Ocean Goddesses From Around the World

Ocean goddesses from seaside cultures around the world.

Given the power and majesty of the sea, it’s no suprise that ocean goddesses are a universal archetype. 

Every shoreside society in recorded history features its own myths about the wild, open water.

If you consider yourself a sea witch, become familiar with a few of them to enrich your knowledge of ocean lore.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but a small sample of the many traditions around the world that honor ocean goddesses.

If  you know of more, please feel free to add them in the comments!

Amphitrite 

Wife of Poseidon and the beloved muse of many artists, the ancient greeks regarded Amphitrite as the ocean goddess supreme.

Mother of dolphins and sea monsters, the poet, Homer, depicts her as an embodiment of the ocean and a deity of chief importance.  

In sea witchery, she symbolizes power, risk and adventure.

Brizo

Sometimes known as the “goddess of sea and dreams,” the ancient Greeks associated Brizo with nocturnal visions, divination and prophecy.

Ancient Greek women on the island of Delos once released food offerings to Brizo on sacred, seafaring vessels and tiny boats.

Protectress of sailors and fishermen, Brizos guarded her patrons from the perils of life on the ocean.

She shares an association with the moon (perhaps because of its relationship with the ocean).  

Eurybia

Daughter of Gaia, Eurybia’s power outsizes her relatively minor role in Greek mythology.

Known for her mastery over oceanic forces–wind, currents, and storms—the ancients regarded her as a a goddess to whom even the wildest waters showed obedience.

Mazu

Mazu takes the goddess form of the legendary shamaness, Lin Mo Nian.  Tradition considers coastal island of Meizhou Island her birthplace, where she probably lived around the 10th century AD.  

The worship of this Chinese ocean goddess continues today, especially in Taiwan, where her temple festival is celebrated lavishly.

Nehalennia

Most scholars speculate that the water goddess, Nehalennia, likely descends from Celtic or Germanic pagan traditions.

Often accompanied by her dog, Nehalennia presided over sea trade and maritime business matters.  

She symbolizes fertility and abundance.

Olokun

An oceanic orisha spirit of the Yoruba tradition, Olokun presides over both fresh and marine waters, as well as other water gods.

Specifically, Olokun is associated with the deepest, most unknowable waters of the ocean.

Depicted as both male, female and androgynous according to the various traditions in which Olokun appears across the African diaspora.  

Rusalka

Not so much a goddess as an entity, rusalka are mermaid-like creatures.  They probably originate in Slavic paganism.

Early depictions of the rusalka associate them with life-giving properties like fertility and the nourishing of crops with water.

Today, they continue to inspire the imaginations of modern storytellers, especially in Slavic societies.

Like the fairies of Celtic/French/German folklore, rusalka are often described in darker terms.  Sometimes associated with murder/suicide by drowning, they symbolize shadowy waters and emotions.

Salacia

Of the roman ocean goddesses, the ancient worshipped Salacia as the goddess of saltwater.  

Depicted as a water nymph of great beauty, she often appears in art with a crown of seaweed.

She symbolizes grace, sunlight and open waters.

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