Mythological Girls: The Queen of Sheba

The Queen of Sheba appears in many holy texts, including the Jewish and Christian Bibles, the Islamic Qu’rān, and the Ethiopian Kebra Nagast. Despite having no ancient inscriptions dedicated to her, it may be that her myth is rooted in truth. The Sabaean Kingdom existed between approximately 1200 BCE to 275 CE. It included many of the countries in the Horn of Africa, but predominantly Yemen and Ethiopia. The modern Yemenite capital of Marib was believed to be the capital of Saba. The kingdom was well-established during the Classical period, with ancient references to its status made by...

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Mythological Girls: Nagini/Manasā

Nagini is the Sanskrit word for a female deity who takes the form of a large snake, usually a king cobra but occasionally any others in the ‘naja’ genus. Her type appears in the Indian forms of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, where she is occasionally a counterpart to a male ‘naga’. The most prominent nagini in Hinduism is Manasā, the goddess of snakes. She is specifically invoked as a prevention and cure for snakebites, which are common in the region. However, she is also known to be worshipped for fertility and prosperity elements as well. Manasā is predominantly based in Bengal, but can...

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Mythological Girls: Tara

Tara is a world-renowned deity, who predominantly features as a female Buddha in many strains of Buddhism, particularly Tibetan or the ‘Mahayana Tradition’ as it is also known. However, she is also included as one of the Mahavidyas, or the ’10 Divine Mothers’ in Hinduism and an independent deity in India. Tara embodies motherhood, compassion, and wisdom in all pantheons. The Buddhist text Praises to the 21 Taras is one of the most important sources on Tara in Tibetan Buddhism. This hints towards her inception as the female counterpart of Avalokiteshvara, an early bodhisattva or...

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Mythological Girls: Cailleach

Cailleach is a creator and weather deity in Gaelic mythology, portrayed as a hag or older woman. The word ‘Cailleach’ means hag or veiled in Scottish Gaelic. She’s also known as Beira, the deity of the winter in Scottish mythology. The 20th century text Wonder Tales from Scottish Myth and Legend by folklorist Donald Mackenzie, describes her origin as a creator deity. The mountains and hills of Scotland were believed to have been formed while she was walking across her land, and accidentally dropped rocks onto the ground. Other stories show Cailleach placing these rocks intentionally to...

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Mythological Girls: Hel

In Norse mythology, Hel, which means ‘hidden’ in Old Norse, is a being who presides over a realm with the same name. This realm receives a portion of the dead, with the phrase ‘to go to Hel’ meaning to die. Hel is both a giantess and a goddess, and like many others, is featured in the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. The Poetic Edda was made up of early, unclaimed Nordic stories, whereas the Prose Edda was written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. More information on both texts can be found here. Hel is also featured in the earlier 9th century text Heimskringla and the 10th...

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Mythological Girls: Ostara

Ostara, also known as Ēostre, is a Germanic dawn goddess who is widely believed to be the namesake of the Easter festival. She is solely attested as Ēostre in The Reckoning of Time by Bede in the 8th century CE, where it is stated that the month of Ēosturmōnaþ held festivals in her honour. Ēosturmōnaþ is the pagan Anglo-Saxon equivalent of the Easter celebration. These festivals were held throughout April and celebrated fertility and the renewal of life. She is always depicted as a young maiden: old enough to physically bear children but not a mother. Bede continued to say that the...

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Mythological Girls: Pachamama

Pachamama is an Incan fertility goddess who is still worshipped by several indigenous tribes in the Andes. She’s also known as ‘Mother Nature’, ‘Earth Mother’ and ‘Time Mother’ and is seen with a primordial feminine image. In Incan mythology, she was a dragon deity, who presided over the harvests. She lived in the mountains and personified the earth alongside her husband Inti, the sun god. Pachamama is still believed to be a present force by some, who can cause earthquakes if she is displeased. Originally her priests would have sacrificed llamas and guinea pigs to appease her,...

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Mythological Girls: Julunggul, the Rainbow Serpent

Julunggul is one of the many Aborigine names for the ‘Rainbow Serpent’ in Australia, whose name and gender varies depending on the origin tribe. She is both a creator and fertility goddess, and represents the rains and oceans which are believed to be the bringers of life. Julunggul herself represents beauty, fertility and health, with her symbols being colourful flowers and rainbows. As the Rainbow Serpent, she is described as ‘flowing’ into her believer’s lives, in order to bring them children and the art of healing. She is embodied in the oceans and waterfalls, as well as housed...

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Mythological Girls: Bachué

Bachué is the mother goddess and master of the Muisca or Chibcha culture, an ancient Colombian civilisation. They were native to the area now known as Bogotá, and gained fame as the origin of the El Dorado legend. Bachué was believed to have emerged from the waters of the Iguaque Lake surrounded by light, holding a three-year-old baby in her arms. They walked to the plains surrounding the lake and built a hut, which was then considered to be the first Chibcha dwelling. Following this, her centre of worship became a temple in the San Pedro de Iguaque area. In the years that followed, her...

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Mythological Girls: Minerva

Minerva was the Roman deity of wisdom and warfare, as well as a patron of the arts. A prophecy was told to Jupiter that his relationship with the Titaness Metis would bear a child powerful enough to overthrow him. In response, Jupiter swallowed her to neutralise the threat. However, Metis was already pregnant with Minerva and set about crafting armour for her daughter. This forging gave Jupiter a headache and he persuaded Vulcan, the god of metallurgy to split his head open with a hammer. As a result, Minerva emerged from the cleft bearing the armour and weapons of her mother. Minerva was...

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