God of the earth.
Goddess of the earth.
God of the morning sun. Guards the health of little children.
God of happiness, laughter and the wisdom of being content. Seen as a jolly fat man carrying a linen bag full of precious things, including children. He is the protector of the weak and small children.
The spirit of anger and envy which harms.
Both a male and female deity, Inari is the god/goddess of rice and agriculture.
God of the seashore.
Primordial god of the sky and the creator of everything good and right. With his wife Izanami he created the first of the Japanese islands.
Primordial goddess of the earth and darkness. With her husband Izangi she helped create the first of the Japanese islands. Died in childbirth and became goddess of the Underworld and the dead.
Japanese god of fire.
Goddess of thunder, known as the Thunder Queen and the Heavenly Noise.
Goddess of metals.
Goddess of luck and beauty, she is the patron of song and dance and protector of the Geishas.
Buddhist goddess of compassion and protectoress of children.
Ancient tree deity and goddess of the kitchen. She lives in an enoki tree.
Sakura (in the Spring)Ko-no-Hana
The Blossom Princess, she is the goddess of spring and the one who makes the flowers blossom.
Queen of heaven, goddess of the light, sun and moon.
Goddess of royalty.
Matckmaker at Nami’s Party:Musubi-no-Kami
God of love and marriage. Appears as a handsome (and ardent) young lover.
Buddhist god of sunshine and good health.
Rice god and ancestral god of the Japanese imperial family.
God of the sea.
God of the sea. known as the Dragon King.
God of the kitchen. He is pictured with three faces and two pairs of hands.
The silent sage, the wisest and first appearance of Buddha on earth. Shaka corresponds with the Hindu Shakyamuni
Primordial sky god and creator of living things in Shinto belief.
Goddess of autumn.
Goddess of earth, food and agriculture.
Goddess of grain.
God of the moon and brother of the sun goddess Ameratsu.
Shinto goddess of joy and happiness.
Japanese house god.
Sakura ( most of the year):Yama-no-kami
Goddess of the hunt, forest, agriculture and vegetation.
The soul or spirit of Japan.
The Snow Queen or goddess of winter.
The Hindu gods are a colorful and variegated community and their number
is enormous. The average non-Indian is not a little baffled by this variety
and enormity of number. This little document is an effort to gently introduce
the Hindu pantheon to the non-Indian (read American) populace.
First of all the Divine Trinity :
1. Brahma : the god of Creation :
He is usually depicted as a four faced, hoary, old man
with a flowing white beard seated on a lotus flower. He is
one deity you won’t find anybody worshipping or any temples
2. Vishnu : the god of Sustenance :
He is perhaps the most colorful of all the gods with very
many incarnations. He is also known by many different names
(a list of some of those can be found in the glossary at the end).
He is usually depicted as reclining on a huge coiled serpent with
his consort serving him at his feet. He is also a four handed deity
with a mace in one hand a conch in another and a spinning disc on
a finger of yet another.
3. Maheshwara : the god of Destruction :
He is ususally depicted sitting in meditation, his locks
matted atop his head with a crescent moon decorating it, an eye
in the middle of his forehead, a serpent coiled around his neck,
a trident beside him.
These physical descriptions are for you to recognise a picture or
idol of one of these deities when you see one. Do not be hasty to imagine a
grotesque image of the Hindu deity from the above descriptions.
Each of these trinity of gods is associated with a divine consort,
herself a goddess.
1. Saraswati : the consort of Brahma : goddess of Knowledge.
She is usually depicted sitting on a swan, playing a veena
(an Indian stringed instrument).
2. Lakshmi : the consort of Vishnu : goddess of Wealth.
She is depicted sitting on a lotus gold coins showering
out of her blessing hands.
3. Parvati : the consort of Maheshwara : goddess of Valour.
Other distinguished divinities are :
1. Vinayaka : the lord of Prosperity .
He is also the lord of “Vighna”s i.e “unexpected problems”. So he
has to worshipped first before any auspicious ceremony/event can begin.
He is a well feared and widely worshipped god. He has the face of an
elephant and how it happened to be is a very interesting story but some
other time may be ..! He is the son of Maheshwara and Parvati. His
birthday is celebrated with much pomp and gaiety all over India.
Huge colourful idols are made and worshipped in a public place in every
locality for 12 days after which the idols are taken out in a procession
and immersed in a nearby pond or lake.
2. Kali : The fierce form of goddess Parvati. She assumes this fearsome form to
kill some wicked demon. She is a many handed deity with various weapons
adorning each hand. She is depicted as red eyed with her dark red tongue
put out as if to devour the demon’s blood. Occasionally she is shown piercing
this demon with a trident holding him down with a leg.
3. Rama : One of the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Rama is an epic hero. His
life story forms the epic Ramayana, written by Sage Valmiki. He is the
embodiment of virtue : the Perfect Man, the Perfect husband, the Perfect
brother, the Perfect king, the obedient son. He is believed to have taken birth
to kill the demon king Ravana. Any further description of him would entail
the telling of the Ramayana. This Perfect One is depicted usually with his
wife Sita and his obedient brother Lakshmana and his great devotee, the monkey
Hanuman at his feet.
4. Hanuman : This great devotee of Rama is himself a deity. He is a very mighty,
intelligent, knowledgeable monkey minister to a monkey king Sugriva. He is
said to have been born with the divine influence of Lord Maheshwara. His
childhood pranks make a very interesting story. He is purported to be the
deathless one and a bachelor. Worshipping him is said to give one the strength
to fight off evil. There are many traditional style gymnasiums in India
which are named after him, where the practitioners also worship him.
5. Krishna : This deity is another incarnation of Lord Vishnu and is the key figure
in yet another epic of India namely the Maha Bharata. He is much more colorful
and mystical than Rama. He performed many miracles all through his lifetime
and his childhood episodes are very interesting. Among other things he was a
known lurer of women, prankster etc. Maybe I should include a couple of
documents more to tell those stories. He is also regarded as the person who
gave the Bhagavad Gita (the Divine Song) that magnificent philosophical guide
to the world.
6. Shanmukha : He is the younger son of Maheshwara. He is the commander in chief of the
Divine Army. He is supposed to have been conceived for demolishing the Demon king
Tarakasura. He is depicted atop his vehicle viz. a peacock, holding a spear in
To be continued.
A list of alternate names for these deities :
(By no means to be considered exhaustive or accurate. Each deity usually has
a long list of names (108 or 1008 etc) composed by some devotee or described
in the puranas most of which are lengthy descriptive phrases. Some times the
various names are associated with either various incarnations or particular
physical features. You will find that most Indian (hindu) names come from these!)
1. Maheshwara : Siva, Sankara, Nataraja, Rudra, Parameshwara, Ishwara, Hara, Shambhu
2. Vishnu : Narayana, Hari, Narasimha, Narahari, Vittala, Panduranga, Venkateshwara
3. Krishna : Keshav, Madhava, Govinda, Sridhar, Vasudeva, Shyam, Murari, Giridhar, Gopal,
Murali(dhar), Venu(gopal), Giridhar
4. Vinayaka : Ganapati, Vighneshwara, Ganesha, Gajanana
5. Shanmukha : Muruga, Subrahmanya, Kumaraswami
6. Parvati : Uma, Chandi, Kali, Durga, Bhavani, Annapurna, Shakti, Jagadamba, Ishwari, Shyamala
Hel: Ruler of the kingdom of death, the Prose Edda describes her as half-black, half-white (she is sometimes seen as half-rotting, half alive) and of grim and unmistakable appearance. Her name may originally derive from the buried slab-rock grave-chambers of the Stone Age. The Hel-word is known to all branches of the Germanic speech, and clearly very old, but there is some question as to whether the goddess was recognized as an independent person before the Viking Age. The Prose Edda, probably suffering from semantic contamination (the use of the English word Hell for the frightful Christian after world), describes her hall as full of horrors, but older sources make it rather pleasant, and indeed a close reflection of the idealized god-house seen in descriptions of Valhall (Hel and Odin have much in common, in fact). The specialization of the Germanic afterlife into the glorious Valhall where the chosen battle-dead go and the hideous Hel where everyone else ends up is probably a product of Christian influence on the retelling of Norse god-lore; our earlier sources offer far more options (going to the hall of the deity to whom one is closest, dying into a hill or rock where the other ghosts of one’s family dwell, remaining as the guardian of a stead, being reborn in a child who bears one’s name and/or lineage), and the name Valhall does not become specialized for Odin’s hall until the middle of the tenth century, when it is probably a description rather than a proper name. There is no evidence for the worship of the goddess Hel in elder times, but there are several folk who work with her today. Also called Hella.
Freya: Freya is probably the best-known and best-loved of the goddesses today. Her title simply means “Lady,” her original name is not known. Freya is the “wild woman” among the deities of the North: free with her sexual favors (though furious when an attempt is made to marry her off against her will); mistress of Odin and several other gods and men; skilled at the form of ecstatic, consciousness-altering, and sometimes malicious magic called seidhr; and chooser of half the slain on the battlefield (Odin gets the other half).
Freya’s chief attribute is the necklace called Brisingamen, which she bought from four dwarves at the price of four nights of her love. This necklace is sometimes seen today as embodying her power over the material world; the necklace has been the emblem of the earth-goddess since the earliest times.
This goddess drives a wagon drawn by two cats, perhaps large forest-cats such as lynxes, and is seen today as the patron goddesses of cats and those who keep them. As a battle-goddess, she also rides on a boar called Hildisvini (Battle-Swine).
Like Odin, Freya is often a stirrer of strife. As Gullveig (“Gold-Drunkenness”), she came among the Aesir to cause trouble. She was stabbed and burnt three times, but arose from the flame each time; through this torment, she transformed herself into Heith (“the Glorious”), mistress of magic, in a typical shamanic initiation. This also seems to have started the war between the Aesir and the Vanir.
Freya is sometimes seen as a fertility goddess, but there are no sources suggesting that she was called on to bring fruitfulness to fields or wombs. Rather, she is a goddess of riches, whose tears are gold and whose “daughters,” in the riddle-poetry of the skalds, are precious objects. However, the giants are always trying to take her away from the gods, and it is clear that this would be a great disaster: she was obviously known to be the embodiment of the holy life-force on some level. Perhaps because of this, Wagner gave her some of Idunna’s attributes, making her the keeper of the golden apples without which the folk of Asgard would wither and die.
Old Norse Freyja, Old English Freo, Modern German Frau, Wagnerian Freia, Modern English Frowe.
Earth:Identified as a giantess, mother of Thor by Odin, she is often referred to in poetry as “Odin’s bride”. The traces that have survived of the worship of the personified Earth herself show that she was honored by the Germanic people, though not active in tales. Old Norse Jörð.
Easter:the English name of an continental Germanic Heathen goddess of spring, whose memory proved so enduring in Saxon England that the christian springtime feast was eventually called by her name. The hare may have been her holy beast. Anglo-Saxon Eostre; Old High German Ostara.
Holda: A goddess known through German folklore, her name means “the Gracious One”. She has much in common with Frigga, being the patroness of spinners and the keeper of social order, especially enforcing taboos about working on holy days. She is also said to be the keeper of the souls of un-baptized (or sometimes simply young) children, and women who want to bear children ask for them at her well. Holda also appears at times as the leader of the Wild Hunt. According to one tale, it was she who taught humans how to plant and process flax. When it snows, Holda is supposed to be shaking out her feather-bed.
Calliope (Chief of the muses and muse of epic poetry)
Euterpe (muse of lyric song)
Clio (muse of history)
Erato (muse of erotic poetry)
Melpomene (muse of tragedy)
Polyhymnia (muse of sacred song)
Terpsichore (muse of dance)
Thalia (muse of comedy and bucolic poetry)
Urania (muse of astronomy)