Also known as:

Kar; Khar; Ker; Kher; Q’ar

Car is a great goddess of life, death, and the sun. She is a primordial cave mother, akin to Kybele or Echidna, who emerges from her cave daily to drive the chariot of the sun across the sky, returning to the depths of Earth at night. The word chariot and its derivative car may derive from her name. Her vehicle would survive but with new drivers like Helios or Apollo.

Pay attention: if you start to look and listen for Car’s sacred syllable, you will find it everywhere. Car’s ubiquity is among the mysteries of Katherine Neville’s 1989 novel, The Eight.

Her origins date back at least as far as the Neolithic. She seems to have first emerged in North Africa and was widely venerated throughout Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and the Sahara. She may have been their preeminent deity: Arab commentators called her “Libya,” indicating that she was the mother of that region, their presiding goddess. Devotees carried her devotion far and wide.

The syllable Car is ubiquitous among place-names and the names of goddesses. Speculation and debate exists as to whether all derive from the same primordial spirit. Although impossible to prove definitively, the following are among the many places possibly associated with Car:

• Carthage (allegedly founded by her priestess Elissa; also known as Dido)

• Carchemish

• Carcassonne

• Khartoum

• Carmel

• Khardaia (Algeria)

• Carnac (Brittany)

• Karnak (Egypt)

• Carnutes (Gaulish tribe)

• Chartres

• Carnuntum (on the Danube)

• Caraalis (now Cagliari, capital of Sardinia)

• Carpathians

• Corsica

• Caria (now modern Turkey)

Car may or may not be identical to (or the progenitor of) spirits like Kore, Ceres, Carna, Cardea, Carmenta, and Karina. (See their individual entries.) Other words with which she is associated include cardiac, carmine, carnal, and karma. She may be the spirit of sacred songs or carols.

Car remains a primordial force lurking in caves. She was beloved and venerated for millennia. Spirits who do not provide blessings or at least some positive, benevolent gifts are rarely venerated for long.

Car is also a death goddess. She may be the earliest manifestation of Kore as an underworld goddess, older than Hades or even Demeter. In Homer’s Iliad, fierce Car drags the dead from the battlefield.

According to Greek myth, Car’s son, Phoenix, was the ancestor of the Phoenicians, who are named after him. Their father is Poseidon. (This is a Greek myth, not a Phoenician one. Phoenician was the Greek name for the Canaanites. The myth explains how the Greeks viewed their seafaring neighbors, worshippers of a primeval goddess, not necessarily how the Phoenicians envisioned themselves.)


According to the Iliad, Car is black, fanged, and dressed in red.




The sun and possibly also the moon: scholarly debate rages.

Sacred bird: Phoenix, the solar bird

See Also:

Apollo; Echidna; Helios; Keres; Kybele; Poseidon


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.