When women wished to increase her chances of producing a healthy baby, it was a fertility goddess that she lit a candle to. From ancient queens desperately looking to provide her husband with a male heir to farmers looking to expand their brood, fertility goddesses were worshipped in hopes of bearing children. In this article, you will encounter a handful of ancient fertility goddesses, including Isis of Egypt.
Ashtart or Astarte , Semetic
As the goddess of sexual love, maternity and fertility, Ashtart (or Astarte) was a Semitic deity who was the consort of El at Ugarit. Throughout Babylonia, Syria, Phoenicia, and other locales, the goddess’ priestesses were seen as sacred prostitutes. In art works, the goddess is shown suckling her son Tamuz. At times, she appears with two horns. Ashtart also represents the goddess of war and is often connected to lions and leopards.
Isis , Egyptian
Not only is Isis the Egyptian goddess of fertility, but she is also responsible for magic and motherhood. Family associations include her father, the god Keb (Earth) and her mother, the goddess Nut (Sky). She is also the sister and wife of Osiris. A well-known myth involving Isis centers on the death of her husband by the hands of her own brother Seth. Searching for the body of her love, she was able to put it back together. This act made her the goddess of the dead. She is known for impregnating herself by using Osiris’ body. As a result, she gave birth to Horus. In Egyptian art works, Isis is depicted as the woman wearing cow horns with a solar disk positioned in between.
Saule , Baltic
Saule represents a common Baltic solar deity, who appeared in Lithuanian and Latvian mythologies. She is considered one of the most powerful deities (often called the Sun), as the goddess of life and fertility, warmth and health. Saule first emerges in texts in one of the earliest written sources on Lithuanian mythology. A Slavic translation dating back to 1261 states that a powerful smith created the Sun and threw it into the sky. A tale dating back to the 1300s and 1400s centers on a myth that Saule was kidnapped and help in a tower by a powerful king. She was later rescued by the zodiac using a sledgehammer. In Lithuanian myths, Saule is noted as the mother of planets, such as Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn.
Other ancient fertility goddesses from cultures around the world include:
Mbaba Mwana Waresa , African
This Zulu goddess was responsible for fertility, as well as rainbows, agriculture, and rain.
Chiconahui , Aztec
In Aztec myths, Chiconahui was mentioned as the domestic fertility goddess and the protectress of families and homes.
Mama Quilla , Incan
As the goddess of the moon, the menstrual cycle, and a protector of women, Mama Quilla played an important role in the Inca calendar and myths. For example, it is said that she once cried tears of silver and that lunar eclipses existed because of animal attacks she had suffered.