Sky deity

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Jupiter, the sky father of Roman religion and mythology.

The sky often has important religious significance. Many religions, both polytheistic and monotheistic, have deities associated with the sky.

The day lit sky deities are typically distinct from the night time sky deities. Stith Thompson's Motif-Index of Folk-Literature reflects this by separating the category of "Sky-god" (A210) from that of "Star-god" (A250). In mythology, night time gods are usually known as night deities and gods of stars simply as star gods. Both of these categories are included here since they relate to the sky. Luminary deities are included as well since the sun and moon are located in the sky. Some religions may also have a deity or personification of the day, distinct from the god of the day lit sky, to complement the deity or personification of the night.

Day time gods and night time gods are frequently deities of an "upper world" or "celestial world" opposed to the "netherworld" and earth ruled by other gods (underworld and earth gods are collectively known as chthonic deities). For example, sky gods Zeus and Hera rule the celestial realm in ancient Greece while the chthonic realm is ruled by Hades and Persephone. The tripartite division of the world into sky/heaven/upper, earth/middle, and under/nether/lower seems to be a universal feature of all human religions. Sea gods may be included with chthonic deities or form a separate, third category. Water, both fresh and salt, is often associated with the earth/underworld, giving rise to an alternate tripartite division of sky, land, and sea, where sea seemingly takes the place of the underworld.

Any masculine sky god is often also king of the gods, taking the position of patriarch within a pantheon. Such king gods are collectively categorized as "sky father" deities, with a polarity between sky and earth often being expressed by pairing a "sky father" god with an "earth mother" goddess (pairings of a sky mother with an earth father are less frequent). A main sky goddess is often the queen of the gods and may be an air/sky goddess in her own right, though she usually has other functions as well with "sky" not being her main. In antiquity, several sky goddesses in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Near East were called Queen of Heaven. Neopagans often apply it with impunity to sky goddesses from other regions who were never associated with the term historically.

Gods may rule the sky as a pair (for example, ancient Semitic supreme god El and the fertility goddess Asherah whom he was most likely paired with).[1] The following is a list of sky deities in various polytheistic traditions arranged mostly by language family, which is typically a better indicator of relatedness than geography.

Indo-European languages[edit]

Proto-Indo-European[edit]

Baltic[edit]

Celtic[edit]

  • Latobius, sky and mountain god equated with the Greek gods Zeus and Ares
  • Nuada, god of the sky, wind, and war
  • Sulis, goddess of the hot springs at Bath; probably originally the pan-Celtic sun goddess

Germanic[edit]

  • Dagr, personification of day
  • Eostre, spring and fertility goddess; originally the Germanic dawn goddess
  • Mēnô, the moon
  • Nótt, personification of night
  • Sōwilō, the sun
  • Teiwaz, early Germanic sky god, also the god of law, justice, and the thing (assembly)

Greek[edit]

  • Aether, primeval god of the upper air
  • Astraeus, dusk god
  • Eos, dawn goddess
  • Helios, personification of the sun
  • Hemera, primordial goddess of day
  • Hera, goddess of the air, marriage, women, women's fertility, childbirth, heirs, kings, and empires
  • Iris, goddess of the rainbow and messenger of Hera
  • Nephele, cloud nymph in Hera's likeness
  • Nyx, primordial goddess of night
  • Selene, personification of the moon
  • Uranus, primeval god of the sky
  • Zeus, king of the gods, ruler of Mount Olympus, god of the sky, weather, law, order, and civilization

Hindu[edit]

Iranian[edit]

Roman[edit]

  • Aurora, dawn goddess
  • Caelus, personification of the sky, equivalent to the Greek Uranus
  • Juno, goddess of the sky, queen of the gods, and Jupiter's wife, equivalent to the Greek Hera
  • Jupiter, king of heaven and god of the sky and weather, equivalent to the Greek Zeus
  • Luna, moon goddess
  • Nox, Roman version of Nyx, night goddess and mother of Discordia
  • Sol, sun god
  • Summanus, god of nocturnal thunder/lightning

Slavic[edit]

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

Thracian and Phrygian[edit]

Afro-Asiatic[edit]

Ancient Egyptian[edit]

  • Amun, god of creation and the wind
  • Anhur, originally a foreign war god who became associated with the air god, Shu
  • Hathor, originally a sky goddess
  • Horus, god of the sun, sky, kings, and war
  • Khonsu, moon god
  • Mehet-Weret, goddess of the sky
  • Nut, goddess of the sky
  • Ra, god of the sun
  • Shu, god of the air
  • Thoth, originally a moon god, later became a writing/knowledge god and the scribe of the other gods

Berber[edit]

Semitic[edit]

  • Asherah, sky goddess and consort of El; after the rise of Yahweh, she may have become Yahweh's consort before being demonized and the Israelite religion going monotheistic
  • Baalshamin, "Lord of the Heavens" (c.f. Armenian Barsamin)
  • El (god), original sky god and sky father of the Israelites (and other Semitic tribes) before Yahweh
  • Yahweh, deity whose origin is unclear, but rose to prominence among the Israelites, was conflated with El, and became the sole god among them; the Bible heavily associates him with the sky and shade

Uralic[edit]

Finnic[edit]

  • Ilmari, godlike smith-hero and creator of the sky. Associated with Ukko by some researchers.[2]
  • Ilmatar, virgin spirit of the air[3]
  • Ukko, supreme god of sky, weather, thunder, crops (harvest) and other natural things.[4]
  • Perkele, associated with Ukko by some researchers. A name for Devil in Finnish.[5][6]
  • Taara, Oeselian chief god of thunder and the sky

Mari[edit]

  • Kugu Jumo, chief god of the sky, creator of the world, associated with a duck
  • Tõlze, god of the moon
  • Piambar, daughter of the sky
  • Shudyr-Shamich, god of the stars
  • Uzhara, god of the dawn

Mordvin[edit]

  • Värde-Škaj, Mokshan supreme god of the sky
  • Niškepaz, Erzyan supreme god of the sky
  • Kovava, Mokshan goddess of the moon

Permic[edit]

  • Inmar, Udmurt god of the heavens
  • Jenmar, Komi sky and chief god, creator of the world, associated with the moose

Sami[edit]

  • Horagalles, Sami god of the sky, thunder and lightning, the rainbow, weather, oceans, lakes, human life, health and well-being.[7]
  • Mano, god of the moon

Samoyedic[edit]

  • Num, god of the sky

Ugric[edit]

Sino-Tibetan[edit]

Chinese[edit]

  • Yu Huang Dadi-Jade Emperor (center)
  • Ziwei Dadi-polestar emperor (north)
  • Changsheng Dadi-longevity emperor (south)
  • Qinghua Dadi-azure-illustrious emperor (east)
  • Taiji Tianhuang Dadi-ultimate heaven emperor (west)
  • Chang'e, moon goddess who lives with the moon rabbit
  • Shang Di, the celestial emperor
  • Xihe (deity), sun goddess
  • Zhinü, weaver of the clouds and possible dawn goddess

Twenty Four Sky Emperors (Tiandi 天帝)

  • 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 天帝)

  • 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 天帝)

  • 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 天帝)

  • 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

Korean[edit]

Americas[edit]

Incan[edit]

Inuit[edit]

Iroquoian[edit]

Mayan[edit]

Taíno mythology[edit]

  • Yaya, supreme god in Taíno mythology

Uto-Aztecan[edit]

Voodoo[edit]

Sub-Saharan Africa[edit]

Niger-Congo[edit]

Nilo-Saharan[edit]

Mixed Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan[edit]

Khoe languages[edit]

Austronesian[edit]

Australian[edit]

  • Altjira, Arrernte creator and sky god
  • Baiame, southeast Australian creator and sky god
  • Bila (sun), cannibalistic sun goddess
  • Binbeal, god of rainbows
  • Bunjil, Kulin creator and sky god
  • Numakulla, a pair of creator and sky gods
  • Rainbow Serpent, creator god in many Aboriginal cultures associated with water, rain, and rainbows, though strangely for a sky deity it also has a chthonic connection

Malagasy[edit]

Māori[edit]

Pacific Islands[edit]

Austroasiatic[edit]

  • Trời, sky god in Vietnamese indigenous religion

Hurro-Urartian[edit]

Hurrian[edit]

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

Japanese[edit]

  • Amaterasu, goddess of the sun and the universe, ancestor of the emperors of Japan, and the most important deity in Shintoism
  • Amenominakanushi, heavenly ancestral god
  • Izanagi, creator of Japan and sky father
  • Izanami, creator goddess of Japan with her husband; starts off as a sky goddess, but after she dies becomes a death/underworld/chthonic goddess
  • Marici, Buddhist goddess of the heavens
  • Tsukuyomi, god of the moon and brother of Amaterasu

Kra-Dai[edit]

Turkish and Mongolian[edit]

Isolate languages[edit]

Etruscan[edit]

  • Ani, primordial god of the sky identified with the Greek Uranus and Roman Caelus
  • Tinia, god of the sky

Sumerian[edit]

  • Anshar, god of the sky
  • Anu, king of the gods, associated with the sky, heaven, and constellations
  • Enlil, god of breath, air, and wind
  • Utu, god of the sun

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ El was identified with the obscure deity Yahweh in early Hebrew religion, ultimately giving rise to Hebrew monotheism by the 7th century BCE; 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.
  2. ^ Salo, Unto (2005). Ukko, the Finnish God of Thunder: Separating Pagan Roots from Christian Accretions. Mankind Quarterly.
  3. ^ The Kalevala: Epic of the Finnish People. Compiled by Elias Lönnrot. Translated by Eino Friberg (4th ed.). Otava Publishing Company. 1998. ISBN 951-1-10137-4.
  4. ^ Salo, Unto (1990). Agricola's Ukko in the light of archeology. A chronological and interpretative study of ancient Finnish religion: Old Norse and Finnish religions and cultic place-names. Turku. ISBN 951-649-695-4.
  5. ^ "Miten suomalaiset kiroilivat ennen kristinuskoa?". Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  6. ^ Siikala, Anna-Leena (2012). Itämerensuomalaisten mytologia. SKS.
  7. ^ Krohn, Kaarle (1906). Lappische Beiträge zur germanischen Mythologie. Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen 6.