Selene is a Greek goddess that represents the moon and with it, the very spirit of the divine feminine.
Selene was a titan, meaning she was born before the time of Olympus. Selene is the sister of Helios, the god of the Sun, and Eos, the goddess of the dawn. She is often conflated with her Roman counterpart, the moon goddess Luna.
According to Greek mythology, the night is brought on by an evening procession led by Nyx, the goddess of night. Following her are Hesperus, the god of the evening star, and our lovely Selene, riding side-saddle on a white horse, her billowing robes forming a crescent moon shape that trails through the sky as she rides.
The Goddess Selene In History & Myth:
Selene is often considered an archetype of the Greek triple goddess, but she is only one piece of the trifecta. Typically, she is joined by Artemis, the goddess of the forest and the hunt, and Hecate, a chthonic goddess of the sea and the Underworld.
Over time, Selene has come to be accepted as the Mother aspect of the Maiden-Mother-Crone trinity. Often confused with the goddess Hecate, this is one area where we see a distinct difference.
While Hecate is viewed as the Crone archetype – a firm matriarch that will guide you from the darkness with a little tough love – Selene’s approach as the Mother is much different. Goddess Selene is calm, understanding, and will comfort you with sleep and guide you gently through symbolism in your dreams.
Painting The Moon In The Sky
While Selene isn’t a very prominent figure in Greek mythology, she certainly plays one of the most important roles.
According to some mythologists, Selene’s job is to take to the skies on her pegasus-drawn silver chariot to light up the sky with the radiance of the moon each night.
Before each flight, Selene bathes in the waters of Oceanus, sprinkling fresh dew across the grass as she blesses the land with nightfall.
The Greeks believed that without Selene, the moon would not shine. Based on what we now know about the cycles of the moon and its impact on Earth, it’s clear that Selene is a really important if not underrated goddess.
Love & The Tragic Fate Of Endymion
In one of the purest and most heartbreaking tales in Greek mythology, it was said that the most beautiful mortal of all was the shepherd Endymion. Captivated by his beauty, Goddess Selene fell madly in love with Endymion the first moment she saw him.
In some versions of the tale, Selene loved Endymion so much that she wished he would remain as perfect as he was for all time. When Selene made her wish, Endymion was pleasantly sleeping, and so there he stayed for all of eternity.
Alternatively, the myth tells of the dashing Endymion approaching Zeus and wishing that he be made immortal to preserve his eternal youth and beauty. Zeus abided on the condition that Endymion would live out his days unaging but asleep within a cave on Mount Latmus.
While Selene could visit her lover in his tomb, see him, and touch him, she would toil out her nights lamenting his lack of awareness. Night after night, the Greek goddess of the moon would visit Endymion to consort with him in his slumber. Over time, she bore him 50 daughters, the Menai, who represent the 50 lunar months.
While we don’t condone pulling the old Sleeping Beauty move, it’s likely that Selene, the goddess of sleep and lucid dreaming, had the ability to communicate with Endymion on the astral plane despite not being able to join him in the waking world.
So, How Does Selene’s Myth Apply To You?
The touching story of the Greek goddess Selene resonates with many of her followers, even today. Although she isn’t exactly a goddess of love, Selene is a romantic at heart. She believes that love can overcome all, no matter the circumstances. Her heart is much softer than many of the other Titans.
Another aspect of Selene is her association with heartbreak and pain. Forever lamenting the loss of her love, who is so close yet so far, she bears the burden of woe and loneliness. At times, she curses Aphrodite for roping gods and mortals alike into the agony that love brings with it, ending only in cases of heartbreak or death.
Sadly, the Greek goddess Selene is meant to be perpetually alone. However, this does not harden her. Unlike other deities who become less human from their experiences, Selene is sympathetic to all who suffer a similar plight.
We can also interpret the phases of the moon as a symbol of constant transformation. Selene teaches us the lesson of adapting to the ever-changing phases of life and taking on the unexpected with stride. It is important to remember that this includes the dark phases as well as the light.
Selene’s very nature is cyclical. She is hidden during the day but she never fails to return at night in order to provide the earth with the soft glow of moonlight.
Selene greets each night from her silver chariot, drawn by two white-winged Pegasuses, who carries her across the evening sky. I’ve always pictured her with long, beautiful locks of hair: flowing like the ocean waves and the very same color as the moon.
However, the Greek goddess Selene’s appearance is very fluid. She is often half-hidden in the shadows though she simultaneously glows. Think of her as the physical embodiment of the moon: she is only seen at night and is quite mysterious (as she can change forms) but yet she glows with a light that is soft and comforting.
The Greek poet Homer describes the long wings of Selene and her gleaming body after bathing in the waters of Oceanus. On her head is a crown, shining bright with the glow of the full moon, which bathes the space all around her in an ethereal light. Her gorgeous flowing hair is another aspect of Selene that has been heralded by several poets.
While Orpheus describes Selene as having the horns of a bull, many artistic renditions portray her horns or crown in the shape of a crescent moon, with the two points of the crescent reaching up to the heavens.
It is said that the craters of the moon were formed after a calamitous battle with the giant Typhon, who hurled cattle at the goddess Selene. As she is the moon’s likeness, Selene has occasionally shown herself to her worshipers with skin that is scarred by war wounds.
Other times, Selene appears as an innocent young girl, mysterious yet maidenly. Still, other poets describe her as a warm motherly figure who shows herself only when she is most needed.
As you can see, Selene has many forms! If you choose to work with Selene, be prepared that she may look different to you than she does to others. You’ll know you’re truly working with Selene when you feel that soft glow radiating off her – this seems to be her only consistent characteristic.
Selene’s greatest power is that of the transport of the moon, boasting the responsibility of riding her silver chariot through the sky to draw the moon along its path on any given night.
Selene was sometimes referred to as the All-Seeing Eye of the Night, so it’s no surprise that the moon is a symbol of the divine feminine, deep intuition, and omnipotence.
Here are some of the other powers and abilities that Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon, appears to possess.
The Divine Feminine
The 28-day lunar cycle parallels the 28 days of the menstrual cycle, reflecting Selene’s heavy influence in the ways of menstrual magic, pregnancy, and childbirth. In Ancient Greece, pregnancies were even measured in lengths of lunar months.
As such, Midwives, mothers-to-be, and even those with ovarian or reproductive issues can call upon Lady Selene for aid in their most vulnerable times of need.
This is another reason why Selene is often characterized as the “mother” in the Greek trinity. She has a heart of gold and is quite loving, but she also provides many biological necessities for childbirth.
Goddess Of Sleep & Dreams
As one of the Greek deities of sleep, Selene is often called upon for assistance in interpreting dreams and the symbols within the sleep realm.
Selene was known in ancient times to bring darkness during the daytime to help lull a mortal to sleep, bring dreams to someone who is already sleeping, or appear to mortals in their dreams to impart unto them her divine wisdom.
Therefore, working with Selene can help you improve your chances of lucid dreaming or even seeing prophetic symbolism in your dreams.
The goddess Selene was said to be so powerful that witches tried to sap this power from her by drawing down the moon. This legend was said to be the reason a Red Moon may blaze across the sky on any given night.
How Do You Know If The Goddess Selene Is Calling To You?
Although you can theoretically call upon a deity with extensive amounts of worship, deities often reach out to us when they want to work with us.
The Goddess Selene tends to reach out in very subtle ways. It can be difficult to determine if she is the goddess reaching out to you because she’s so mysterious and gentle, but there are a few specific tells.
Some of the indicators that the Goddess Selene is reaching out to you include:
1. Selene comes to you in dreams. This is one of the most common and obvious ways that the goddess of the moon may reach out to you. If you have a strong sense that a woman you encounter in your dream in the Greek goddess Selene, don’t ignore your intuition.
2. You have an interest in working with or worshiping Selene. This romantic deity of the moon is not very particular – she tends to take favor to those who adore her. If you ask politely to work with Selene, she will probably welcome you with open arms. It also helps to dedicate art and poetry to Selene to gain her favor.
3. The moon calls out to you. Have you always had a deep infatuation with the moon? Can you remember staring at it, sometimes for hours at a time, ever since you were young? Do you feel a stirring in your heart as it captivates you? Then I think you already know the answer. This can also apply if you find that you naturally live by the cycles of the moon throughout your life.
4. You are going through a time of change. The moon, in all its phases, is the very embodiment of consistent, cyclical change. Selene may come to us during transitional times to light our path in the darkness.
5. You have more energy and inspiration after nightfall. If you’ve always called yourself a night person or felt a buzz of energy and creativity as soon as the sun goes down, it may be an unidentified connection you have with the goddess Selene.
If you’d like to work with Selene, you don’t need to wait for a sign from her. You can make her an offering to politely ask for her blessing in your craft, and use a divination method like a pendulum or tarot cards to determine her answer or if she has any conditions for you to fulfill beforehand.
Symbols Of Selene
- The moon, triple moon symbolism, crescents
- Silver, white, blue, black
- Bulls and cattle
- Water, the Ocean
- The Suit of Cups
How To Work With Selene:
If you want to do deity work, it’s important to understand the basics. This includes warding and cleansing rituals as well as banishing exercises for when things get out of hand or trickster spirits appear in your area.
Both are common occurrences among beginners who don’t have these skills yet! In fact, it can take quite a while to actually make contact with any specific deity. Protection is really important here.
Of course, you can worship Selene without causing any harm, but if you want to actively work with her and form a relationship, then you should learn some defensive magic in case other entities breakthrough. Tricksters are probably more common than you realize.
What You’ll Learn From Working With Selene
From working with Selene, we can learn how to be more in touch with the divine feminine within ourselves. Working with the 28-day cycle brings us more in alignment with our own energetic rhythms, and is a great way to stay in tune with the goddess.
Furthermore, through Selene, we are begged to embrace the darkness along with the light, and see that there is hope even in the darkest of times. Unfortunately, this means acknowledging that there is death even in love, and that we should always be prepared for the many phases of life and what they may bring to us.
Selene will teach you that you cannot have the gentle touch of the moon without night. She’ll show you that it’s important to embrace the darkest parts of yourself and to find that light that lives within the dark inside of you.
Luckily, Selene is a gentle goddess, so these lessons probably won’t be too harsh. In my experience, she will help you to illuminate the darkness without losing your way.
Devotional Acts To Selene
1. Perform rituals that correspond with the moon’s phases. Practicing moon magic is a great way to honor the goddess Selene. Did you know that each of the 8 phases of the moon brings its own unique energy to your practice?
2. Create an altar space dedicated to Selene. Decorate your altar with moon symbolism, candles, and small offerings to the goddess.
3. Make moon water. Moon water is spring water or rainwater that has been left within the moon’s gaze to absorb its energies. These energies are further enhanced by the phases of the moon and the zodiac sign in which the moon falls. One would be wise not to leave moon water out in the Sun, lest it go stale.
4. Leave offerings for Selene on the New or Full Moon. If you have altar space dedicated for Selene, you can change out offerings to her on these days, or freshen up your altar.
5. Spend time outside at night or moon-gazing. Many followers of Selene find that they are drawn to the moon, gazing at it in wonder on each clear night. This sign of appreciation is a small, thoughtful gesture that shows Selene your adoration.
6. Create artwork for Selene. This romantic goddess can be swayed with grand gestures of adoration, so honor her with a flattering sculpture or embody her mysterious allure in poetry and song.
7. Perform divination. Interpreting Selene’s divine messages through tarot is one of my favorite ways of connecting with her on a deeper spiritual level. I love speaking with Selene through an oracle deck, especially one with dreamy vibes and a general message of self-care.
8. Plant a moon garden. Honor Selene by planting a moon garden, with a focus on low-light plants and flowers that bloom at night. (For example, tropical white morning glory or evening primrose)
9. Perform a self-care ritual. Selene wants us to honor and take care of ourselves, so I like to work with her element of water in a self-love bath ritual.
10. Meditate. Selene asks us to look inward, and her followers tend to reach her in the quiet depths of meditation.
Offerings For Selene
Obviously, you should make any offerings that feel right to you. However, I’ve compiled a list of popular offerings to Selene based on her likes and her associations.
- Moonstones, selenite, howlite, pearl
- Moon water
- Seashells, sea glass, driftwood, or sea salt
- Jewelry with moons or moon symbolism
The best offerings to the goddess Selene are gestures from the heart. Really embodying the Mother archetype of the triple goddess, it’s very much the thought that counts when it comes to working with Selene.
My Experience Working With Selene
I find Selene by working along with the moon cycles and the different astrological signs that the moon falls within at any given time. She is also keen to lend her potency when charging crystals, moon water, or spell-working tools in the moonlight. The different phases of the moon – full, waxing, waning, and new, present different energies to spellwork that one can harness to amplify their intent. These are all powers that Selene lends to us.
For most practitioners, Selene is a great deity to work with as part of a witchcraft practice. If you actively practice, Selene can teach you how to raise and harness the energy of the moon. She will help you get in-tune with your body and with the cycles of nature which will strengthen your energetic power.
Selene is patient and understanding, always there to lend a listening ear to my troubles and comfort me when I find myself lying awake at night. For those with insomnia, anxiety, depression, or other issues that may keep you up at night, Selene is a comforting figure that will hold you close if you call upon her in the darkness. She teaches you that there is beauty in darkness and shows you a different kind of beauty than you can see in the light.