A God for Everyone

Seem to be running a bit behind this week. He’s Wednesday’s post.

So a few posts ago I wrote about the Goddess. We talked about her many forms and roles. Today we are going to take a look at the other side of the coin, the God.  As a counter part to the Goddess, the God tends to represent strength, vitality, and courage. The God is strong caring, loving, protective and proud.

The Horned God

This is the most primal image of the God. He is an anthropomorphic stag.  He is a sage and a mystic. He is the lover and a dreamer.  He has the agility and stamina of the stag as well. He is consort to the Goddess who granted people healthy babies and successful hunts.  He was the bringer of growth upon the earth.

He is also known as Cernunnos in Europe.  He was considered the personification of the rich soil, the turbulent sky and the rushing waters. Others called him the tall trees, the howl of the wolf and the soaring eagle.  To others he is known as Herne, though some doubt he was ever a deity to begin with.

The horned God is born of the virgin Goddess.  He has no father because he is his own father. Through the year he remains close to the Goddess and the seasons.  As she grows he eventually impregnates her and the cycle begins anew.

He represents the powerful and positive male influence in the world. He is purer than what we stereotypically consider masculine.  When a man strives to emulate the horned god, he allows himself to be wild and free, but not cruel. He is angry without violence and sexual without being coercive. The Horned God is spiritual without being chaste and able to truly love. He is an image of inner power.  He is the unified self where mind, body, and flesh are one.  He is not subservient to the Goddess, but equal.  He is both internal and external. He is accessible to both male and female.

The Green Man

The Green man is like the Mother Goddess. It’s an enduring archetype.  He is the cyclic flow of the cycles of nature. He is a part of everything in nature. He represents fortitude, resilience, fertility and luck. He is a connection to the deepest wisdoms of the Earth: The cycles of life and rebirth, and the living universe.

He appears as a man with leaves for hair and wearing a cloak of leaves. Often a beard of leaves and vines flow from his mouth.  You may have even seen him in some of the older churches or abbeys from the medieval era. He is often tucked away or hidden in small carvings on the ceiling or fountains.

He is the son of the Goddess, just like the horned God. He is a symbol of fertility and luck. He is Tammuz, Dionysus, and Cernunnos. In Rome, he is Bacchus, God of vegetation, wine and divine rapture.  He has many many names. In Arthurian legend he is the Green Knight that tormented Sir Gawain. Even today he is represents a line of canned and frozen veggies.  He’s still popular today as we begin to reconnect to the natural world.

The Oak and Holly King

These are two archetypes prevalent in Europe, particularly England.  They are twin Gods, two side of the same coin, who battle each other at Litha and Yule.  They battle over the Goddess. Each time one is ritually slain.  The one that dies lies there until the next battle where they do it all over again.  Two themes run through their story.  The first is the shift from winter to summer and back. The second is the ritualistic mating and sacrificial death of each in their season.

As we turn to winter the Holly king reigns. At Yule, the Oak king wins and summer comes back into bloom.  Each rules their respective season and brings the elements of that season. Then at Litha the Holy king wins and brings his season back.  Under each the Goddess is mated with and their seed is given.  As they age, they each give their strength back to the land and await their demise.

The Oak King represents innocence, growth and vitality.  The Holly king is the darksome king of the waning year. He represents the wisdom of age, the maturity of the season. They are gods of growth, sacrifice and rebirth.  Other gods of sacrifice and rebirth include Osiris, Tammuz, Balder and Jesus.

The Father or Wise Sage

Similar to the Crone is the Sage.  He is viewed as a creator, protector and teacher.  The Sage often sacrifices himself, or a part of himself, for mankind.  Cernunnos was bound to an oak tree in the woods. He was pierced with darts and his blood was spilled to nourish the ground. Odin was bound to the world tree, Yggdrasil. He hung there for twelve days.  He gave up his right eye so that man could learn about the runes.

Jesus was nailed to the cross, a sacrifice for the sins of his people.  The cross was a symbol or extension of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.  Shiva, beloved of Kali, sacrifices himself to hunger every year so that Kali’s wrath will not destroy the world.  Tyr, of Norse Mythology, gave his hand to Fenrir so that the world could know justice and order.

Not all wise sages sacrifice of themselves however. Zeus and Dagda never sacrificed anything. Regardless, the sage or teacher provides mankind with education and wisdom.  Anubis was the messenger of the Egyptian gods. He taught man about mummification. Ogoun, of Africa, taught the use of the forge.  Belinos, of the Celts, taught farming and animal husbandry.  Many of them are associated with sage, an herb known for supposedly bringing wisdom and insight to those who partake of it.

Sun and Moon Gods

Sun gods are well heard of in mythology. You may hear people speak of Apollo and Ra. Others include Savarog of Russia.  The sun god archetypes are almost universally regarded as beneficial. They are fathers, teachers, leaders, and muses of divine inspiration.  In the old times people recognized that without the sun all life would perish, so they were also revered as givers of life, fertility and creation.  They protected humanity while chasing the harshness of the darkness away each day.

The cultures who see the moon as masculine are generally nomadic.  Fishing and trading are generally their primary concerns.  In these cultures the moon is a protector, guide and guardian as they travel the land.  Chons of Egypt lost a game to Thoth, which caused him to lose his light, waxing and waning, only showing his true face once a month.  The Coyote, or trickster god of the Americas, stole a bag of dark crystals from the Great Mystery and blew them into the heavens. This supposedly created the stars that light the night sky.  Or there is Metzli, of Central America, who grows from a butterfly cocoon.  Moon Gods represent navigation or treachery and deception, like their ever changing face.

Trickster Gods

Not all of the divine is necessarily friendly to humanity.  Some have lessons to teach while others are just cruel for the sake of their own amusement.  Nearly every culture has some sort of trickster God.  Sometimes they double as messengers to the Gods. For example, Hermes is considered a trickster God. Cupid is another. Coyote, leads men astray to let them learn from their own mistakes. Or Loki of Norse mythology who tricks both man and God alike.  Even China has Twen Change, God of Mischief and Inspiration.

To note they are often the patron Gods of fools, liars, lawyers, and politicians.

Death Gods

Death Gods are a creature unto themselves. They tend to represent either one or both of two concepts.  They either rule over the judgement or progress of the soul after death or they represent the trauma and horrors of death.  Gods representing the judgement variety are Osiris and Jehovah. In the larger category are those representing the terror of death.  Ahriman of Persia is the prince of demons. Arawn is the Celtic God of death and war.

The Hero

Sometimes it’s hard to tell where the myth of a God and the myth of a hero begin. Some men were born mortal and were turned into Gods. Generally the hero is a man who has God like powers and uses them to help others.  Due to their endeavors they are eventually elevated to God status.  Hercules, King Arthur, and Cu Chulainn are all examples of the hero archetype. While some discount this section, there are those who do worship these characters of mythology.  However, they do bridge the gap between the human and the divine.

The hero goes on valiant quests.  These are stories that have been passed down orally. Some of them are even based on real events.  Among the stories of King Arthur, there is the search for Mabon, a child God that has gone missing.  It is the child of the Lady of Winter Frost. Assisted by symbolic animals, at Yule, the return of the child brings the light back to the land. Also, did you know that the twelve labors of Hercules represent the twelve zodiac signs as well as the seasons of the year?


There are many faces to the God. In a way is he like a man. His archetypes are generally more straight forward and to the point. And if you noticed there is a lot more overlap here than there is in the Goddess categories. There are some Gods that fit all the categories or at least three of them. Think back to Cernunnos.

Hope you have a blessed weekend.

Blessed Be.

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