Weather Goddesses And Storm Goddesses

Just as the heavens are commonly described as part of the masculine sphere, opposed to the feminine earth, so weather (especially storms with thunder and lightning) is often connected with male divinities and their powers. 

Yet some cultures grant control of the weather to a powerful female divinity. 

Often she is depicted as an aged woman, sometimes a giant, such as the Celtic Cailleach who stirred up storms at sea and covered the land with her cloudy cloak. 

In Scotland and Ireland, this figure was con nected with high hills and mountains, around which clouds gathered and which even today bear her name. 

She was a figure more feared than beloved, associated with bad weather rather than sunny spells, although she can appear in double form, as with Brit ains fearsome Black Annis and her corollary, Gentle Annie. 

Among the Balts, the similar figure Ragana caused storms by waving a red wand. 

Both these figures were seen as old, but sexually active, indeed somewhat predatory They favored strong and virile young men, whom they exhausted or even killed with their energy and sexual appetites. 

The similar Hungarian witch, Szepasszony, was a frightening figure who kidnapped humans, often for sexual purposes. 

The Russian witch Baba Yaga controlled the weather, brewing up storms to hide her raids on human settlements where she stole children. 

Nearby, the dual Germanic goddesses Perchta and Holle not only controlled the weather but were also connected with sea sonal change, typically accompanied by a change in weather. 

The distinction between a seasonal goddess and a weather-controller can be difficult to distinguish, with divinities like Georgian Tamar (see Slavic) serving in both capacities. 

Storms include wind as well as rain, and goddesses whose special domain is the wind are not uncommon, although more typically associated with male divine figures (as is thunder). 

At times these winds are drying, as with Egyptian Sekhmet who repre sents the desiccating desert wind as well as the heat of the sun. 

African O ya controlled winds on the river named for her, while in the African diaspora, she continued to con trol wind, both gentle breezes and dangerous storms. 

Similarly, the Haida figure Dju (see North America) controlled both soft and harsh winds by the height to which she raised her dress. 

Sumerian Lilith (see Eastern Mediterranean) is another wind goddess, embodying a Cailleach-like sexual danger in a voluptuous form. 

Because goddesses are often associated with water (see below), they can be described as having special power over rain. 

An important example is Persian Anahita (see Eastern Mediterranean), who was seen as both earthly water and as rain that replenished streams and rivers. 

These rain goddesses can appear as fertility figures like African Mujaji, for farmers depend upon rain at appropriate times in order for crops to thrive and ripen. 

In northern climes, the goddess of precipitation was associated with snow rather than rain, as evidenced by Siberian Asiaq and Eskimo Kadlu (see Circumpolar for both). 

One weather-related phenomenon typically associated with goddesses is the rain bow, which was in many lands seen as an airborne woman like the Greek Iris and Ochumare of the African diaspora. 

In Australia, the rainbow was a female serpent flung across the sky (see Julunggul and Kunapipi). 

The same connection is found in the African diaspora, where Aida Wedo is both rainbow and serpent in Haiti. 

Other lands also saw a connection between rain and snakes or dragons, as Korean Aryong Jong, ‘‘queen of the dragon palace, suggests. 

Similarly, the clouds that give birth to rain are depicted as goddesses, such as Indian Abhramu and Greek Nephele. 

The connection of such goddesses to water seems primary, so they may be seen in bodies of water such as lakes and rivers, as well as in falling rain. 

They can, as well, be associated with the oceans, as the Taiwanese goddess Ma-tsu attests. 

She especially controlled the weather at sea, which impacted the fisherman who honored her (see China). 

In Latvia (see Baltic), Mjer-jema was honored as a weather goddess who con trolled the storms at sea and thus assured or spoiled good fishing. 

In Finland the god desses of air and weather ruled the healing arts (see Ismo). 

~ Kiran Atma

You can learn more about Goddess Symbolism here.