The Dark Goddess is a potent feminine force that takes many different forms around the world.
She finds form in deities such as Kali and Lilith, Nyx and Nepthys. And she embodies qualities of chaos and sexual freedom, magic, and transformation.
But an exploration into her many facets is not for the faint hearted…
Popular culture LOVES to jump on a bandwagon, and have you noticed recently that everywhere you look, the Dark Goddess is being commodified? Her wisdom packaged up, and turned into something more for you to consume?
It isn’t okay. So this article is an attempt to cut through the New Age misinformation and distortion *still* being placed on this sacred feminine force. And it’s an offering too – a collection of ideas, archetypes, and pathways for YOU to try out, to awaken the dark Goddess in you and your life.
But remember – the feminine is embodied.
So it’s not enough to simply read words on a page and get some ‘understanding’. The Dark Goddess lives through us… so if you’re curious, then maybe she wants to live through you too?
Here’s what’s in this article…
Who + what is the Dark Goddess?
Qualities, roles, traits, tools + territories of the Dark Goddess
Light vs Dark
Why work with the Dark Goddess?
13 Incredible Dark Goddesses
Who (+ what) is the Dark Goddess?
I think the dark Goddess is still largely misunderstood. She’s doesn’t oppose the other “lighter” Divine Feminine forces of our world (and beyond), like some people think. But she’s present alongside them. These lighter archetypal deities often take a maiden or mother form, maybe you’re familiar with some of them?
Often the Dark Goddess takes the form of a sacred crone Goddess.
These deities possess qualities that are mysterious, magical, chaotic, destructive, violent, and transformational.
Unlike the maiden or mother Goddesses who are usually young, pure, innocent, fertile, beautiful and agreeable, these Goddesses of the dark walk a crooked path and hold qualities that challenge, disrupt and create chaos and disorder. Because of this, they’re seen as wild, uncontrollable, and untamed.
And as you may guess…
Over the centuries of patriarchal control on our planet, anything that’s been seen as uncontrollable, is also seen as a threat to authority.
So perhaps more than any other aspect of the feminine, the Dark Goddess has been systematically shunned, suppressed, and distorted.
What’s emerged instead (and is still emerging in popular culture, books, TV, and movies) is misleading information, distorted ‘versions’ of the Goddess that aren’t sacred at all, but parodies of her, designed to keep her truth buried.
SO who are the true Dark Goddesses?
The Dark Goddess has taken many forms. Some of these are:
• Baba Yaga
• The Cailleach Béara
• The Mórrígan
These are deities of power, death, and destruction, and also of transformation, regeneration, and rebirth.
Their work and influence is mysterious, magical and esoteric. Their power can’t be defined in ways our culture tends to uphold or allow “feminine” power to be. So their strength exists outside of the realms of what we perceive “feminine” to be.
You may also like: 25 Signs of Blocked Feminine Energy (and how to Free the Flow…)
Qualities, roles, traits, tools + territories of the Dark Goddess
The Dark Goddesses usually aren’t typically beautiful (though they may be).
They aren’t round-bellied and fertile.
And they don’t depend on a male deity to provide for them or give them a role.
The myths of these darker deities tell of them living on the fringes, alone or with animals.
They may tend to the dead or dying.
They may be guardians of thresholds – crossing places in this world, or between the realms of the living and the dead. Some may dwell in the Underworld, or deep within the Earth herself.
They may dance in shadows, deep in the forests and deeper still in the unknowable realms of the unconscious.
But Goddesses of the dark aren’t the wicked witch who lives in a hut in the woods, with a pointed black hat and a wart on her nose!
The Dark Goddess is multifaceted
… A rich expression of the Earth herself, powered by erotic + sexual energy that’s hers and hers alone.
She may be the temptress, the sorceress, or the devourer. Or non of these. She lives beyond the realms of what is easy to define.
The tools of the Dark Goddess are magical
Whether torches or keys, herbs or fruits, the instruments these dark Goddesses use to wield their power have many meanings – not all are straightforward. And this can be threatening to the uninitiated.
Goddesses of the Dark walk where mortals fear to tread
In myths and stories, it’s usually the Dark Goddess who lives in the forest, enters the cave, and leads souls into the Underworld…
She takes a risk.
She faces fear.
And she walks towards what’s painful and scary.
Humans tend to actively avoid pain and discomfort, so the idea of working with dark Goddess energy seems pretty counterintuitive. (And in New Age circles of “love and light” entering the dark is a big no-no, if you’re trying to “keep your vibe high!”). It’s no wonder people have spent centuries avoiding diving into the mysteries of the Dark Goddess!
But She doesn’t walk this path because she’s naïve, reckless or crazy (though that could be what you’ve been led to believe…) The Dark Goddess turns her focus towards the darkness because she knows THAT is where true transformation happens.
Light vs Dark
Light and dark aren’t as straightforward as you may think! They’re concepts that have been appropriated, distorted, and used for power and control, for centuries.
Under the patriarchal paradigm of control that we’re still living in today, a LOT of time and effort’s been spent convincing you that light = good, and dark = evil.
But not only that. Also:
- Light = pure, innocent, holy, clean, healthy, ordered…
- Dark = impure, contaminated, demonic, dirty, dangerous, chaotic, messy crazy…
Dark is the underbelly, isn’t it?
The unwanted and undesirable…
It’s all the parts of life that we don’t want to look at (and if you do? Then there must be something wrong with you, heathen…)
But there’s more.
And here’s where it gets interesting…
The Judeo/Christian religions believe in a God that sits in the heavens. To reach Him (and your own salvation) temptations of the flesh like sex and pleasure must be avoided at all costs! So the route to salvation became one of “ascension” through focusing the mind and rejecting the material.
So a split happened.
A split in the human psyche, where the mind and the intellect are prized, and the body is something to escape from. And in the majority of world religions, this is literally what happens at death – we finally escape the confines of these bodies we’ve been subjected to!
It’s a program that RUNS DEEP…
The Dark Goddess lives in the material
She is the Earth.
She is the temptations of flesh and sex and pleasure! She is mess and chaos. And she’s YOUR body.. your female body that’s the container for all of humanities projections of unconscious love and lust, and fear and hate.
So along with the material, the body and the unconscious, the Dark Goddess got rejected too.
So now, do you see? There is a LOT of work needed, to bring her back…
Need to read up on the dark feminine?
Read this post next – What is dark feminine energy?
Why work with the Dark Goddess?
OK, so you’re curious. But knowing WHY you personally want to work with the Dark Goddess, and cultivate a relationship will keep you on track. Any or all of these “whys” may resonate…
1. If you’re into the Divine Feminine, working with the Dark Goddess is unavoidable!
To accept only the “Lighter” sides of this stream of lifeforce is half the work.
It’s not to say you must spend all of your time working with the dark Goddess, but you can’t sure avoid her.
2. She’ll help you crush the patriarchy!
One of the most devious tools of patriarchy is to feed us a model of the Divine Feminine that is half-baked. Leading you to believe the feminine is ONLY light, soft, receptive, nurturing, fluffy and kind (aka agreeable to whatever is thrown at her) means that you’ll ultimately be upholding the system designed to keep you small.
This is a tricky web to unravel, but it’s SO important, especially in New Age circles.
But truly embracing the Dark Goddess, and channeling HER through your life, will break this spell.
3. The Dark Goddess can deepen any spiritual practice
Working with the Dark Goddess will open up the entire spectrum of the human experience… which is ALL sacred!
We exist in a world of duality, but the dark is still often seen as less than. Because the Dark Goddess is the vessel for what SO much of humanity has been conditioned to reject, working with her is a way to re-integrate ALL of you.
4. She’s a guide into Shadow work
The Dark Goddess dwells in the underworld, so She knows the ways through it. She has become not only a metaphor for the darker, unconscious pieces of the psyche but a truth seeker too.
The dark Goddess contains the archetypes that you need, to be brave and willing enough to face your own shadow. Ask her, and she will guide you through yours.
5. She’s a Goddess of transformation
Our entire world is transforming.
Structures are crumbling and systems that have confined us for millennia are losing their grip. BUT the next phase of human evolution won’t just appear.. we need to transform ourselves so that it’s born through us.
Many of the dark Goddesses are deities of transformation – they can hold us through this.
6. The Dark Goddess will humble you
I’ll say it: Most humans still have a superiority complex.
Even in our spiritual work with Gods and Goddesses, we ask them for help to sort out OUR problems! To guide us towards OUR desires!
But the Dark Goddess won’t easily pander to this.
These divine forces are hugely powerful and their domains stretch much further than our human concerns. They aren’t here to simply help you achieve some specific goal that you want. So to open up a relationship with the Dark Goddess needs to total reframe in perspective, and this can be incredibly humbling.
13 Incredible Dark Goddesses
There are probably thousands of expressions of the Dark Goddess all over the globe, from every culture and mythology, past present and future!
…And don’t forget that many more will have been buried and even forgotten about over centuries past. Some will have had their stories changed, even re-written to become more favourable to the dominant narrative. Perhaps we’ll never really know their truth.
I’ve chosen 13 to describe here (because 13 IS the number of the Goddess 😉).
These Dark deities are powerful
So if you choose to awaken their power and invite them into your life… do so at your own risk. Seriously. And do your own additional research too. This includes meditating, dreaming, and journeying with them to access your own gnosis – not merely trusting the words of someone else.
Hecate is one of the most ancient Greek Goddesses. She likely precedes the Olympians, going as far back as the Cybele cults, into older, pre-historic times.
Myths of Hecate
Hecate was the daughter of Perses and Asteria, but not a lot more is really known about her stories. Only that it was Hecate who witnessed the abduction of Persephone by Hades when he took her into the Underworld. It was Hecate who told her mother Demeter what had happened to her daughter, and assisted in the search for her, guiding the way with her torches.
Hecate’s power + associations
Hecate is associated with the underworld, thresholds, entrances, and crossing places. When at a crossroads, this dark Goddess is sometimes depicted with three heads, alluding to her triple goddess status.
She’s often revered as the Goddess of death, necromancy, sorcery, magic and witchcraft. Also of the night and the dark Moon.
Witches call upon her for transformational spell work and magic, and at any life-changing event, or in times of transition such as death and childbirth.
In fact, Hecate one of the most popular Dark Goddesses, seeming to step forward willingly, when called upon for help. She’s also a psychopomp, acting as a guide for souls as they cross over from this life to the next.
Hecate is also a go-go guide for personal shadow work as this is a transformational healing practice. She can be the torchbearer, leading you into your own personal underworld, illuminating the fragments of your shadow self that need to be healed and integrated.
Tools, symbols + offerings for Hecate
- Lit torches
- Dogs / black dogs / 3-headed dogs
- Plums, dates
- The dark Moon
- Dark or deep red (blood-coloured) crystals like obsidian, onyx, black tourmaline, bloodstone/heliotrope.
Read more about Hecate in ancient and modern times HERE
Another powerful greek Goddess, Circe is an enchantress and mistress of magic.
Myths of Circe
Circe was the daughter of Sun God Helios and Perse, an oceanic nymph. She’s supposed to have gained rulership of the Colchis (a kingdom on the Black Sea) by marrying its Prince, and then murdering him so she could rule alone.
But soon afterward, she fled to the Island of Aeaea where she lived alone but guarded by lions, wolves, and a number of other loyal animals.
Her most famous myth appears in Homer’s Odyssey, and tells of when Odysseus was shipwrecked on Aeaea, and the enchantress Circe turned all of his men into swine.
Circe’s power + associations
Circes was an expert in sorcery, spells + witchcraft, herbalism, plant magic, potions, and enchantments of all other kinds.
Her supernatural powers were unmatched, so she’s often called upon today, by modern magical mavens for support in spells and rituals. And with her technical expertise, Circe is an incredibly useful Goddess for those involved in advanced magic, either crafting or perfecting complex techniques.
Her way with the wild beasts of Aeaea – the island of her confinement – makes Circe an ideal ally for those taming or working with animals.
And as a dark Goddess who lived alone, Circe can help in matters of loneliness, isolation, loss and acceptance, and adaptation.
Tools, symbols + offerings for Circe
- A wand (Circe used hers when she transformed Odysseus’ men into swine)
- Pigs, lions, wolves
- Nature, especially the wilder sites
- A cup or chalice
- A loom (when Odysseus arrives on her island, Circe was weaving at a huge loom and weaving features largely in her magical work)
- Other medicinal + poison plants
Lilith’s origins may stretch as far back as ancient Mesopotamia where demons were known as lilû, or lilītu. This word can be translated as “night monster.”
Myths of Lilith
There are many (slightly different) details spanning the stories of Lilith. But it’s generally agreed she was the first wife of Adam, long before Eve was created from one of his ribs.
Lilith was created from the Earth, like Adam, so was his equal.
…But she refused to ‘lay under’ him and would not allow be dominated by him. So Lilith was banished from the garden of Eden (though in some myths, she left of her own accord). Cast out from God’s love, the wild woman became demonised, a succubus who preyed on pregnant women and infants.
In Jewish folklore, Lilith is depicted as the ultimate she-demon. Even the first-ever vampire.
Lilith’s power + associations
This all sounds pretty extreme, eh? But most of the stories around Lilith have a distinctly patriarchal slant – the spurned woman, who after refusing to submit to both Adam and the male God, became bitter and evil, taking out her rage on unsuspecting innocents?
But to many modern women, Lilith has become an icon of feminine freedom. Her story is one of liberation and equality. And not only that, but a return to the wilds – to the untamed nature that many modern women are also seeking.
For these reasons, Lilith is held up by many a dark Goddess of strength and freedom. Pagans, Wiccans and modern-day witches may work with her, as a Goddess who refused to fit the mould and blend in.
She is beloved to women who want to regain their personal power. And Lilith can also be called upon to forge a path back to a more natural state of living and being: To help strip back the conditioning of our patriarchal world.
Tools, symbols + offerings for Lilith
- The wind
- The moon (dark Moon especially)
- Sex magic + eroticism
- Snakes / serpent
- The Lilith glyph
4. Baba Yaga
Baba Yaga is a Slavic crone Goddess whose tales span from eastern Europe to Russia.
Although she features in numerous folk stories as a hag witch, it’s thought that her origins are grander, and she was once a dark Goddess in her own right.
Myths of Baba Yaga
Baba Yaga lives in the deep forest in a house with chicken legs. She flies around in a pestle and mortar and like Hecate, may be a psychopomp, guiding weary souls from this world into the next.
The most famous tale that features Baba Yaga is Vasilisa the Wise. A young maiden (Vasalisa) is sent deep into the forest to request fire from the old crone. Baba Yaga makes her do a series of chores – which are really female initiations – before Vasalisa wins the gift of fire and can return home.
A version of this story can be found in Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run with the Wolves.
The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson (for older children) is a brilliant modern take on the Russian Fairytale.
Baba Yaga’s power + associations
Baba Yaga’s myth involves a young, quite naïve girl facing true adversity, overcoming her self-doubt, and discovering just how strong and resourceful she really is. Notably, Vasalisa also realises she is guided and supported by her ancestors.
Therefore, Baba Yaga is a dark Goddess who can help reveal your true nature. The grandmother Goddess is a true way-shower for finding your own authenticity.
As a wrinkled, haggard old woman she teaches deep self-respect and even self-love, at the hardest of times.
Through tough love, she’ll assist you in finding your inner fire.
Some modern witches will call on her to overcome significant trouble, problems, and self-doubt.
As one of the more mythical and ancient psychopomps, Baba Yaga can also called upon to assist metaphorical death – when you need to make a tough choice to let something go, Baba Yaga will help not only with this, but with the regeneration that follows.
Tools, symbols + offerings for Baba Yaga
- Pestle and mortar
- House with chicken legs
- Sculls + bones
- Samhain (Halloween / All Hallows Eve)
Persephone is a maiden Goddess – unusual as most Dark Goddesses are crones. Her story is well known, though like most Greek myths it’s been subjected to distortion over the centuries.
Myths of Persephone
Unbeknownst to her, Persephone’s father Zeus promised Persephone’s hand in marriage to his brother Hades (her uncle) King of the Underworld.
Growing impatient, Hades one day noticed Persephone out in the meadows with her handmaidens. As she reached down to pick a narcissus flower, the ground beneath her opened up and Hades appeared, seizing and kidnapping Persephone deep into the underworld below.
Her crestfallen mother Demeter (mother of Grain) searched for her everywhere, forgetting all else, so the crops in the fields begin to fail.
Meanwhile, in the underworld, Persephone eats six pomegranate seeds that Hades offers to her. According to the Fates, when any food is consumed in the underworld, you are compelled to stay there. BUT Zeus comes up with a compromise and it’s agreed that Persphone is to spend half the year above ground with her mother, and the other six months with her husband below ground.
Persephone’s power + associations
Persephone is a Dark Goddess who will teach you about transitions, and your personal seasons of growth and decay. So if you need support moving through the cycles of your life, she’s a great guide to call upon.
Many modern readings of her myth strip back the idea that she was somehow a victim of her abduction.
What if she went willingly?
What if this is really a story about Persephone initiating herself into her adulthood? Entering her own underworld and facing her wounds and her shadow with her head held high?
Looking through this lens, Persphone is a real Queen of shadow who found a way to walk the paths of light and dark – no small feat. So she is an edge walker, and often called upon my modern women who need help holding both their lighter and darker aspects simultaneously. For this reason, you can work with Persphone if you are starting out on your shadow work journey.
Tools, symbols + offerings for Persephone
- Pomegranates, seeds + juice
- Seeds of grain
- A crown
- Flowers (especially narcissus + other spring flowers)
- Floral scents
- Flower crowns or garlands
In the pre-Olympian creation myths, Nyx was one of the primordial Gods who emerged at the dawn of creation.
She is the Goddess of the Night, and even though considered a minor Goddess, she has an overall HUGE domain!
Myths of Nyx
Daughter of Chaos, Nyx was fearsome from the offset. But as one of the most beautiful deities of all, she cast an almost supernatural spell of allure over both gods and mortal men. Nyx was possibly sister to Erebus (darkness), Gaia (Earth), and Tartarus (the Underworld).
Nyx produced (amongst other offspring) Age, Fate, and Death – ! And in some very early Greek myths, many demonic figures are also attributed to her, being described as “daughters of night”.
It’s said that at Sunset, Nyx set out in her chariot, trailing darkness behind her…
Nyx’s power + associations
As Goddess of the night, Nyx has domain over the sundown hours. She rules the mysteries of the darkness, including divination practices and tools, and prophetic arts like scrying, pendulums, crystal balls, and black mirrors, gifting you the ability to “see” in the dark.
Some myths also describe her as a prophetess, offering oracles from a cave.
If you want a boost to your intuition, try calling on Nyx to help you to bring forth the wealth of wisdom and knowledge that originates in the darkness. In some cases, she may even aid you in foretelling the future!
As a dark Goddess of the night, Nyx is a favourite of astrologers – she really can help if this is your chosen art.
The ancient Greeks believed that Nyx could bring the gift of sleep, so she is a Goddess who can be called upon in dreamwork. You can call her into your dreams where she’ll bring truth and clarity, though be sure to make offerings to her first (see below).
Yet Nyx could also bring the curse of death. So the Greeks made her a mistress of the underworld, where she remains a guide on personal journeys through the shadow.
Nyx may also be of help with ancestral connection and healing work.
This primordial Goddess is often described as having a shifting, mysterious, misty form, rather than a body. Therefore she may be called upon in astral work or even very esoteric shape-shifting practices.
Tools, symbols + offerings for Nyx
- The night
- Night-blooming flowers
- The Dark Moon
- Divination tools such as: Crystal ball, pendulum, tarot, black mirror
- A black veil
Probably THE best-known dark goddess around the world… Before I knew of any European dark Goddesses, I knew about Kali Maa. I’m guessing you do too…
Myths of Kali
Kali is an ancient and terrifying Goddess from the Indian Pantheon.
She’s the destructive aspect of Parvati (the caring wife of Shiva) and Durga (the warrior and protector Goddess) who – in order to fight a demon that no other God could touch – transformed herself into Kali.
Kali is portrayed as a blue woman with many arms. She has sharp teeth, a long red tongue that hangs out of her mouth, a necklace of skulls, and a skirt made of the limbs of her enemies.
Her Hindu myths tell of her becoming so drunk from drinking the blood of the demon she’d slain, she rampaged across the battlefield killing everything in sight! So she is wild, destructive, and chaotic. Yet her true purpose is to purge the land and cleanse the Earth of evil.
Kali’s power + associations
Although Kali is a fierce and fearsome Goddess, she is scary only to those who don’t know her – and aren’t willing to face their own fears.
So she’s a dark deity who can really help you move through your own fear-based emotions, and the blocks they create in your life that hold you back. Call on her if you need help with jealousy, pride, or unhealthy anger.
Her methods use tough love – like a mother Goddess who wants only the best for her children. But don’t expect to be treated with gentleness if you work with Kali. You’ll need to summon courage and strength, for her to help clear the path ahead.
You may also like: What is the Devouring Mother Archetype?
As a destructor Goddess, Kali is often called upon by witches during times of transformation. She’ll burn away all that no longer serves you, but her influence isn’t reckless. Her motivation is deep love and compassion – IF you’re also prepared to do the work to rebuild your life back up.
Kali is also a Goddess of self-realization and authenticity.
She asks us to willingly release beliefs, programs, and conditioning that may have been etched into your life for decades. But beneath the mask of unworthiness lies the deeper truth of your existence – and as a creator goddess, Kali will help you discover and nurture this.
Tools, symbols + offerings for Kali
- Knives + swords
- Fire + ash
- Menstrual blood
- Dance + tantric rites
- Peacock feathers
8. The Morrígan
A triple Goddess, the Morrígan (also known as Morrígu) is often described as “the Phantom Queen.
She’s the Irish Goddess of war and fate whose domain is the battlefield. She can foretell victories, losses, and impending death. In some myths, she is a trio of sisters, in others, she appears alongside her 2 sisters Badb and Macha.
Myths of the Morrígan
One of the most well-loved Irish tales of the Morrígan describes her falling in love with the great warrior, Cu Chulainn, the day before he entered battle with Queen Maeve in Ulster.
The Morrígan tried many different guises to get his attention – shapeshifting first into an eel, then into a wolf, then into a cow. At every turn, the warrior fought her off (not realising each animal was the Morrígan trying to seduce him!) each time, causing further injury to her.
Finally, weary and tired after a long battle Cu Chulainn met an old woman milking a cow. The old woman was really the Morrígan, having shape-shifted once more.
She gave him a glass of milk, and upon drinking it he blessed her, and the Morrígan was healed from her injuries.
The Morrígan is most well-known to shapeshift into a crow, appearing over battlefields, and prophesising those warriors who are nearing death.
The Morrígan’s power + associations
A dark Goddess of witchcraft, magic, and prophesy, the Morrígan is beloved of witches and Wiccans. She is often called on to reveal things hidden in plain sight, as well as illusions more deeply buried.
As a gifted shape-shifter, the Morrígan is a deeply magical Goddess who is also cunning, using her ability to fool and trick opponents, but also to work efficiently WITH the forces of nature.
She can guide you into the esoteric and ancient arts of shape-shifting, offering a hidden pathway into the complex web of life.
Dwelling on battlefields, the Morrígan teaches us of regeneration and the mysteries of rebirth.
So this powerful Irish deity can act as a guide on your own path of becoming, helping you to understand and come to terms with your own cyclical nature.
She can also be called upon if you’re going into a metaphorical battle. If you have a court hearing coming up, a meeting with a difficult boss, or are facing some kind of opponent in your life, the Morrígan will be both a fierce protector and can help call in a swift defeat.
Tools, symbols + offerings for the Morrígan
- Crows + ravens
- Black feathers
- Cows + bulls
- Red wine
- Blood + menstrual blood
- Relics of war
Oya is a potent African archetypal Goddess, known to be a fierce and unbeatable warrior.
She’s also elemental in nature – ruling extreme weather, such as wind, rain, thunder, and lightning; as well as death and rebirth.
Myths of Oya
Oya is known throughout Africa, in the Yoruba religion, as Oya Yoruba or Oya Orisha – a powerful Spirit in human form.
Oya had a brother, Shango the Storm God (in some myths Shango was her husband), and was born to the Goddess Yemaya: the Great Sea Mother.
Some myths say that Oya could only give birth to stillborn babies. But other myths tell of a great sacrifice she made, allowing her to have four sets of twins, plus one more child – nine daughters in total.
Oya is Queen of the Niger river. And she holds many more roles in African mythology, from being the Goddess of destruction, change, and protection, to death and funeral rites.
Oya’s power + associations
Oya is an exceptionally powerful deity. Controller of the most destructive elements, she can be called upon to cast aside what’s not needed, and forge a new path ahead.
She’s not afraid to stand at the center of the storm, and will encourage you to do the same – not as an act of defiance, but of self-empowerment. Oya will teach you about the personal power you hold, and spur you into action.
For this reason, modern witches summon Oya in challenging times, when the way ahead seems blocked. But she’s also a true tour de force when your life simply needs a big shake-up!
Oya’s mysteries were originally passed from mother to daughter, and kept between sacred sisterhood. So she also stands as a dark Goddess of female empowerment. Where bonds of sisterhood are weak, Oya may be called in to make them strong.
And realise, that when invoking Oya in your magical work, you’re also calling upon her nine daughters (She is known as the Mother of 9). Maybe this is where her reputation for magical force comes from.
As a Goddess of the elements, I think there is huge potential for humbly calling on Oya in our times of climate crisis, global pollution, and deforestation. She will not solve the world’s problems for us, but as a deity of the Earth, she will speak and act for her when needed.
Tools, symbols + offerings for Oya
- Purple / dark burgundy
- Wind, storms, tornados
- Horns / a horned hat or turban
- Swords / machete
- The number 9
The Egyptian Lioness Goddess Sekhmet is another Deity of War. With a female body and the head of a lion, she possesses an unmatched ferocity and an almost insatiable bloodlust.
Believed by some to cause plagues in ancient times, Sekhmet is also a Goddess of healing.
Myths of Sekhmet
Various myths surround Sekhmet. Daughter of the Sun God Ra, some ancient Egyptian stories say she was actually a terrifying aspect of the Mother Goddess Hathor, whilst others align her with Bast, the playful feline Goddess.
In one tale, after winning a bloody battle Sekhmet’s rage couldn’t be contained. The Gods sent Ra to quell her bloodlust, so he turned the Nile red and invited the great Lioness to drink from it. Her thirst was quenched and she collapsed into a stupor.
Sekhmet’s power + associations
Sekhmet is an ancient destructress.
At home on the battlefield, she’s a Goddess to be called upon when blocks need removing and falsity burned to the ground. She carries the heat of the desert on her breath, and will help you commit to the flames whatever you’re ready to release.
She’s fierce, and a great ally if you need to channel strong emotions like rage and anger.
These feelings aren’t bad.
Women have been taught for centuries that rage is a negative thing, and should be suppressed. But to Sekhmet, it’s a force of HUGE elemental power. She’s an incredible ally if you need help realising this, and She’ll guide you to channel your rage in true alchemical ways.
Like almost all of the Dark Goddesses here, Sekhmet doesn’t have time for those who won’t go all-in with their own transformation. SO only call upon her if you have the time and capacity for her roaring might!
Tools, symbols + offerings for Sekhmet
Lions + lions head
The Sun + sun disc
The colour red
Red linen or cotton
Another Goddess of War, Freya is also the Norse Goddess of love, sex, lust, beauty, fertility, witchcraft and seiðr (Old Norse magic).
She’s a multifaceted and multi-talented deity beloved in Northern Europe and the Scandinavian lands.
Myths of Freya
Freya was known for her beauty. And even as a Goddess of the battlefield, men adored her and were frequently struck by her irresistible sexuality.
Norse tales tell that in battle, Odin received one half of the dead, while Freya received the other. Together with her maidens – the Valkyries – She gathered the bodies of those slain. Yet unlike some Gods and Goddesses of war, Freya wasn’t feared, but rather desired!
The huge amber and gold jewel hanging around Freya’s neck – Brísingamen – was believed to contain the power of the four elements. It’s said she often appeared naked but for this magnificent necklace, and a cloak of falcon feathers around her shoulders. She rode in a chariot pulled by two cats, and a boar.
Freya’s power + associations
In Stacey DeMarco’s Goddesses and Sirens, she describes Freya as holding the power of Irresistibility.
Her strong sexuality, the power she held over men, and her magical prowess all make her a potent spiritual guide for magical work involving sexual and creative energy. If you’ve lost your mojo, then cultivating a relationship with the Goddess Freya will help you re-ignite you passion and desire.
But Freya is also a high mistress of magic – in the Norse pantheon, alongside Odin she has absolute domain over sorcery and magic! This makes her a powerful ally for those with Scandinavian ancestry, exploring the elemental magic of the North.
She’s often called on my modern magic-makers and spell-casters, for rituals to build confidence and self-esteem, and also in matters of the heart, as her domain also includes love and emotion.
Tools, symbols + offerings for Freya
Brísingamen necklace (or other gold and amber jewellery)
Feathers, especially falcon fathers
Honey + mead
12. Morgan le Fay
Is Morgan le Fay a Dark Goddess? She’s a mythical heroine – and powerful sorceress – from the Arthurian Legends, and an archetypal figure, a glistening form for the dark feminine energy we’ve been discussing here in this article already.
… And she is here because she is MY favourite of all 😉
Myths of Morgan le Fay
Morgan le Fay is often confused with Queen Morgause her sister, both children of Igraine, and her first husband Gerloise, Duke of Cornwall. So Morgan la Fay was King Arthurs’ half-sister.
She trained with the great Merlin, sorcerer of Avalon yet her mythic roots probably descend further back – her name alignes her with the Fates, with the kingdom of the Fay (great and powerful fairies) and she may even have originally emerged from an ancient water Goddess.
It’s said that after being jilted by a knight, Morgan le Fay became bitter and created the Perilous Valley, a place where unfaithful knights were forever lost.
When her brother came to the throne, it’s told that Morgan’s bitterness and envy consumed her, and it was she who plotted the end of his life.
But her stories have evolved and been re-written, like so many. That she’s been painted as King Arthur’s dark and wicked enemy is likely not how the original tales were told. And at the very end of his life, Arthur returned to his sister. She was the one to give him healing and sanctuary.
Morgan le Fay’s power + associations
Morgan le Fay is a true Mistress of magic.
Trained by the Fay Folk themselves, she learned her crafts directly from the elementals and magical creatures of the Earth. A gifted spell crafter, she is petitioned by many witches, Wiccans, and pagans today. She’ll direct and amplify your magic, elixir, and potion making, imparting her skill and finesse!
As a dark Goddess whose stories and character have been manipulated over the centuries, Morgan is no stranger to being misunderstood. So she’s a Spirit who can help if you’re facing the repercussions of character assassination, or are even wrapped up in a family feud.
Morgan is also a shape-shifting Goddess, so like the Morrígan, she can offer us more than the ordinary routes, to traverse the web of life.
Like so many of the dark Goddesses, Morgan le Fay can also be called upon in your own shadow work practice. Her skills can be utilized for the transmutation of old patterns, and negative programs into the golden shadow potential we all have within.
Tools, symbols + offerings for Morgan le Fay
- Crescent Moon
- Magical tools such as potion bottles
- A black veil
Erishkigal is the Sumerian Queen of the Dead, and ruler of the underworld. She may have been the older sister of the Goddess Innana, who you may have heard of.
Myths of Ereshkigal
Erishkigal reined over the wilderness. It is said she lived in a palace built of lapis lazuli at the end of the world, where she beckoned the dead towards her.
In the Sumerian poem ‘the descent of Inanna, the goddess Inanna descends into the underworld, seeking self-realization.
After going through each of the 7 gates, and removing one piece of clothing at each, she finally stands naked at the throne of Ereshkigal. The story continues (you can read a translation here) and some scholars argue that the two Goddesses – Innana and Erishkegel represent the light and the dark aspects of the Goddess.
Some depictions of this ancient Goddess show her as a lion-headed women suckling cubs. Whilst others show her with wings, standing on the backs of two lions, flanked by owls.
Ereshkigal’s power + associations
Ereshkigal is an ancient dark Goddess, and working with her isn’t a run-of-the-mill practice.
As a Queen of the underworld, she may be an excellent guide for you through your own journey into the shadow. Just as she beckoned the dead towards her, so she will beckon towards the light of your consciousness all that needs to die in you.
She may also be an ally in ancestral healing work or even ancestor worship.
But I don’t want to tell you what she is, to you. If you feel called, my advice is to humbly call her in. To approach with an open heart and an open mind, and ask that Erishkigel reveal herself to you.
Tools, symbols + offerings for Erishkigel
- Feathers (especially owl)
- Snakes / serpents
- Lapis lazuli