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Desna's Holy Symbol
Titles The Song of the Spheres
The Great Dreamer
The Tender of Dreams
Lady Luck
Resplendent Goddess of Fortune
Goddess of the North Star
Queen of the North Star
Mother Moon
Adjective Desnan
Home The palace Sevenfold Cynosure, in the star Cynosure
Alignment Chaotic good
Portfolio Dreams
Worshipers Travelers, astronomers, gamblers, Varisians, musicians
Cleric Alignments
Domains Chaos, Good, Liberation, Luck, Travel
Subdomains Azata, Curse, Exploration, Fate, Freedom, (Imagination), (Revelry), Revolution
Favored Weapon Starknife
Symbol Butterfly
Sacred Animal Butterfly
Sacred Colors Blue, white

Desna (pronounced DEZ-nuh)[1] was one of the first deities, but while her peers burdened themselves with the task of creating Golarion she spent her time building the heavens. She's changed little since those earlier days, and she and her followers delight in exploring the world.[2]



Desna is an ancient goddess of freedom and luck, and is credited with the creation of the heavens. In her earliest days the god Curchanus, an enemy of the goddess Lamashtu, was her mentor. Lamashtu laid a trap for Curchanus and stripped him of his beast domain, ripping it from his godly essence. As he died he gifted Desna with the domain of travel; she has traveled the planes and worlds since, opposing both oppression and Lamashtu wherever she encounters them, and spreading her word while making an effort to experiencing new wonders when she can.[2][3]

The ancient Azlanti worshiped Desna as a goddess of stars before she was gifted the travel domain.[4]


Desna is strongly opposed to Lamashtu due to the murder of Desna's one-time mentor, and wishes to reclaim the domain of beasts. She also actively hunts the demigod Ghlaunder, who legends claim she freed during one of her many travels. Cayden Cailean is known to be a suitor of hers, but she keeps aloof of most godly affairs; past traumas and her desire for freedom lead her into fewer interactions with other deities and their faiths than most. She is known to have good relations with Sarenrae and Shelyn, and to oppose both Rovagug and Zon-Kuthon for control of the night, which she wishes to be a time of wonder and beauty.[3]


Unlike most of the other deities, Desna has no true realm in the Great Beyond, although she does occasionally travel to a small castle that floats above the rugged beauty of Elysium.[5] Her true home is among the stars of the Material Plane, where it is rumored that she lives in a place called the Sevenfold Cynosure, somewhere in or around the star Cynosure.[6]

Appearance and Emissaries

Desna is a Varisian goddess often described as a beautiful elven woman, with butterfly wings containing all the beauty of a clear night sky. She is oft depicted as having dark hair, silvery eyes, and a coy but distant smile, wearing diaphanous gowns and sometimes accompanied by swarms of butterflies.[2][3]

Additional details vary among the races that worship her; the Bonuwat people of the Mwangi Expanse worship a variant form of Desna, a janiform amalgam with Gozreh, whom they call Shimye-Magalla.[7] The nomadic Kellids of northern Avistan depict Desna not as the elegant elven woman she is generally seen as in the south, but a stately human woman riding an elk.[8]


Meeting a star monarch: servants of Desna

Desna and her faithful hold creatures that symbolize freedom and the night sky as beautiful and holy; of particular favor are butterflies, which often appear to signal the goddess' favor, the lyrakien, and certain fey creatures of the night.[3]

This black and silver spotted avoral is a fierce ally of the Desnan clergy, prone to singing in battle.[3]
A dramatic lillend composer with black, star-dappled scales and feathers, she wears many black ribbons and enjoys helping mortals for songs and inspiration.[3]
The Night Monarch
Appearing as a massive butterfly-like creature the size of a dragon, the night monarch is the herald of Desna. It's considered a sign of good luck by both her followers and travelers alike.[3]
Star monarchs[9]

Church of Desna

The church of Desna has few temples to it's name, and its priests rarely settle in a single location. The faithful of the Great Dreamer can be found on the roads of Golarion, among the caravans of Varisians and other who call the roads and beauty of the wilderness home. Other centers of worship include Kyonin, the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, Nidal, Numeria, the River Kingdoms, and Ustalav.[2][3]

Worshipers and Clergy

A Desnan priestess
A stargazer cleric of Desna

Desna is the goddess of travel and journeys, and there are few who traverse the roads who wouldn't spare her a prayer or a simple-worded plea for benediction. Scouts, sailors, and those who travel for travel's sake make up a large amount of her following, though her domain of luck also makes her a favorite deity among gamblers and thieves. The informal clergy of Desna is primarily composed of clerics, though on occasion bards are called by some song or whisper in the night to follow her path. In addition, spherewalkers are paragons of the Desnan ideal of seeing new sights each day and finding locales unheard of but often dreamed of. The individuals that comprise the clergy usually garb themselves in white robes and silk caps, emphasized by varied decorative elements and usually accompanied by one or more starknives.[2][3]

River Kingdoms

The Nomen centaurs of the River Kingdoms worship Desna in an aspect called 'Mother Moon'.[10]

Tian Xia

In Tian Xia, Desna is known as the Resplendent Goddess of Fortune, and the Goddess of the North Star.[11][12]


Desna is held in special affection by most halflings, especially those who travel or seek adventure. Traveling halflings take tokens of the goddess and frequent her shrines along their journey.[13] They attribute their special luck and some halflings' ability to jinx as a gift from the goddess. This luck is personified in the goddess Chaldira Zuzaristan, who is seen by halflings to be Desna's loyal friend.[14]

Crown of the World

Hundreds of years ago, tundra nomads, called the Uqtaal clans of the Crown of the World, worshipped Desna as the 'Queen of the North Star' as they revered her as their protector during the long arctic nights. They also believed that at the point of death, their souls would travel to the North Star. They built the Uqtaal Necropolis at the base of the Wall of Heaven Mountains with a passage called the Path of Spirits that led souls onto the High Ice, and then from there to the North Pole, guided by the North Star. There Desna would find them and take their soul to their final resting place in the stars. Unfortunately, the Uqtaal clans eventually were corrupted to the worship of Fumeiyoshi away from Desna.[15]


Because of their goddess' adversarial relationship with Zon-Kuthon, worshipers of the Song of Stars have long tried to infiltrate the Kuthonite nation of Nidal. Even though the worship of any other deity in that nation is illegal, Desnans have had some success in northern Nidal, in a region known as the Atteran Ranches. When the central government in Pangolais discovered this and were about to intervene, the great ranching families of the area held them off by promising to take care of the problem themselves. They formed posses of mercenaries called dream hunters to track down and eliminate any Densa-worshipers, which still traverse the region.[16]

Temples and Shrines

Temples of Desna are few and far between, with most locations dedicated to the goddess being no more than roadside shrines erected in her honor; her faithful often leave markings and dedications in newly discovered areas and secluded locales. Those few temples that do exist often serve as observatories and are as open to the night sky as possible.[2]

Dedicated to the faith of Desna seven bell towers are believed to have existed at one point throughout the Inner Sea. The seven towers represented the Seven Towers of Desna's palace and each tower housed a sacred Bell of Mercy. Pilgrimages to all seven towers were often undertaken by Desna's faithful.[17]

Holy Texts

Writings sacred to Desna tend to be easily portable, written in simple language and often containing references to exotic, beautiful places and roads containing a shrine.[3]

The Eight Scrolls 
These writings detail Desna's early days and the basic edicts of her faith.[2][3]
Shrine Wall Writings 
Almost all Desnan shrines are covered with the observations and prayers of travelers and priests of her faith, containing the wisdom of the road and hints for the start of new journeys.[3]


Ritual of Stardust 
Taking place on both the winter and summer solstices, when the fires burn low the faithful throw stardust into the embers and make wishes and pledges for the months to come.[3]
Swallowtail Festival 
Every year on the first day of the month of Rova the followers of Desna release cages full of swallowtail butterflies, an act that honors a story told by the faithful.[3]


  1. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 246. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 162. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Sean K Reynolds. (2007). Desna. The Skinsaw Murders, p. 66-75. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-037-7
  4. James Jacobs, Kevin Kulp, Rob McCreary, and Owen K.C. Stephens. (2010). City of Seven Spears. City of Seven Spears, p. 47. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-274-6
  5. Todd Stewart. (2009). The Great Beyond: A Guide to the Multiverse, p. 36. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-167-1
  6. James L. Sutter. (2012). Distant Worlds, p. 50. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-403-0
  7. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 29. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  8. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 27. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  9. Jim Groves, James Jacobs, Rob McCreary, et al. (2012). Inner Sea Bestiary, p. 50. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-468-9
  10. Greg A. Vaughan. (2010). The Varnhold Vanishing. The Varnhold Vanishing, p. 33. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-234-0
  11. Dave Gross. (2011). Master of Devils, p. 33. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-357-6
  12. James Jacobs, Dave Gross, Rob McCreary. (2011). Dragon Empires Gazetteer, p. 59. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-379-8
  13. Hal Maclean and Amber E. Scott. (2010). Halflings of Golarion, p. 17. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-278-4
  14. Hal Maclean and Amber E. Scott. (2010). Halflings of Golarion, p. 17-18. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-278-4
  15. Jason Nelson. (2011). The Hungry Storm. The Hungry Storm, p. 43. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-374-3
  16. James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 135. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
  17. Jim Groves. (2013). Wrath of the Righteous Treasures. Demon's Heresy, p. 62. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-577-8

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