Diety Subject Headings

What sorts of subject headings are available for deities and how does one establish subject headings for deities?
A number of different kinds of subject headings are available for deities, from the very broad to subject headings for a specific diety.

The broadest headings are Gods and Goddesses. These headings cannot be subdivided geographically but they can be qualified by place, as well as ethnic group. Therefore there are many headings such as:

  • Gods, Caribbean
  • Gods, Chinese
  • Gods, Minoan
  • Gods, Polynesian
  • Gods, Sami
  • Gods, Slavic
  • Goddesses, Afro-Brazilian
  • Goddesses, Assyro-Babylonian
  • Goddesses, Germanic
  • Goddesses, Mexican

All of these headings can be further subdivided by place if the material is about this god in a particular place, city, etc.

There are exceptions to this general pattern for Native American gods. These are currently established in direct order. Therefore for Native American gods the subject headings are established as follows:

  • Aztec gods
  • Maya gods
  • Mochica gods
  • Pueblo gods
  • Maya goddesses

These can all be further subdivided by place.

There are also headings for different types of gods. These are also established in direct order. For example:

  • Dying and rising gods
  • Forest gods
  • Horned gods
  • Mountain gods
  • Rain gods
  • Rice gods
  • Water gods
  • Wind gods
  • Grain goddesses
  • Mother goddesses

All of these headings can also be further subdivided by place.

Finally, there are headings for individual dieties. These are established by using the name of the diety and then qualifying it by the ethnic group for added clarification. For example:

  • Adonis (Greek diety)
  • Amon (Egyptian diety)
  • Borvo (Celtic diety)
  • Chi (Igbo diety)
  • Hurakan (Maya diety)
  • Lwembe (Kinga diety)
  • Nezha (Chinese diety)
  • Oxum (Afro-Brazilian diety)

These headings cannot be further subdivided by place.

The above subject headings are established individually. In other words, when the Library of Congress receives a book on a particular type of deity or an individual diety, they will establish the corresponding subject heading. Individual libraries that contribute to LCSH, also will set up headings for deities as needed. The ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee is willing to submit subject heading proposals for any anthropology/sociology librarian.

Therefore if a librarian sees the need for establishing a heading for a deity (or any other subject), they should email the current Co-Chair of the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee, Isabel Quintana at:

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