Issue 3, Summer 2007
Mermaid 1, by Elizabeth Hazel
Articles & Fiction
Max Dashu, the Suppressed Histories Archives
Goddess Heresies: the legacies of stigma in academia
The controversy over goddess figurines, and whether they should be so called, illustrates the chasm between spiritual feminists and most of academia. We especially need to look at the conflicting values and agendas that come into play when we discuss what “goddess” meant in historical context. Saying “goddess” causes nervous discomfort, whether out of fears of superstitious fantasy or political threat or cultural illegitimacy or out-and-out blasphemy. The interpretations offered by scientistic positivists, Marxists, orthodox theologians, post-structuralists have many differences, but in one respect they are similar. They don’t like to hear goddess talk, and especially don’t want to hear that it has any political significance.
I would like to turn the lens around to face this aversion, and trace the Western academic allergy to anything “goddess” back to its historical origins in the Catholic Church. The first professors were doctors of the Church, whose doctrine shaped all fields of study, and governed what could be said and thought.
by Rev. Karen Tate
The tiny Maltese islands, located just south of Sicily, are home to the oldest megalithic freestanding stone structures that exist on Earth today. These intriguing structures, many of which resemble the shape of a woman’s body, predate the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge. One famous artifact found in these ancient sacred sites, the Sleeping Lady, is thought to be representative of the Goddess religion practiced on the islands. Discovered in the underground, labyrinth-like structure called the Hypogeum, the Sleeping Lady is as much of an enigma as the location in which she was found.
by Hazel Loveridge
Inanna was the deity revered as the planet Venus in ancient Sumer, located between the river Tigris and Euphrates, in present-day Iraq. Known as Ishtar to the Accadians to the north, she held an enduring appeal for the people of ancient Mesopotamia, her cult lasting nigh on 4000 years. She was goddess of love, sexuality and war.
Accompanying her brother Utu the sun god, appearing now at twilight now at dawn, she governed the borderlands, the magical, liminal realm between day and night, darkness and light. Radiantly beautiful yet bloodthirsty and voracious, impatient yet serene, callous, heartless yet loving spouse, it’s easy to see why Jacobsen refers to her as ‘of infinite variety.’(1) But before embarking on an analysis of the cultural icon that is Inanna, a brief introduction to Sumerian cosmology and cosmogony is in order.
by Theresa C. Dintino
Once there was the archetype of a nurturing womb that lived in the collective human psyche offering comfort and assurance. This archetype was a strong and persistent one. Modern westerners have lost this archetype. The loss of this powerful archetype leaves us with many wounds: a deep sense of isolation, alienation, disconnection and disorientation. We are plagued and haunted by deep, primal fear. This fear drives us, continually leading us in the wrong direction – away from a return to the Archetype of the Womb.
The Archetype of the Womb, the number one in sacred geometry, is one of connectedness, interconnectedness, unity and community. There is a birth from and return to the nurturing womb, rendering blood and darkness a sacred mystery. The mystery is held within the womb. When the universe, kosmos, is viewed as a womb, there is the awareness of a series of nested wombs held within this larger womb image – an infinite nesting of wombs within wombs. Carefully held contained space creates more carefully held contained space.
by Brian Charles
A propeller-driven aircraft flies above the clouds as, below on the ground, a city prepares. Thus is the opening shot of Leni Riefenstahl’s account of the 1934 Nuremberg rally “Triumph of the Will”. It lands. And from then on, all is focussed on the passenger on that plane, Adolf Hitler, as he makes his triumphal entry into Nuremberg. He is shown as an approachable, if somewhat physically unimposing, man who chats affably to all as women hold their babies up for him to bless. He has descended like Jesus from the heavens, and all are looking to him to heal their wounds – both collective and individual. There is no hint in all this of the chaos and ruin – the madness and industrialised murder that lies ahead – all is flowers and traditional costume.
A Meditation by Tiziana Stupia
Ground and centre, or prepare for meditation in your usual way.
You are walking along a rugged path atop a cliff, looking out over azure seas, sparkling faintly in the fading light. A large stone building comes into view and you aren't sure, in the deepening dusk, quite what it is, it seems to change from ancient to modern and back again as you squint and try to make it out.
As you approach, music can be heard, and a wonderful fragrance of jasmine drifts towards you. A little unsure, you approach the entrance, and hope no-one will mind if you follow the sweetly singing voice …….