Sky deity

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"Air spirit" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Spirit Air.
"Spirits of the air" redirects here. For the 1989 science fiction film, see Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds.
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Jupiter, the sky father of Greco-Roman religion and mythology

The sky has important religious significance. Most polytheistic religions have a deity associated with the sky.

It is important to note that in mythology, the daylit sky is typically distinct from the night-time heavens of the stars. Stith Thompson's Motif-Index of Folk-Literature reflects this by separating the category of Sky-god (A210) from that of Star-god (A250), both within the chapter dedicated to "gods of the upper world" (although in some mythologies, the night sky is associated with the netherworld)

Masculine sky gods are often also king of the gods, taking the position of patriarch within a pantheon. Such gods are collectively categorised as Sky father deities. A polarity between sky and earth is often expressed by pairing a "Sky father" god with an Earth mother goddess (more rarely, a sky goddess and an earth god).

Many polytheistic mythologies make a clear distinction between the celestial realm (or upper world) and the chtonic realm or netherworld. In such cases, there may be a main pair of deities who rule the sky as husband and wife (for example, Zeus and Hera in ancient Greece), while a different pair of deities (e.g., Hades and Persephone) rule the chthonic realms. When there was a main sky goddess, she often held the title of the "Queen of Heaven" or "Heavenly Mother". Another notable example of a sky god and goddess was the ancient Semitic supreme god El, who was most likely paired with the sky goddess Asherah.[1]

List of sky deities[edit]

The following is a list of sky deities in various polytheistic traditions, by ethno-linguistic or geographic grouping.

Ancient Near East[edit]

Egyptian[edit]

  • Amun, god of creation and the wind
  • Anhur, originally a foreign war god who became associated with the air god, Shu
  • Hathor, goddess of the sky, love, beauty and music
  • Horus, god of the sun, sky, kings and war
  • Mehet-Weret, goddess of the sky
  • Nut, goddess of the sky
  • Shu, god of the wind and air

Sumerian[edit]

  • An, goddess of the sky
  • Anshar, god of the sky
  • Anu, king of the gods, associated with the sky, heaven and constellations
  • Beelshamen, god of the sky
  • Enlil, god of breath, wind, loft, and breadth

Semitic[edit]

Further information: Ancient Semitic religion

Hurrian[edit]

  • Hepit, goddess of the sky
  • Teshub, god of the sky and storms


Indo-European[edit]

Celtic[edit]

  • Latobius, sky and mountain god equated with the Greek gods Zeus and Ares
  • Taranis, sky and thunder god, equated and syncretized with Jupiter
  • Brigid, goddess of weather, hearth, water, poetry and crafts equated with the Greek goddesses Athena and Hestia

Germanic[edit]

Greek[edit]

  • Aether, primeval god of the upper air
  • Chaos, the nothingness from which all else sprang, she also represented the lower atmosphere which surrounded the earth
  • Hemera, primeval goddess of the day
  • Iris, goddess of the rainbow and divine messenger
  • Nephele, cloud nymph
  • Uranus, primeval god of the sky
  • Zeus, king of the gods, the ruler of Mount Olympus and the god of the sky, weather, thunder, law, order and fate

Roman[edit]

  • Caelus, personification of the sky, equivalent to the Greek Uranus
  • Jupiter, king of heaven and god of the sky and weather, equivalent to the Greek Zeus
  • Tempestas, goddess of storms or sudden weather

Slavic[edit]

  • Stribog, god of the winds, sky and air
  • Triglav, a triple god whose three heads represent sky, earth and underworld

Thracian[edit]

Etruscan[edit]

  • Ani, god of the sky
  • Tinia, god of the sky

Ural-Altaic[edit]

Finnic[edit]

  • Ilmatar, virgin spirit of the air
  • Perkele, supreme sky and thunder god
  • Ukko, god of sky, weather, crops (harvest) and other natural things
  • Horagalles, god of the sky, thunder and lightning, the rainbow, weather, oceans, lakes, human life, health and wellbeing
  • Mano, goddess of the moon

Turkic[edit]

Udmurt[edit]

  • Inmar, god of the heavens

Indian[edit]

Indra
  • Aditi, the celestial mother of the gods
  • Dyaus Pita, sky father
  • Indra, king of the gods, associated with weather
  • Saranyu, goddess of clouds
  • Ushas goddess of dawn
  • Ratri goddess of night

East Asian[edit]

Chinese[edit]

  • Yuhuang Dadi - Jade Emperor (Centre)
  • Ziwei Dadi - Polestar Emperor (North)
  • Changsheng Dadi - Longevity Emperor (South)
  • Qinghua Dadi - Azure-Illustrious Emperor (East)
  • Taiji Tianhuang Dadi - Ultimate Heaven Emperor(West)

Twenty Four Sky Emperors (Tiandi)

  • Six Tiandi of the North
    • 1. Bìfàn Xuánwú Tiandi
    • 2. Bìkōng Zhēnjì Tiandi
    • 3. Bìluó Yuánshǐ Tiandi
    • 4. Bìgě Chéngkāi Tiandi
    • 5. Bìyàn Zhūjǐng Tiandi
    • 6. Bìhóng Xūkuàng Tiandi
  • Six Tiandi of the South
    • 7. Bìzhēn Dòngyáng Tiandi
    • 8. Bìyáo Jiànggōng Tiandi
    • 9. Bìxiá Míngsù Tiandi
    • 10. Bìwú Yàodòng Tiandi
    • 11. Bìyùn Shǐtú Tiandi
    • 12. Bìhào Zhēngxū Tiandi
  • Six Tiandi of the West
    • 13. Bìshén Zhàozhì Tiandi
    • 14. Bìchōng Zǐyào Tiandi
    • 15. Bìgě Fànkōng Tiandi
    • 16. Bìdòng Xiáyáng Tiandi
    • 17. Bìhuá Kāilì Tiandi
    • 18. Bìfàn Míngyáo Tiandi
  • Six Tiandi of the North
    • 19. Bìguāng Hánhuá Tiandi
    • 20. Bìyè Zhùyán Tiandi
    • 21. Bìdān Huáqì Tiandi
    • 22. Bìkuò Címíng Tiandi
    • 23. Bìlà Gēyīn Tiandi
    • 24. Bìxū Níngyáng Tiandi

Twenty Eight Sky Emperors (Tiandi)

  • Seven Tiandi of the East
    • 1. Tàimíng Hùzhēn Tiandi
    • 2. Juéfàn Tàilíng Tiandi
    • 3. Húyuè Cuìxiù Tiandi
    • 4. Zǐdān Míngchǔ Tiandi
    • 5. Dòngxiá Yùzhēn Tiandi
    • 6. Kōngxuán Lìshǔ Tiandi
    • 7. Qiáotōng Zhūpǔ Tiandi
  • Seven Tiandi of the South
    • 8. Yányú Zhēngshǐ Tiandi
    • 9. Jīngwéi Xiāomíng Tiandi
    • 10. Qìngfú Zīshàn Tiandi
    • 11. Suíwén Xīdù Tiandi
    • 12. Chángjī Lèwán Tiandi
    • 13. Qíhuá Bùróng Tiandi
    • 14. Gāolíng Dàiwú Tiandi
  • Seven Tiandi of the West
    • 15. Zhōuyú Píngwú Tiandi
    • 16. Jǐngyán Tàizhēn Tiandi
    • 17. Lǜjǐng Shǔchén Tiandi
    • 18. Niúluó Pǔshì Tiandi
    • 19. Dìngliáng Huìzōng Tiandi
    • 20. Zhàolíng Sūjì Tiandi
    • 21. Jiǔwēi Dònghuáng Tiandi
  • Seven Tiandi of the North
    • 22. Dìshū Guāngjìng Tiandi
    • 23. Zǐyí Jìhuā Tiandi
    • 24. Zhìdìng Yǔnlǐ Tiandi
    • 25. Guāngfàn Jiùzhì Tiandi
    • 26. Hǔ口 Zhēngbù Tiandi
    • 27. Bàyān Wúyuán Tiandi
    • 28. Dàomíng Húnxìng Tiandi

Thirty Two Sky Emperors (Tiandi)

  • Eight Tiandi of the East
    • 1. Tàihuáng Huángzēng Tiandi
    • 2. Tàimíng Yùwán Tiandi
    • 3. Qīngmíng Hétóng Tiandi
    • 4. Xuántāi Píngyù Tiandi
    • 5. Yuánmíng Wénjǔ Tiandi
    • 6. Qīyào Móyí Tiandi
    • 7. Xūwú Yuèhéng Tiandi
    • 8. Tàijí Méngyì Tiandi
  • Eight Tiandi of the South
    • 9. Chìmíng Héyáng Tiandi
    • 10. Xuánmíng Gōnghuá Tiandi
    • 11. Yàomíng Zōngpiāo Tiandi
    • 12. Zhúlà Huángjiā Tiandi
    • 13. Xūmíng Tángyào Tiandi
    • 14. Guànmíng Duānjìng Tiandi
    • 15. Xuánmíng Gōngqìng Tiandi
    • 16. Tàihuàn Jíyáo Tiandi
  • Eight Tiandi of the West
    • 17. Yuánzǎi Kǒngshēng Tiandi
    • 18. Tàiān Huángyá Tiandi
    • 19. Xiǎndìng Jífēng Tiandi
    • 20. Shǐhuáng Xiàománg Tiandi
    • 21. Tàihuáng Wēngchóng Tiandi
    • 22. Wúsī Jiāngyóu Tiandi
    • 23. Shǎngshé Ruǎnlè Tiandi
    • 24. Wújí Tánshì Tiandi
  • Eight Tiandi of the North
    • 25. Hàotíng Xiāodù Tiandi
    • 26. Yuāntōng Yuándòng Tiandi
    • 27. Hànchǒng Miàochéng Tiandi
    • 28. Xiùlè Jīnshǎng Tiandi
    • 29. Wúshàng Chángróng Tiandi
    • 30. Yùlóng Téngshèng Tiandi
    • 31. Lóngbiàn Fàndù Tiandi
    • 32.Píngyù Jiǎyì Tiandi

Sixty Four Sky Emperors (Tiandi)

  • Sixteen Tiandi of the East
    • 1. Wǎnkōng Míngfàn Tiandi
    • 2. Zǐyuán Bàwú Tiandi
    • 3. Yānjǐng Yùxū Tiandi
    • 4. Chōngzhēng Dòngjí Tiandi
    • 5. Míngbiàn Yuánhuáng Tiandi
    • 6. Lǐchóng Yuānxū Tiandi
    • 7. Jiàozhēn Quánzhòng Tiandi
    • 8. Qīngwēi Huángyǔ Tiandi
    • 9. Jiùmíng wàngshì Tiandi
    • 10. Yuèfǔ Wènshí Tiandi
    • 11. Qìlíng Zhāopǔ Tiandi
    • 12. Xuánxū Guāngfàn Tiandi
    • 13. Shǎngjí Sìzhǒng Tiandi
    • 14. Yìhuā Zhēngzhèn Tiandi
    • 15. Gūshì Bāfàn Tiandi
    • 16. Jiǔyán Yùdìng Tiandi
  • Sixteen Tiandi of the South
    • 17. Dānmó Yìhuā Tiandi
    • 18. Dòujiàn Xūyú Tiandi
    • 19. Dìguāng Wújì Tiandi
    • 20. Zhūlíng Yàoguāng Tiandi
    • 21. Zǐjǐng Duànbái Tiandi
    • 22. Jiàngxiān Táiyuán Tiandi
    • 23. Shuǎngzhì Xièshēn Tiandi
    • 24. Yùjiāng Sīchán Tiandi
    • 25. Gūhóu Lìzhēn Tiandi
    • 26. Gǔxuán Dàoyòng Tiandi
    • 27. Lǐbù Míngwēi Tiandi
    • 28. Shénlú Chāngyìng Tiandi
    • 29. Dùzhēng Kèzōng Tiandi
    • 30. Dàhuǒ Chìyī Tiandi
    • 31. Qīngdì Dòngyáo Tiandi
    • 32. Xuánchéng Bǎihuā Tiandi
  • Sixteen Tiandi of the West
    • 33. Jīnlí Guāngqǐ Tiandi
    • 34. Jíhuáng Xuányùn Tiandi
    • 35. Zhōuyán Jìngpíng Tiandi
    • 36. Bǎosòng Róngzī Tiandi
    • 37. Qìngzhēn Měiyuán Tiandi
    • 38. Zhàiwú Shénsì Tiandi
    • 39. Gāojiàng Zhìhuá Tiandi
    • 40. Dàoqī Yánjì Tiandi
    • 41. Tónglì Dàochú Tiandi
    • 42. Dǐngshén Huàwēi Tiandi
    • 43. Tàiān Shùnjí Tiandi
    • 44. Qióngxī Yàoxiān Tiandi
    • 45. Zǐdū Yuèguǎng Tiandi
    • 46. Cuīkāng Jiéshí Tiandi
    • 47. Jìngbì Làmáng Tiandi
    • 48. Pǔhǎi Dòngjī Tiandi
  • Sixteen Tiandi of the North
    • 49. Yúsì Tǒngzhēn Tiandi
    • 50. Hǔjiā Pīfāng Tiandi
    • 51. Qiúyuān Làyú Tiandi
    • 52. Jīnbái Zhēngjì Tiandi
    • 53. Huánglì Kǒngxiū Tiandi
    • 54. Yáoshū Jīnglíng Tiandi
    • 55. Shényín Xiāodū Tiandi
    • 56. Qìngzhāo Yuèfú Tiandi
    • 57. Chēnmíng Chúkǔ Tiandi
    • 58. Fēngxìn Kǎofú Tiandi
    • 59. Zhèngrù Bàobù Tiandi
    • 60. Gěnglěi Lìquán Tiandi
    • 61. Guǐchǔ Shǐlè Tiandi
    • 62. Língfù Hǎilún Tiandi
    • 63. Shǎngjí Xiāotán Tiandi
    • 64. Bìcháng Dòngyuán Tiandi
  • Zhinü, weaver of the clouds

Japanese[edit]

  • Izanagi, Creator of the world and sky father
  • Marici, goddess of the heavens

Southeast Asian[edit]

Americas[edit]

Inuit[edit]

Uto-Aztecan[edit]

Incan[edit]

Mayan[edit]

Iroquoian[edit]

Sub-Saharan Africa[edit]

Oceania[edit]

Australian[edit]

Māori[edit]

  • Ao, god of light and the sky
  • Rangi, sky father
  • Tane-rore, personification of shimmering air
  • Tāwhirimātea, god of weather, including thunder and lightning, wind, clouds and storms
  • Uenuku, god of rainbows

Pacific Islands[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ El was identified with the storm deity Yahweh in early Hebrew religion, ultimately giving rise to Hebrew monotheism by the 7th century BC; according to the Hebrew Bible it was 7th-century Judean king Josiah who removed the statue of Asherah from the temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem. See also The Hebrew Goddess.