Sunday, March 6, 2011

Writing gods

I've compiled a list of all the writing gods, mythological figures, and patron saints associated with writing, the alphabet, poetry, storytelling, etc. I could find.  I've been creating jewelry based on each of them, as an homage to all those aspiring authors, linguists, archivists, scribes, etc. who have come before me.  At first I meant to make a necklace, but as my list grew, it ended up being a 3-foot chain with dozens of pendants on it.  I sometimes wear it while I'm writing in hopes of inspiration, but it's so heavy now that I just leave it up in my library, hanging from a sconce as part of the decor.

So far, I have a total of 31 gods/patrons/etc. from all over the world (I've lumped the Muses together as one 'goddess').  It's taken me months to compile, and I'm sure I'll be adding more later.

If anyone knows of any others, let me know and I'll be glad to add them to the list!

Here is my current list, in alphabetical order.  I've included their alternate names, regions, and some have items/symbols/animals they are associated with:

1.  Athena (Greek)/Minerva (Roman) – goddess of wisdom, the arts – owl

2. Bragi/Bragr (Norse) – God of poetry & eloquence

3. Brigit/Brigid/Bridgit (Celtic) – goddess of Inspiration, Poetry, Healing, Smithcraft and Martial Arts. Brigit’s cross, Brigit’s knot

4. Brahma (Hindu) - supreme god of the East Indian trinity; brought knowledge of letters to human race.

5. Cadmus (Greece) – brought alphabet to Greece

6. Cangjie/Ts’ang Chieh (China) – Invented Chinese alphabet/characters

7. Fu-Xi (China) – Invented Chinese alphabet –8 trigrams of earlier heaven, calabash

8. Ganesha (Hindu) – god of wisdom, intellect, art; lord of beginnings & success; patron god of writers

9. Hermes (Greek)/Mercury (Roman) – Inventor of the written alphabet, god of writing/literature, speech, travelers, treaties, dreams

10. Inanna/Ishtar (Mesopotamian/Sumerian) - Goddess of Words, Language, Syntax and Meaning. Stole tablets of destiny – 8-pointed star/rosette, lion, knot of reeds

11. Itzamn/Itzamna (Maya) – invented writing & the calendar. Mayan calendar, compass; north= white; east= red; south= yellow; west= black

12. Manjushri (Buddhism) – bodhisattva of writing, poetry, and knowledge – sword, lotus, lion

13. Muses (Greek) – Calliope – epic poetry/literature, Melpomene – tragedy, Euterpe – lyrical poetry/singing, Thalia – Comedy, Clio – History, Erato – erotic poetry, Polyhymnia - Sacred hymns/sacred oetry, eloquence Theatre masks, scroll & quill, boots, writing tablet, flute, ivy

14. Nabu (Babylonian) – god of wisdom & writing – tablet, stylus

15. Nisaba (Sumerian) –Invented writing – Hair, crescent moon, corn; - rhodochrosite

16. Odin (Norse) - god of wisdom, poetry. Inventor of Norse alphabet - raven

17. Ogma/Oghma (Celtic/Irish) – god of knowledge, eloquence & poetry – Ears & tongue linked with chains of gold & amber

18. Philyra (Greek)/Merope (Roman)/Klymene/Clymene/Hesione – goddess of paper, writing, healing and perfume. Invented/taught humans to make paper

19. Quetzalcoatl (Aztec) - serpent god; founder of Aztec culture; patron of priests, the inventor of the calendar and of books, and the protector of goldsmiths and other craftsmen

20. Saga (Norse) – goddess of sagas

21. Saraswati – (Hindu) – inventor of Sanskrit; goddess of creativity, wisdom, speech, learning, arts; patron deity of writers, poets, students, artists, musicians, etc.,

22. Sequoyah (Native American) - invented alphabet for the Cherokee and taught his people to read. First with pictographs and symbols adapted from English, Greek and Hebrew letters, altered to represent spoken Cherokee language

23. Seshat (Egyptian) – goddess of writing & history, inventor of written characters and mathematics, measurer of time, patron of architecture & libraries, record-keeper of the gods - Papyrus, Palm stem, 2 horns facing down/crescent moon

24. Sint-Holo (Native American - Cherokee, Chicasaw, Choctaw, Creek) - God of Language, Intelligence/Wisdom, Writing, and the Alphabet. Horned serpent

25. St. Frances de Sales (Catholic) – patron saint of authors

26. St. Jerome (Catholic) – patron saint of librarians, archivists, and translators

27. Tahmurath (Persian) – demons taught him the art of writing in 30 different languages in return for sparing their lives

28. Tenjin/Tenjin-Sama/Sugawara no Michizane (Japan) – god of writing, poetry, scholarship; taught humans how to write – bull, ume tree, Tenjin Temple

29. Thoth/Tehuti/Djehuty (Egypt) – god of wisdom, reading, writing, oratory, & scribes. Inventor of hieroglyphics; “lord of the holy words.”

30.  Titivillus - lord of typographical errors, delinquent letters, and superfluous language.  He lurks in monasteries, whispering into scribes' ears and filling his sack with the errors they make. "Patron demon of writing errors." Also known as: Chochlik Drukarski - Poland; Tryckfelsnisse - Sweden; Trykkleif - Norway;  Sætternissen - Denmark; Painovirhepaholainen - Finland;  Gazapos - Spain;  A Nyomda ördöge - Hungary; and Druckfehlerteufelchen - Germany.

31. Wen Chang (China) – God of wisdom, education, & literature – Pagoda



  1. I was wondering what you were doing with that. What a neat project! Sounds like you have a ton already :)

  2. I was a workaholic throughout my 20s. I'm now 36 and I prefer a more relaxed life-style. I've got a part-time job that I can do from home and all my other time is spent on writing. If only I'd applied my twenty-something workaholic attitude to creating novels, I'd have a lot more than 2 published by now!