Eating the Flesh of the Goddess: Demeter and the “Bread of Life”

by Harita Meenee

Two stand foremost among humans:
Goddess Demeter—call her Earth if you like—
who nourishes mortals with solid food;
the other one came later, Semele’s son,
who discovered the liquor of the grape,
and brought it to mortals, giving
the poor fellows surcease of sorrow…[1]

Euripides, Bacchae

The Mycenaean Earth Goddess holding ears of wheat (photo by the author)Strange as it may sound today, religion and food were once intimately connected. Ensuring adequate provisions for survival has been a major concern since the dawn of humanity. Since all food ultimately comes from the Earth, it came to be regarded as a generous Mother Goddess who nourishes her offspring, human or otherwise. As such, she had to be propitiated and thanked, in order to continue providing. It is barely stretching the imagination to think that rituals and offerings may have first been invented for this purpose.

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Dreaming and Inspiration with the Sleeping Goddess of Malta

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.

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Salome Speaks

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 …….

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The Messianic Delusion

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.

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Inanna: Androgynous Queen of Heaven and Earth

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.

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