Danu and her sisters

Water Goddesses (free)

River names from a Proto-Indo-European root (Danube, Donau, Don, Donets, etc.) which also manifests as the Greek Danaides and Danaë, both water-connected, and other European river goddesses such as Sequana and Marne. (I didn't get to Sínand / Shannon or Bóand / Boine, and the Britons and Gauls had many more river goddesses, so this stub is not exhaustive.) Then we look at Iranian Anahita in the Zend Avesta, and the river Haraxvat, and her Indian counterpart Sarasvati. Danu as Mother of the Waters in Rg Veda, and her Balinese offshoot Dewi Danu. Luo Shen in China; the Pool of Malawi; and in Gabon, the Pool of Nyingwan Mebege. Yoruba river goddesses Oshun, Oya, and Yemaya (including her Diasporic transformation to orisha of the upper Ocean). Chalchiutlicue of the Aztecs, and some water sanctuaries in Colombia and Peru.

This is not an exhaustive survey of water goddesses, but an exploration from the starting point of Indo-European linguistics, created for a conference presentation. Much more on this subject in future!

©2020 Max Dashu, founder of the Suppressed Histories Archives

Your Instructor

Max Dashu
Max Dashu

Max Dashu founded the Suppressed Histories Archives in 1970 to research and document global women's history, reflecting the full spectrum of the world's peoples. She uses images to teach, scanning the cultural record: archaeology, history, art, orature, linguistics and spiritual philosophies. From her collection of some 50,000 images, she has created 130 visual talks on female cultural heritages, foregrouding Indigenous traditions, with attention to patterns of conquest and domination. She is internationally known for her expertise on ancient female iconography, matricultures and patriarchal systems, medicine women and shamans, witch hunts, and female spheres of power.

Dashu's legendary visual talks bring to light female realities usually hidden from view, from ancient female figurines to women leaders, priestesses, clan mothers, philosophers, warriors and rebels. Her courses scan the cultural record—archaeology, history, art, orature, linguistics, and spiritual philosophies—making this knowledge more accessible to all education backgrounds.

Dashu has been presenting her visual talks for more than four decades, at universities, conferences, museums, community centers, bookstores, galleries, libraries and schools, in North America, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Britain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Austria, Australia, Mexico and Guatemala.

Max Dashu's book Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, 700-1000 (Veleda Press, 2016) has been acclaimed as a sourcebook on European ancestral traditions. Her forthcoming book on women in Hellenic myth and history is Vol II in her 16-volume series Secret History of the Witches.

Dashu has published in various journals and anthologies, including Goddesses in World Mythology (Praeger 2010) and the Encyclopedia of Women in World Religion (ABC-Clio 2018). She created two videos: Women's Power in Global Perspective (2008) and Woman Shaman: The Ancients (2013). Her daily posts on the Suppressed Histories Facebook page are followed by 181,000 people, and 72,000 more have viewed her articles on Academia.edu.

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