Thomas Swan has a PhD in experimental psychology. He specializes in the cognitive science of religion.
The myths and legends espoused by the religions of the world appear as a welcome effusion of the imagination in an otherwise spartan literary environment. Gods and goddesses from Egypt to the Caribbean embody many of our deepest desires and taboos. Whether it be sexual ecstasy, incest, or cannibalism, we are left to look down our noses with a thinly hidden sense of fascination for the eccentric and weird lives of these infamous deities.
What follows are ten of the weirdest gods and goddesses. They hail from eight different world religions, past and present; and they are a reminder that religious belief and absurdity too often go hand in hand!
- Origin: Scandinavia.
Loki is a malevolent Nordic god who can transform into people and animals to enact his pernicious schemes. Loki's weirdest moment occurred when he made a bet with a giant who had been employed to build a protective wall for the gods. The giant was offered the goddess Freya if he could complete the wall on time. However, the giant used a stallion who hauled the bricks much faster than the gods expected.
Faced with losing the bet and being killed by his fellow gods, Loki transformed himself into a mare and wooed the giant's stallion. The ensuing `act of love' led to Loki giving birth to an eight-legged spider-horse (for whatever reason). With his stallion occupied by Loki, the giant lost the bet and was killed by Thor.
- Origin: Northern India; Nepal.
This Hindu and Buddhist goddess of self-sacrifice and sexual restraint cut off her own head and enjoys parading around with it while three spurts of blood flow from her open neck. As if it couldn't get any weirder, her severed head and two of her attendants drink the spurting blood.
Chinnamasta literally means `she whose head is severed' and there are several myths regarding why this occurred. One legend claims that a number of Hindu gods and demons churned the ocean to extract an immortality elixir. Chinnamasta is said to have drunk the demon's share of the spoils before decapitating herself to prevent them from reclaiming it. Another myth states that Chinnamasta and her attendants were bathing for too long, leading to their extreme hunger. Like any merciful goddess, she satiated their appetite by decapitating herself and allowing them to drink her blood.
- Origin: Ancient Greece
Pan has the hind legs and horns of a goat, and is one of the oldest Greek deities. He is the god of shepherds, flocks, hunters, forests, and pastoral music. However, he is also a fertility symbol with a ravenous sexual appetite. Indeed, one legend claims that Pan was the progeny of a union between Odysseus's lonely wife and her 108 suitors.
Suffice to say, Pan would attempt to copulate with anything that moved, including goddesses, nymphs, women, men, and even animals. Pan attempted to seduce the nymph, Syrinx, and pursued her when she ran away. When Syrinx's sisters turned her into a reed, the love-struck Pan created the `pan flute' from her remains. The nymph, Echo, also refused Pan, prompting the angry god to order his minions to kill her.
Our favorite sex-pest was rejected again when the nymph, Pitys, fled his lecherous advances. To escape him, the other gods turned her into a pine tree! Even more bizarre, though fitting for a fertility symbol, was Pan's ability to duplicate himself into a swarm of Pans. These recreations were variations on the original theme, with goat-like attributes and lustful urges. Pan is also one of the few gods to have actually died, though it is unclear how this occurred.
4. Inanna (Ishtar)
- Origin: Mesopotamia (Iraq)
Inanna is the Sumerian goddess of sex, war, and fertility. She later became known as Ishtar, and is associated with lions and the planet Venus. Inanna is known for her capricious and prolific sexual desires and unions. She was once raped by a lowly gardener called Shukaletuda while she slept under his poplar tree. In a fit of rage, she turned the rivers to blood, covered the Earth with storms, and tormented the people with disease. She eventually found her attacker and killed him.
Inanna has a tendency to kill or sacrifice her lovers. In the Epic of Gilgamesh she tries to seduce King Gilgamesh. When he refuses, she releases the Bull of Heaven in an attempt to kill him. Gilgamesh's refusal focuses on his concern for the fate of her numerous past lovers. This includes the speckled allallu-bird whose wing she broke, the lion who she dug a pit for, the horse who she consigned to being whipped and lashed, the shepherd who she turned into a wolf, and the gardener who she turned into a dwarf.
When Inanna gains access to the underworld to attend the funeral of the Bull of Heaven (who Gilgamesh killed), the ruler, Ereshkigal, makes her pass through seven gates. At each gate she is told to remove a piece of clothing or jewelry until she is naked and powerless. The audacious Inanna sits on Ereshkigal's throne and is punished by being turned into a corpse and hung upside-down from hooks. Many of the gods blame Inanna for her fate, but Enki decides to rescue her. As no-one can leave the underworld, a deal is struck in which someone must take her place. Inanna refuses to sacrifice one of her servants, but she has no problem with Ereshkigal taking her husband, Dumuzi, who she thought hadn't mourned her enough. The poor Dumuzi is dragged into the underworld by demons, and Inanna has the temerity to mourn him.
- Origin: Ancient Greece
Cronus was leader of the Titans; a pantheon of Greek gods that came before Zeus. Uranus and the goddess Gaia were parents of all the Titans, and Cronus was their preeminent and jealous son. When Uranus hid some of Gaia's children in a deep abyss called Tartarus, Gaia asked her remaining children to castrate Uranus. The psychotic Cronus stepped up to perform the deed. He scythed off his fathers genitals and threw them into the sea where they bubbled up and spawned the goddess, Aphrodite.
After freeing Gaia's children (which included the Cyclopes), Cronus decided to re-imprison them, claim Uranus' throne, and marry his own sister, Rhea. Gaia then predicted that one of Cronus' children would overthrow him. As a paranoid lunatic, Cronus decided to eat his children as they were born to prevent this from transpiring. However, Rhea and Gaia hid baby Zeus, giving Cronus a rock wrapped in baby clothes to eat instead. The unhinged cannibal ate the rock, and Zeus grew up to fulfill the prophecy. Cronus was thrown into Tartarus, though he may have been released to rule over a distant land. Indeed, the Romans later adopted him as the god, Saturn.
6. Sheela Na Gigs
- Origin: Ireland and Britain
Sheela Na Gigs literally means "the old hag of the breasts". The name refers to a number of stone figurines from Ireland and Britain depicting a woman with an exposed and exaggerated vulva. Popular myths claim she was a lustful pagan goddess who threw herself at men by showing them her `lady parts'. Most men rejected the old hag, though when they occasionally accepted, Sheela transformed herself into a beautiful woman and granted kingship to the lucky man.
Sheela Na Gigs is also known as a fertility goddess, and her figurines have been used at weddings and births. Another theory relates her to the pagan practice of anasyrma, in which women lifted up their skirts to scare off evil spirits! This would suggest that Sheela was a protector against evil.
- Origin: Ancient Egypt
This Egyptian goddess of nature, motherhood, and magic married her brother, Osiris, who was lord of the underworld. Osiris warred with their other brother, Set, leading to Osiris being killed and scattered into fourteen pieces across Egypt. The grief-stricken Isis scoured the country to retrieve the pieces, but there was one piece she couldn't find. Apparently, Osiris' manhood had been swallowed by a fish.
Isis used her magic to rebuild Osiris' body. In place of his genitals she used a golden phallus. Isis imbued Osiris with temporary life, and had sexual intercourse with his gold-augmented corpse. Osiris died again soon after, and the necrophile goddess gave birth to Horus. Isis had to protect Horus from Set until he was old enough to claim power by defeating his uncle. Indeed, the name Isis means `throne', making her a symbol of the pharaoh's power.
8. Baron Samedi
- Origin: Haiti
Baron Samedi is a voodoo god of the dead, though he is frequently associated with obscenity, chaos, debauchery and intoxication. Perhaps the weirdest thing about this god is his appearance. He is a reanimated skeleton who wears sunglasses, a top hat, and a tuxedo. Samedi also sports cotton nasal plugs, resembling a corpse prepared for burial.
Baron Samedi's job is to greet the dead when they die, before leading them to the underworld. He also digs their graves and ensures their corpses rot in the ground to prevent them returning as zombies. In his spare time he loves drinking rum, smoking cigars, chasing women, and swearing profusely. However, he is also a curer of disease and protector from death, as only he can decide when a person crosses into the afterlife.
- Origin: Ancient Greece
Dionysus is the Greek god of wine, intoxication, chaos, and ritual frenzy. With a résumé like that, he was always going to be a bit weird. This androgynous god began life as a premature baby when his mother died after gazing upon the glory of his father, Zeus. Unable to survive on his own, Zeus sewed Dionysus into his thigh until he was able to be reborn.
Myths tell us that Dionysus was brought up as a girl to hide him from Zeus' wife, Hera. He became a bisexual god, and his rituals involved transvestism and the blurring of sexual roles. When discovered by Hera, he was driven mad and forced to wander the Earth. On at least two occasions he was kidnapped by sailors, though Dionysus turned the oars of their boats into snakes and the sailors into dolphins. When Dionysus was helped by King Midas, he gave Midas the power to turn objects into gold. However when King Lycurgus offended him, Dionysus convinced Lycurgus that his son was a patch of ivy to be cut to pieces. He then told the population that their famine would only end when Lycurgus was dead. The people tore the King to pieces.
The young Dionysus was lured into a cave by the Titans (older gods) who proceeded to slit his throat, boil and roast his flesh, and eat him for dinner. Attracted by the sweet smell, Zeus arrived, resurrected his son, and killed the Titans. Dionysus also had the power to bring the dead back to life, and he used this to restore his mother. A further power was his ability to induce mass hysteria and madness. This led to a number of dissenters being torn to pieces by his cult of female followers. Mimicking his own death, cannibalism sometimes followed.
10. The Abrahamic God
- Origin: Israel
Despite the many weird stories that appear in the Bible, the Christian god is widely worshiped. In one such story, God is busy destroying the city of Sodom with fire and brimstone. He instructs his Jewish followers to flee the carnage, but specifically tells them not to cast their eyes upon his shameful annihilation of the heretics. Unfortunately, the wife of Lot is unable to resist this temptation. She turns to witness the destruction and is transformed into a pillar of salt. God knows why, literally.
Another bewildering story is that of Abraham and his son, Isaac. God dares Abraham to demonstrate his faith by sacrificing his son. The unerringly devoted Abe places Isaac on an alter and is about to slit his throat when God relents, claiming it was all a test. One has to wonder how Isaac felt about all this.
Finally, there is the notion of God being three entities in one. One of these is Jesus, who is created when God impregnates the Virgin Mary with himself, is born into the world, espouses his own magnificence for a few decades, is summarily executed by the Romans, and is resurrected to show us he's not really dead. It turned out that the Christian God wanted to be executed so his act of self-sacrifice could somehow overturn the sins of all humankind.
The Weirdest Deities
The imagination of our ancestors in creating these myths and legends has allowed us to enjoy a facet of human nature that is so often suppressed by the teachings of many world religions.
While this list includes many weird gods and goddesses, there are undoubtedly others who are being neglected. As a result, you, the reader, are invited to impart your wisdom regarding weird and wonderful deities in the comments section below!
More Myths and Legends
© 2013 Thomas Swan
god thing on July 09, 2020:
Sterculius, the Roman god of feces
Luca Szőke on June 04, 2020:
Zeus could not kill the titans, since they were immortal.
Glitch on May 19, 2020:
Im actually obsessed with gods and goddesses. I made a book about them. Welp, im done here.
oof on August 06, 2019:
Leo, get your head out of the gutter and understand there are different religions and beliefs, and besides, where is your proof that they're fake/real?
Leo on July 23, 2019:
Only our Lord Jesus Christ and his father are the true gods.other gods are fake.
Ziggy on January 06, 2019:
Have fun where you're goin buddy.
Thesource on February 04, 2018:
please can you get some more facts about Hindu god and goddess I really want to learn about them more. Thanks and I will everyday look at this website if you update it about my subject..................
McCollough on January 31, 2018:
I assume you observed all ten of these gods from a completely objective stand point instead of assuming they are all based out of nonsense and have no context. All of these are interesting but I'm sure there's more to the story than what's presented, I feel it gives it an unfair appearance of irrationality.
Chindit on December 02, 2017:
Thomas,You need to scour the entire internet and edit it carefully just in case Tanner gets offended by anything.
Seriously, an interesting read that shows the ridiculousness of religions and its adherents.
Tanner on September 22, 2017:
If you're going to include the Abrahamic God then please use correct information. I assume you included it as the term Abrahamic to make it seem more ancient and a different God than the one most christians believe about today. Which is true. The ancient isrealites did have certain beliefs about God that is different than most christians today. However, the Isrealites most certainly did not believe that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost were one being. In fact they knew quite well they were separate and distinct. You are confusing ancient Isreal with Christian religions of today. So please remove that last bit as it offends me.
Percy Jackson on August 20, 2017:
It's more of weird names not weird gods or goddesses :)
Alexander on April 24, 2017:
Chinamastaka was a Hindu Goddess not budha
Mr. Joe on April 21, 2017:
I like religions with many gods which I compare to Greek mythology. It's like the Justice League of America with Batman, Aquaman, Flash and other superheroes with some super powers and then the one God idea is like Superman. He could do it all.
I really like the name, Ra, the Sun God.
It's wacky that missionaries and others impose their religion on others by telling them that their religions are wrong. Then they try to convert them or kill them.
When Romans were throwing Christians to the lions and other bad things happen to religious people, why would they admit to being Christians when obviously their God didn't come to save them? I'm not doing that.
I've always said I'm Joe - not Job - so I don't want God testing my faith
Leave me alone!
Either there is no God or there is one but he doesn't interfere or he/they helps his favorites and lets bad things happen to those he doesn't like.
If God is omnipotent then he knew that Adam was going to eat the apple so then it was entrapment. Or he forgot and that means he's not omnipotent so he can't be God - at least that definition doesn't work.
Or, maybe it's like watching your favorite TV show or movie over again. He just enjoys it!
Hazel on April 07, 2017:
Wow... And you can tell this is all imagination as god is imagination and so we are!...And so our imagination is truly a gift as a tool to become god!...
Deborah Demander Reno from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on February 02, 2017:
This was interesting and entertaining. And, I even learned something! Thanks for writing.
Ashley Cogdill from Indiana/Chicagoland on February 13, 2016:
Interesting hub, I love reading on different Gods and Goddesses. :)
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on March 14, 2015:
Thanks for commenting Kristen. Yes, I was the same; there were some that came up during my research, and others that I knew about already. The Abrahamic god deserves to be in here I think. We've become too accustomed to its weirdness because the stories saturate our culture. It's probably quite weird for people from other cultures though.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 13, 2015:
What a fascinating and interesting hub, Thomas. Some of the gods and goddesses I have heard of, while the rest I haven't. Go figure you've placed God into the weird character. Hmm. Well done! Voted up!
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on December 29, 2014:
Thank you for the comments everyone.
Grandoldlady, you're right that Lot's family was allowed to escape (though his wife was turned into a pillar of salt). One has to wonder why God cherished this family though. Any man that hands his daughters over to rapists is sick. What happened after was far worse. The man got drunk, had sex with his daughters, and got them pregnant. I suppose the story of Isaac proves that there are many ways to interpret events.
Katie, thank you for the wealth of information about Japanese gods. That explanation about royalty creating myths to reinforce their power makes a lot of sense. I suppose it also makes the history included in the myth more memorable. A story about a battle that doesn't mention counterintuitive gods won't be as captivating or memorable. I wrote about this in my cognitive science of religion hub.
Jack, me too! Perhaps, in the mean time, we can do as much as we can to rid the world of ridiculous superstitious beliefs.
Peachpurple, it's true that many are lustful or fertility gods, but they're often the weirdest kind! An interesting point you raise; I guess people who actually did those things felt like they had permission to.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on December 28, 2014:
these gods that you had mentioned are mostly lust gods, sounds really weird, no wonder there are people out there who had sex with animals, Geez!
Jack Madison on August 09, 2014:
I wish I was born 500 years from now so I could be around legitimately intelligent people...
All these people who believe in some sort of god really bring me down, man.
Katie Armstrong from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 19, 2014:
Thomas, many ancient Japanese myths involving the gods are euhemerized retellings of events. Each clan had a patron deity, and battles between clans were remembered in folklore as conflicts between gods. The scene from mythology of Susano-o approaching Amaterasu's palace and her donning warrior's armor and preparing her defenses would certainly seem to reflect an actual historical event where one clan, suspecting an attack, prepared their defenses only to find the coming men were peaceful in their intentions. It stands to reason that Uke Mochi represented a clan who lived in a fertile area of Japan and had great success in farming, and the legendary death of Uke Mochi at the hands of Tsukuyomi was the record of another clan coming in and wiping them out. (It's also possible that the whole 'she turned to the rice paddy and vomited up a bowl of cooked rice', while obviously referencing the rich bounty of the land her clan occupied, could also be pointing to the Japanese use of night soil--for humans, we put rice in our mouths and, well, stuff comes out the other end, but for a goddess who produces food, she would take in, err, the stuff, and rice would come out of her mouth. Who's hungry?)
We know that the writing of the Kojiki and the Nihongi were commissioned by the Imperial family (based on these clan records, which would have detailed various battles). Ostensibly, it was to record Japanese history in a manner comparable to the records of ancient China (while leaving out plenty of actual history; Queen Pimiko of Wa wasn't recorded in these historical texts, even though the Nihongi actually cited the document where Pimiko was recorded), but the true intention was to solidify in writing the Imperial family's claim to the Chrysanthemum Throne by making shit up. lol
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 19, 2014:
Thomas Swan, you are so right. Lot turning his daughters in to rapists to save the angels was sad and depraved. However, this was the city that God planned to destroy because it was simply full of lawlessness. The male rapists actually wanted the angels, who were men so Lot suggested his daughters, probably as a delaying tactic knowing they wouldn't be interested. In the end, Lot's family was evacuated before any harm could be done to them.
Viewing child sacrifice from the point of view of Isaac, it must have truly been very traumatic for the child. Oftentimes, child sacrifice was done because men lacked the sophistication of abortion that is present today. Isaac lived, and he married a woman he loved and grew old with, and had twins. So whatever trauma he felt, maybe he was also grateful considering the environment he was raised in.
But I also think it shows the historical reality, that there was no police, no judicial system that really functioned in those days, and that gang rape was something common, as was child sacrifice. The story of Isaac clearly showed that child sacrifice is wrong, and in the New Testament Jesus spoke out for children many times. It seems more "fair" for Jesus to die for us, as he is half man, half God. So it was God himself and Jesus making the choice, not a child. Christianity doesn't condone child sacrifice and the sheer eeriness and seeming cruelty to the story of Abraham and Isaac may well be a drawing point to the fact that these sacrifices don't please God. They may well be why Christian tradition today doesn't include child sacrifice, and is very tender towards children, so Christians don't practice today the giving of child brides, or honor killings or stoning of women. These are good things that came out of the New Testament, the stands that Jesus took for children and for women.
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on June 19, 2014:
Thanks for commenting grand old lady. I think God turning Lot's wife into a pillar of salt is pretty weird. Even when I first read the story when I was about 8 years old, I was bewildered by it. There's even more to the Lot story that I didn't mention here. Before the destruction of Sodom, Lot attempted to hand his daughters over to a gang of rapists. After the destruction, Lot and his two daughters found shelter in a cave where they had incestual relations. The whole story is bizarre and depraved, but well worth checking out. My main problem with the Abraham and Isaac story comes from the point of view of the victim, Isaac. How did he feel about his own father coming within seconds of slitting his throat? Things like that can screw people up for life. Everyone has their own interpretations of these stories, but I tried to find the stories that most often create befuddlement or laughter.
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 10, 2014:
These gods make me wonder about the nature of man. However, I think No. 10 was not so well described. The story about Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah is about leaving behind the past and having a fresh, new beginning. The story of Abraham and Isaac is a test of faith, but God didn't require of man what He himself would do when he sent his own son to die for our sins. At the time of Abraham, child sacrifice was plentiful.
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on April 21, 2014:
Thank you for commenting Tom Mukasa, cmoneyspinner1tf, demetrius, timmyelliot, Katie, advisor4qb, and eppie. Apologies for taking so long to reply. I've been busy with quite a few other things lately.
cmoneyspinner1tf, thank you for sharing. I'm glad you found it interesting. You're right that there's usually meaning to be found in stories such as this. For those who don't see that meaning, or see it as irrelevant to their lives, the stories can seem a little weird.
timmy, the flying spaghetti monster certainly is weird. It doesn't have much historical significance though. Plus, it was never taken seriously by anyone. It's kind of a joke deity for angering Christians.
Thanks for sharing those interesting deities Katie! I loved reading about Kamadeva and how he rides around on a parrot. Shiva must have been a Kryptonian lol. I found Uch-Mochi very interesting because of the likely meaning behind the story. I believe the cultural meaning is to teach or reinforce the idea that anything that comes out of a person's body is to be avoided! I wonder if there was a plague going around Japan at the time.
Thanks eppie for those flattering words. Looking back, there's a few ways I could improve this article, but that's a good thing. I see writing as a continual process of improvement. My expertise is in the sciences rather than descriptive writing, so there's probably plenty more improvement to be had!
eppie on April 15, 2014:
Very good piece you have here. This is frankly book worthy. Keep putting out more hubs like this.
advisor4qb from On New Footing on March 01, 2014:
Interesting. I wasn't as fond of your description in number 10, but the rest of it was good.
Katie Armstrong from Lincoln, Nebraska on February 28, 2014:
I personally really like the story of Kamadeva (the Hindu Cupid), mainly because it involves death by lasers.
Some other interesting divine figures are the Rainbow Serpent (remarkable for being a benevolent serpent on a continent full of deadly serpents), Cangjie (the four-eyed man who invented Chinese characters), and Uke Mochi/Ugetsu-hime-no-kami (the goddess of food whose body produced food from every orifice; she was killed by the god of the moon for being totally gross).
timmyelliot on December 26, 2013:
I think the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a pretty weird god.
demetrius on December 03, 2013:
How about Zeus? He give birth to Athena and Dionysus
Treathyl FOX from Austin, Texas on November 22, 2013:
The story of Abraham and Isaac is a story of great faith. Most people don't mention Isaac, but it is clear that not only did he believe in the unseen God, but he also trusted his earthly father to do the right thing. Abraham's faith in the one true God was tested and he passed the test. What is the lesson in this story? Fast forward, several years after the deaths of both Abraham and Isaac, another Father sent His only begotten Son into the world. That Son was sacrificed at the request of an angry mob and the convenience of legal authority who had the power to free Him. No angel stayed the hands of the executioners. Yes. God's Way is unfathomable to many. But I totally get it!!
Found this HUB via Pinterest and repinned it to Legends and Myths pinboard.
Tom Mukasa from Lives in USA on November 02, 2013:
The gods in their human form! They are so powerfully messy.
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on October 11, 2013:
Hehe yea, one of the articles I read when researching Sheela Na Gigs said it would be a great story to tell "hippy chicks" you fancy!
I agree it would be a great name for a band... imagine the quantity of underwear that would get thrown your way!
iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on October 09, 2013:
Sheela Na Gigs is the weirdest goddess I've ever read, she's a flasher. Hey, it could be a name for band or something.
MysticMoonlight on October 02, 2013:
You're most welcome, Thomas! :)
Theophanes, oh my! Wow, that is some very unusual and interesting "folk" there. I've heard of Kali and honestly, she is quite the intimidating lady I must say! Wow! Thank you for sharing these, I'm so intrigued and must know more! Thanks to both you and Thomas for giving me more fascinatingly interesting things to keep my inquisitive mind busy! :)
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on October 02, 2013:
Thank you for the flattering words MysticMoonlight! One of the above commenters cited a few more deities that you might not have heard about before. There really are a lot of them! I'm glad you enjoyed this and thank you for your comment.
MysticMoonlight on October 01, 2013:
Awesome read, Thomas. I've read about most of these before and knew they were quite unusual but compiled here in one spot really packs a punch! The complexity, oddness, and jaw-dropping shock of some of these characters and their stories are bizarre yet fascinatingly interesting. Wow, really nice work!
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on September 17, 2013:
Thanks aliasis. Perhaps one day humans will have those kinds of powers... though hopefully not the same level of insanity!
aliasis from United States on September 15, 2013:
Great article. I love gods and goddesses, they seem to live much more exciting lives than I do, in their divine splendor, haha.
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on September 11, 2013:
Thanks Theophanes for commenting and for the great examples. I had heard of Kali before, but she didn't spring to mind when writing this unfortunately. I'll have to read about her a bit more. Krishna's almost as bad as Loki with those sex changing antics. I'd never heard of the progenitor of gnomes before, but I sure want to learn more now!
Theophanes Avery from New England on September 11, 2013:
Oh this was a fun one! I had no idea Dionysus was uh... a gender bender. That explains why they're referred to as both he and she I guess! Also loved Baron Samedi - I have seen that imagery before but never knew to what it was referring. That being said I think my personal favorite weird gods have to include the Hindu Goddess Kali whose image alone is a real trip - look into her further and do some reading and your mind will be blown. It's better than a sci-fi novel. I also have a fondness for Krishna, the Hindu god who was a total playboy and wooed the cattle herding women so powerfully they'd cry his name at night in hopes of his return - and he had over 1,000 wives. Then at some point another male God is given one day to live and all he asks for is a wife but seeing as no women will marry a man about to die Krishna offered to take the role as a woman, for a night, and somehow conceives the elephant-headed god whose name escapes me- but there is still some annual yearly celebration of this where men symbolically marry their god for exchange of granted prayers. Did I mention he had blue skin, could grow six extra arms while in combat, and a lot of his mythology crosses with that of Jesus? But as far as downright funny weirdness... I have to say the prize must go to Priapus - the comically endowed, constantly erect rural Greek god. Apparently you could rub him for luck but what man hasn't tried that line? ;) They say gnomes might have been derived from him. Poor little pervvy gnomes...
Fun read! Happy Hubbing!
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on September 10, 2013:
Thank you KenDean, Colleen, IslandBites, WiccanSage, and Elias for your kind comments.
Elias Zanetti from Athens, Greece on September 09, 2013:
Very interesting hub and an informative list of various deities of ancient civilizations. I agree that their existence says more about their creators. Many thanks.
Mackenzie Sage Wright on September 09, 2013:
What a great list; some myths are so bizarre, it's true. I really enjoyed reading this. I particularly love the images. Great hub.
IslandBites from Puerto Rico on September 09, 2013:
Really interesting hub!
Colleen Swan from County Durham on September 09, 2013:
Very interesting article. I look forward to reading your next one.
Kenneth C Agudo from Tiwi, Philippines on September 09, 2013:
This is a break for the first commandment of God which is idolatry.
Gods are created by people by there on imaginations and sometimes comes from there traditions
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on September 08, 2013:
Cheers lifelovemystery. Yea, they're a right bunch of loons and psychopaths, but I think that says more about the people who created them! It's as if people embodied all the things they couldn't really talk about within these powerful super-beings... beings that most people would have been too afraid to criticise.
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on September 08, 2013:
Thank you for commenting epbooks. It did take a lot of research but I found it worthwhile and enjoyable to write about.
Michelle Orelup from Las Vegas, NV on September 08, 2013:
Oh my goodness. Most of them sound very dysfunctional. I guess I consider myself lucky to be a lowly human and don't have to deal with all that drama.
Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on September 08, 2013:
Wow! Very interesting. It's clear that you've done your research and know your information well. I like the way this written also. Thank you for sharing. Voted up!
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on September 08, 2013:
Thanks for commening Carloyn; you make a good point. My intention was to talk about the entity called "God" and as this article is all about gods, I felt a need to elaborate on his name to describe which god I'm talking about. Though two of my examples come from the Old Testament, the final one talks about Jesus, which is central to the Christian religion, but has nothing to do with Judaism. For this reason, and because the Christian Bible includes the Old Testament and accepts that God as their own (with a slightly different temperament perhaps), it seemed more appropriate to refer to the later incarnation.
Carolyn Emerick on September 08, 2013:
Just a note regarding entry 10. You refer to all other deities by name except Yaweh. You could mention that Yahweh forbids his followers to use his name, lol, that's a bit weird. Also I think it's awkward that not only are you not calling him Yahweh, but you're calling him "the Christian God" when all of the example you use come from the Old Testament, i.e. the Jewish part of the Bible.
Other than that I thought this was a fun and interesting topic and a well done hub :-).