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Apollo

Apollo was the son of Jupiter and Latona. His twin sister was Diana. He was the god of music, playing a golden lyre. The Archer, far shooting with a silver bow. The god of healing who taught man medicine. The god of light. The god of truth, who can not speak a lie. One of Apollo's more important daily tasks was to harness his chariot with four horses an drive the Sun across the sky. His tree was the laurel. The crow his bird. The dolphin his animal.

Bacchus

God of Wine and Mysteries.

Ceres

Ceres daughter of Saturn and Rhea. Wife-sister of Jupiter and mother of Prosperpina. Ceres is the goddess of grain, growing plants and the love that a mother bears for her child. Personified and celebrated by women in secret rituals at the festival of Ambarvalia, held during the month of May.

Cupid

Cupid was the god of love in Roman mythology. The name Cupid is a variation on Cupido ("desire"), and this god was also known by the name Amor ("love"). It was commonly believed that Cupid was the son of Venus - the Roman goddess of love - and this association between Venus and Cupid was quite popular in myth, poetry, literature, and art. The ancient Romans often depicted Cupid as winged child or baby who carried a bow and quiver full of arrows.

Diana

Diana is the mother of wild animals and forests, and a moon goddess. Oak groves are especially sacred to her. She is praised for her strength, athletic grace, beauty and her hunting skills. With two other deities she made up a trinity: Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.

Janus

Janus was the porter of heaven. He opens the year, the first month being named after him. He is the guardian deity of gates, on which account he is commonly represented with two heads, because every door looks two ways. His temples at Rome were numerous. In war time the gates of the principal one were always open. In peace they were closed; but they were shut only once between the reign of Numa and that of Augustus.

Juno

Juno was the Queen of the Gods and Jupiter's wife. The Goddess of heaven and of the moon Juno symbolized the matronly qualities desired for in Roman women. She was the protector of woman during childbirth, rearing, and their preparation for marriage. It was said that she was prsent and watching during all marriage ceremonies.

Jupiter

Jupiter the supreme ruling god. Considered god of the sky and weather, and guardian of all property, oaths and treaties. His sacred animal is the eagle. The planet that bears the name Jupiter, does so because it is the largest and most majestic planet.

Mars

Mars was the consort of Rhea Sylvia and father of Romulus and Remus, and therefore the father of the Roman people. He was the Roman god of war, the beginning and ending of battles. Mars was the god of young men and their activities, primarily war. He was celebrated in March and October. His festival was called the Quinquartus. It was five days of celebration during the vernal equinox. Mars was the son of Juno and the father of the twins Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. The planet Mars was named after the god because its red color looked like blood.

Mercury

Mercury was the Roman god of commerce. Merchants prayed to him in order to get good buisness. Mercury was the son of Jupiter and Maia. He was also the messenger of the gods. He used the characteristic winged sandals to help him get around faster. He was first worshipped in 495 B.C. when a temple was dedicated to him near Circus Maximus. He was often depicted with a money bag to indicate his work as god of commerce. He was also said to have had a caduceus and a winged helmet. His name comes from the Latin word "mercari". Mercari means having to do with deal or trade. His sacred animal was the chicken and he is sometimes depicted with it. His festival is celebrated on May 15.

Minerva

Minerva the daughter of Jupiter and Juno. Considered to be the virgin goddess of warriors, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, crafts, and inventor of music. Ovid called her the "goddess of a thousand works." The Romans celebrated her worship from March 19 to 23 during the Quinquatrus, the artisans' holiday. Minerva, Goddess of wisdom and learning, meditation, inventiveness, accomplishments, the arts, spinning and weaving, and commerce. Minerva was identified with Pallas Athene, bestower of victory, when Pompey the Great built her temple with the proceeds from his eastern campaigns. Minerva and Mars are honored Quinquatras, five days at the Spring equinox. But Minerva has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets.

Neptune

Neptune is the god of the sea. He is the son of Saturn, whom he helped to overthrow, and the brother of Jupiter and Pluto. His festival is celebrated on July 23. God of all the fresh water (from rivers, springs, etc.) and of equestrian accomplishments. Equated to the Greek Poseidon, He is also the God of the sea. He had temples in the Circus Flaminius and later on the Campus Martius. His festival, the Neptunalia is celebrated on July 23. But Neptunus has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets.

Pluto

Pluto is the Roman god of the underworld. He chose this realm after he and his two brothers overthrew their father and divided up the world. He was first thought to be a fierce and cruel god who didn't listen to prayers and didn't care about sacrifices. The later cults stressed the milder aspects of the god. He was later believed to be the one that puts precious metals and other treasures in the earth.

Proserpina

Proserpina is the counterpart of the Greek goddess, Persephone. She was kidnapped by Pluto and taken to his underworld and made queen of the dead.

Saturn

Saturn was Jupiter's father. He was king of the gods and sky before Jupiter and his brothers, Neptune and Pluto, decided to fight the power of their father and overthrow him. They divided up the world. Jupiter ruled the Earth and the sky, Pluto ruled the underworld, and Neptune ruled the sea.

Venus

Venus is the Roman goddess of love and sexual desire. She was worshipped under many names in imperial times such as Venus Genetrix(mother of Aeneas), Venus Felix(bringer of good fortune), Venus Victrix(bringer of victory), and Venus Verticordia(protector of feminine chastity). She was married to the god Vulcan, but often cheated on him. She committed adultery with many men, among them Mars, Adonis(a shepherd), Anchises (father of Aeneas). Venus daughter of Jupiter and Dione, although sometimes portayed as being created by Uranus from the foam of the sea at the moment of his death. As the goddess of love, she is the "queen of pleasure" and mother of the Roman people. She was married to Vulcan, the lame god of the forge, and mother of Cupid, Hymen, Priapus and Aeneas. She is also associated with her lover, Mars the god of war. Considered a nature goddess, associated with the arrival of spring. Venus is the bringer of joy to gods and humans.

Vesta

One of the most popular and mysterious goddesses of the Roman pantheon. Vesta is the goddess of the hearth, equated with the Greek Hestia. There is not much known of her origin, except that she was at first only worshipped in Roman homes, a personal cult. Her cult eventually evolved to a state cult. Vesta is portrayed as a stern woman, wearing a long dress and with her head covered. Her right hand rests against her side and in her left hand she holds a scepter.

Vulcan

Vulcan the son of Jupiter and Juno. Husband of Maia and Venus. God of fire and volcanoes, and the manufacturer of art, arms and armor for gods and heroes

Book of Shadows © 2001, Dana (Huntress of the Dark)