A goddess is a female deity. In some cultures goddesses are associated with Earth, motherhood, love, and the household. In other cultures, goddesses also rule over war, death, and destruction. They can be figureheads of religions and can be accessed in modern times by religious statues
In some religions, a sacred feminine archetype can occupy a very central place in prayer and worship. In Hinduism, Sacred Feminine or Shaktism is one of the three major Hindu denominations of worship along with Vishnu and Shiva. In Tibetan Buddhism, the highest achievement any person can achieve is to become like the “great” female Buddhas (e.g. Arya Tara) who are depicted as being supreme protectors, fearless and filled with compassion for all beings.
The primacy of a monotheistic or near-monotheistic “Great Goddess” is advocated by some modern matriarchists as a female version of, preceding, or analogue to, the Abrahamic God associated with the historical rise of monotheism in the Mediterranean Axis Age.
Some currents of Neopaganism, in particular Wicca, have a bitheistic concept of a single goddess and a single god, who in hieros gamos represent a united whole. Polytheistic reconstructionists focus on reconstructing polytheistic religions, including the various goddesses and figures associated with indigenous cultures.
The noun goddess is a secondary formation, combining the Germanic god with the Latinate -ess suffix. It is first attested in Middle English, from about 1350.