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Inventing a Goddess – How Many?

There are several tangled backstories to this tale.  Many are threads that go back a score or more years (score sounds much more elegant than 20, which just makes me feel old!).  A few are knotted and loop  back around.  So I will begin at the title and work back from there: Inventing a Goddess.

Step 1: Whittle down to a meaningful and workable number.

In part one, I brainstormed various personifications that are common to many classic mythologies just to have a variety and whittled down from there.  All of them ended fitting under the umbrellas of my original six entities so I discarded them.  However,  that chart ended up being a pretty helpful prompt to get started on this stage

The number, names, order, or qualities of these primal entities was less important than creating a set of distinct forces.  I brainstormed others as well as looked to traditional mythologies.  Night, Sky,  primal Ocean, Earth, Death, Destruction, Sun, Moon, Nature/Mother earth, Wisdom, Fire Female, Male were all common themes.  To narrow the cast, I compared each to the steps of my creation story.  None seemed to articulate an additional step to add to the six, nor did any fit as an umbrella to combine two of the six.  Earth could be an aspect of Matter, Sun a form of Energy, etc.  So six was decided.

Some other common numbers could have been 4 (directions, elements), 5 (pentacle, elements plus spirit, fire digits, five senses), 7 (classical planets, days of the week), and so on.  So another approach could have been to start with a number that has personal meaning and brainstorm forces that divide into it.

night primal ocean moon Logic/Wisdom sun earth
death destruction Sky/Heaven justice fire nature
        male female


I happen to like odd numbers better than even, matchy pairs or quads.  I like three  in particular, maybe because the School House Rocks “Three is a Magic Number” was the catchiest track.  As a result, much of the esoteric symbolism I already employ is base-three:

  • Maiden, Mother, Crone
  • white, red, black
  • waxing, full, waning moon
  • underworld, middleworld, upperworld

Going back to the primary entities on the drawing board, a set of six fits perfectly under the umbrella of a trinity!  Another reason to stop tinkering and stick with six.

Step 2: Keep brainstorming.

Using the table above, I began listing out symbols, actions, emotions, and other forces that I associate with the ones I has already generated.  This process, was pure brainstorming and word association.  I didn’t want to pressure myself to overthink and get creative block so I just listed whatever came to mind, reminding myself I could add, remove, or switch a word to another column later.  I experimented with the Vokaor 6 x 6 grid, but in the end, I found it more natural to let the six entities be more narrative driven than sort of alchemically combined into 36 combinations.

night primal ocean moon Logic/Wisdom sun earth
death destruction Sky/Heaven justice fire nature
underworld war  the soul  time male female
crone evolution  intuition  physics warrior the five senses
silence creation  empathy  structure passion animals
oblivion trickster  spirituality   north star creativity fertility
transcendence temptation  divination  structure art/craft ancestors
mystery sickle  rabbit (lunar) owl spear, arrow love
black crossroad upperworld  bear red horns, fur
crow west maiden  ritual smith stag
cave snake       dawn



One very productive effect of this process was reevaluating my own attitudes and cultural bias to certain concepts.  I found that the Unknown/Chaos and Consciousness/Order had many words that I had trouble assigning to one or the other.   I noticed that I often conflated Chaotic forces of change, destruction, or upheaval with Unknown forces of entropy, nothingness, and void.   Philosophically and spiritually, I view Chaos and Void as different forces.  Chaos is change: destruction and creation together.  The Unknown is oblivion; a vacuum where change and Chaos don’t even occur because there is nothing nor any time for them to occur.  Despite this personal distinction, I found myself falling back on more conventional Western stereotypes where the two are lumped into a single “dark,”  “negative,” clthonic force.  Change and death are “bad” and progress or the maintenance of the status quo is desirable or “good.”  It was quite shocking to see right there on paper how strongly this pervasive  attitude affects my labeling of the world even when those categories don’t resonate with my logical or intuitive minds.

further reading:
Grimoire of the Vokaor
Owlsiprit, Katara Zunmir’s site

related post:
Inventing a Goddess – Creation
Inventing a Goddess – Archetypes
Inventing a Goddess – Combining Paradigms
Inventing a Goddess- Colors

4 thoughts on “Inventing a Goddess – How Many?”

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