List of lunar deities

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Selene and Endymion

In mythology, a lunar deity is a god or goddess of the Moon, sometimes as a personification. These deities can have a variety of functions and traditions depending upon the culture, but they are often related. Some form of Moon worship can be found in most ancient religions.

Moon in religion and mythology[edit]

The monthly cycle of the Moon, in contrast to the annual cycle of the Sun's path, has been implicitly linked to women's menstrual cycles by many cultures, as evident in the links between the words for menstruation and for Moon in many resultant languages,[1] though this identification was not universal as demonstrated by the fact that not all moon deities are female. Many well-known mythologies feature female lunar deities, such as the Greek goddess Selene, the Roman goddess Luna, and the Chinese goddess Chang'e.

Male lunar gods are also frequent, such as Sin of the Mesopotamians, Mani of the Germanic tribes, Tsukuyomi of the Japanese, and Igaluk/Alignak of the Inuit. The ancient Egyptians had several male moon gods, for example, Ibis and Khonsu of Thebes. Thoth was also a lunar deity, but his character is considerably more complex than Ibis and Khonsu.[2] Set represented the Moon in the Egyptian Calendar of Lucky and Unlucky Days of papyrus Cairo 86637.[3] These cultures usually feature female sun goddesses. An exception is Hinduism; featuring both male and female aspects of the solar divine.

The original Proto-Indo-European lunar deity appears to have been male.[4] Several goddesses, like Artemis or Hecate, did not originally have lunar aspects, and only acquired them late in antiquity, due to syncretism with Selene/Luna, the de facto Greco-Roman lunar deity. In traditions with male gods, there is little evidence of such syncretism, though the Greek Hermes has been equated with the male Egyptian lunar god Thoth. In Greece proper, remnants of male moon gods are also seen with Menelaus.

Also of significance is that many religions and societies are oriented chronologically by the Moon, as opposed to the Sun. One common example is Hinduism in which the word Chandra means "moon" and has religious significance during many Hindu festivals (e.g. Karwa Chauth, Sankasht Chaturthi, and during eclipses). The ancient Germanic tribes were also known to have a lunar calendar.

The Moon features prominently in art and literature and also has a purported influence in human affairs, a belief that consistently remains a feature of astrology, though beliefs such as this are classified as pseudoscience.

List of moon deities[edit]

Africa[edit]

Name Image Mythology / Religion Details

Europe[edit]

Name Image Mythology / Religion Details
Arianrhod Welsh
Artemis
Istanbul Archaeology Museums, Statue of Artemis, marble, Mytilene, Lesbos, a copy of a 4th BC type.jpg
Greek Artemis is the ancient Greek goddess of the hunt, wilderness, wild animals, chastity, and the Moon.[6][7] She is the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo.[8] She would eventually be extensively syncretized with the Roman goddess Diana.
Artume Etruscan
Ataegina
Ataecina. Mármol del artista Pedro Roque DSC 0572r1.jpg
Lusitanian
Bendis
Artemis Bendis Louvre CA159.jpg
Thracian
Diana
Cametti Diana.jpg
Roman
Elatha Irish Elatha was a king of the Fomorians in Irish mythology. He succeded his father Delbáeth and was replaced by his son Bres, mothered by Ériu.
Hecate
Hecate Chiaramonti Inv1922.jpg
Greek
Hors Slavic
Ilargi Basque
Kuu Finnish
Losna Etruscan
Luna
Luna statue.jpg
Roman
Mano Sámi
Máni
Máni and Sól by Lorenz Frølich.jpg
Norse
Meness Latvian
Phoebe Greek
Selene
Clipeus Selene Terme.jpg
Greek
Triple Goddess
Triple-Goddess-Waxing-Full-Waning-Symbol.svg
Wicca

Asia[edit]

Ainu mythology[edit]

  • God Kunnechup Kamui

Anatolian[edit]

Chinese mythology[edit]

Elamite[edit]

  • God Napir

Hindu Mythology[edit]

The Hindu moon god Chandra, riding his celestial chariot

Hurro-Urartian[edit]

Indonesian mythology[edit]

Japanese mythology[edit]

Korean mythology[edit]

Mari mythology[edit]

  • God Tõlze

Philippine mythology[edit]

Semitic[edit]

Turkic mythology[edit]

Austronesian[edit]

Australia[edit]

Americas[edit]

Aztec mythology[edit]

Cahuilla mythology[edit]

Guarani mythology[edit]

Hopi mythology[edit]

Incan mythology[edit]

Inuit mythology[edit]

Lakota mythology[edit]

Maya mythology[edit]

Muisca mythology[edit]

Pawnee mythology[edit]

Tupi mythology[edit]

  • Goddess Jaci

Voodoo[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harding, Esther M., 'Woman's Mysteries: Ancient and Modern', London: Rider, 1971, p. 24.
  2. ^ Thoth, the Hermes of Egypt: a study of some aspects of theological thought in ancient Egypt, page 75
  3. ^ Jetsu, L.; Porceddu, S. (2015). "Shifting Milestones of Natural Sciences: The Ancient Egyptian Discovery of Algol's Period Confirmed". PLOS ONE. 10 (12): e.0144140 (23pp). arXiv:1601.06990. Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1044140J. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144140.
  4. ^ Dexter, Miriam Robbins. Proto-Indo-European Sun Maidens and Gods of the Moon. Mankind Quarterly 25:1 & 2 (Fall/Winter, 1984), pp. 137–144.
  5. ^ S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt. London, The British Museum Press, 1992
  6. ^ Shen (2018), p. 60
  7. ^ Sacks (1995), p. 35
  8. ^ Neils (2003), p. 117
  9. ^ 太上洞真五星秘授经
  10. ^ Overmyer (1986), p. 51.
  11. ^ a b Fan, Chen 2013. p. 23
  12. ^ "Libulan: Moon Deity". Visayan Mythologies of the Phillipines. 2013-05-08. Retrieved 2018-11-23.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]