The deities of ancient Greece are some of the most well-documented of all time. The writings of Hesiod and Homer are well preserved and writings like Percy Jackson and Wonder Woman remind us of Their presence in today’s world. The twelve Great Gods of ancient Greece were known as the Olympians. Together, They presided over every aspect of human life - and death.
Aphrodite - Goddess of love, beauty, and pleasure
Apollo - God of prophecy, healing, and song
Ares - God of war, strategy, and courage
Artemis - Goddess of the hunt, wilderness, and wild animals
Athena - Goddess of wisdom, weaving, and crafts
Demeter - Goddess of the harvest, agriculture, and grain
Dionysus - God of wine, pleasure, and frivolity
Hephaestus - God of fire, sculpture, and metalworking
Hera - Queen Goddess of marriage, women, and the heavens
Hermes - God of travelers, trade, and diplomacy
Poseidon - God of the sea, earthquakes, and horses
Zeus - King God of the sky, weather, and law
The worship of ancient Greek deities alone is called Hellenic Polytheism, but many people who are soft polytheists worship Greek deities within their Wiccan practices. Each God and Goddess has an origin story and many Homeric and Orphic hymns are written about them. There are even some stories that show themselves within Wiccan as well. The most common of these is the Rape of Persephone. Demeter’s daughter Kore (Persephone) was abducted and whisked away to Hades and the Underworld. Demeter refuses to allow crops to grow and lets the Earth die out.
Bitter pain seized her [Demeter’s] heart, and she rent the covering upon her divine hair with her dear hands : her dark cloak she cast down from both her shoulders and sped, like a wild-bird, over the firm land and yielding sea, seeking her child. But no one would tell her the truth, neither god nor mortal man; and of the birds of omen none came with true news for her. Then for nine days queenly Deo wandered over the earth with flaming torches in her hands, so grieved that she never tasted ambrosia and the sweet draught of nektaros, nor sprinkled her body with water. But when the tenth enlightening dawn had come, Hekate, with a torch in her hands, met her, and spoke to her and told her news : ‘Queenly Demeter, bringer of seasons and giver of good gifts, what god of heaven (theon ouranion) or what mortal man has rapt away Persephone and pierced with sorrow your dear heart? For I heard her voice, yet saw not with my eyes who it was. But I tell you truly and shortly all I know.’
So, then, said Hekate. And [Demeter] the daughter of rich-haired Rheia answered her not, but sped swiftly with her, holding flaming torches in her hands.
She eventually finds Persephone with the help of Hekate and other Gods, but Persephone cannot return home because She had already eaten fruit from the Underworld. Instead, She spends six months on Earth and six months in the Underworld. The timing of this coincides with the changing of seasons from summer to autumn to winter.
There are many other deities within the Greek pantheon, but the Olympians were the twelve main Gods and Goddesses that were worshiped or well known throughout all of ancient Greece.
Have you ever heard of the Olympians? Do you worship the Greek deities?