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.
Continue reading "The Archetype of the Womb – Part 1"
by Cheryl Straffon
In rural areas, especially in the Celtic enclaves of Ireland and Scotland, a great number of customs grew up around this time, most associated with the Goddess whose festival this became, Bridget or Bride (pronounced Breed). When Christianity eventually took over, it found that such an important festival and its much-loved Goddess could not be ignored, so they changed the name to Candlemass, which still takes place in the Christian church on February 2nd, the festival of the purification of the virgin. The all-loving and nurturing Goddess, protectress of women and of childbirth, was turned into a festival in which the mother of Christ (who was still considered to be a virgin) had somehow to be cleansed of the process of giving birth, as if it were somehow unclean or shameful.
Continue reading "Imbolc and Bridget"
by Rev. Karen Tate
Dan Brown's bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, piqued the curiosity of millions of all faiths with his accounts of the Sacred Feminine. With nearly 50 million books sold, the long anticipated film version of Brown’s story hit the screen in May associated with such a hotbed of controversy the likes of which the film industry had not seen since The Passion of the Christ. With the release of The Da Vinci Code dvd, this theme of the partnership of Mary Magdalene and Jesus, and the glimpse into the true herstory of Goddess will no doubt continue to be in the hearts, minds and living rooms of millions more for sometime to come despite Church disdain for the theme. Yet, their subsequent call for a boycott of the movie did not dampen enthusiasm, perhaps proving there is a hunger for these new ideas as readers and movie-goers alike let their wallets speak. But post-Da Vinci, what will those new to this alternative version of history be asking? Phone calls into The Temple of the Goddess and to some of the people associated with this Church have been learning the answers first hand. Among the inquiries are, “Who are these people advocating for the return to veneration or ideals of a female face of God?” “What would that mean for society?” and “Who is the Goddess?” “Why didn’t I know about Her?” The answer might best be answered by looking back before we look ahead.
Continue reading "The New Goddess Advocates: Who Are They?"
by Jacqui Woodward-Smith
Brigit of the mantles,
Brigit of the peat-heap,
Brigit of the twining hair
When, in my early and mid-20s, I journeyed to the Underworld in the midst of a dark depression the urge that I most had to fight against was one to cut my hair; not to have it trimmed, or shaped, or styled to make me feel better, but to hack at it, cut chunks out of it, shave my head, make it ugly, destroy it. Somehow my hair was a symbol of my inner self and I felt that if I could make it look the way that I felt inside everyone would understand the dark place that I was in and I would never have to explain it, or hide it, again. Yet it wasn’t a considered thought, it was a barely understood visceral urge that I battled against almost every day, and I have since heard other women describe similar feelings. I think that that’s when I really started to think about hair…
…and the more that I thought about hair the more that I noticed references to it in the Goddess-centred books that I was reading and the stories that I heard. It became clear to me that, for women at least, our hair is a symbol of something deep and primal; a symbol of our wild, and yet often rejected or hidden, inner selves and it is, yet another, example of a symbol that has been taken from us and controlled, possibly to the point where it’s original meaning and power has been destroyed completely…but perhaps in everything there is a glimmer that can be reclaimed?
Continue reading "Let down your hair"
Max Dashu, the Suppressed Histories Archives
So much confusion has been sown about goddess veneration. Resistance to seeing any sacral value in ancient female icons has been a particular sticking point in academia. There, emphasis is usually placed on theoretical frameworks that seem to ignore the sense of sacredness that pervades aboriginal cultures. And there has been fundamental misunderstanding of what the Women’s Spirituality movement means when we speak of Goddess or goddesses. These are some of my reflections on these gaps and what needs to be clarified.
Goddess is a contested word today. In popular culture it has been totally desacralized, disrespected, stripped down and trivialized. People talk about a sex goddess (movie star) or a diva, which is Italian for “goddess”— but used mostly to describe singers with overinflated egos. It’s hardly a reverent term. It has no cultural standing of its own in mainstream society.
Continue reading "The Meanings of Goddess – Part 1"
by Barbara Ardinger
Our Found Goddesses are the ones we make up. Sure, we can appeal to Aphrodite for love and Ops when our bank account is running dry and Frigga to get our house in order, but which of the traditional goddesses is in charge of computers? We Find new goddesses to deal with modern issues.
The guys on the Y2K Project used to laugh at me when I explained how computers work. It’s gerbils. With flashcards. See for yourself if I’m not right. Turn on your computer and listen to the noises the CPU makes as it boots up. Watch the screens. When Windows comes up, that’s the signal that the gerbils have gone back to sleep and the various computer goddesses are now assuming control of your system. But the faithful and industrious gerbils were there when we needed them.
Continue reading "The Computer Goddesses"
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.
Continue reading "The Meanings of Goddess – Part 2"
by Geraldine Charles
This chap might seem an unlikely introduction to an article about Hera. He strides across the landscape of Dorset, in South West England, and is known colloquially as “the Rude Man of Cerne Abbas”, although the tourist guides call him “the Cerne Abbas Giant”.
What is his relationship to Goddess? Come to that, why is he there – in that particular place? There’s no agreement as to when he first appeared – although many argue for an Iron Age dating (and there is an Iron Age earthworks just above his head, where maypole dances take place, still led by the local Morris Men). So far, however, no written record can trace him to any earlier than the 17th century and it has been theorized that he was created as an insult to Oliver Cromwell, who ruled England during the brief period of the English Revolution - but what Western man was ever insulted by being caricatured with “wedding tackle” which I’m assured would measure almost eleven inches if the 180 foot figure were downsized to around six feet? Interestingly, given that Hera's main attribute was that of protector, Cromwell's title was ""Lord Protector".
Continue reading "The Goddess and the Rude Man: Hera – Great Goddess and Protector"
by Anique Radiant Heart
The clerk on the other side of the United Airlines check-in counter registered a look of horrified disbelief as I hefted my first suitcase onto the weighing platform.
“This bag is 30lbs overweight”, she says in a strangled voice. The queue is rather long this morning.
“Ah..these are the trials and tribulations of being a travelling Priestess of the Goddess” I say with a perfectly straight face. Adding a little strain around the eyes I add “ It’s the robes, the cloaks, the head gear, the travelling altar and all the other accoutrements that a decent Priestess must have.”
Continue reading "On Being a Travelling Priestess of the Goddess and Singer of the Sacred Songs of the Temple"
Cristina Biaggi, Ph.D
According to archaeological, mythological and anthropological evidence, the Great Goddess was probably the principal deity worshipped along the Mediterranean, in Europe, the Near East, much of Russia, North Africa, India and even parts of China during the Upper Paleolithic (30,000-10,000 BCE) and in the Neolithic (roughly 7,000 to 2,500 BPE). The Goddess was still present in the Bronze Age but with the rise of the "big" kingdoms, She became subsumed in their general pantheons, acquired different names and was either conquered, raped or married off to various newly emergent and vigorous gods (Tiamat and Marduk in Mesopotamia and Hera and Zeus in Greece immediately spring to mind). Recently, due to the women’s movement and to the growing attention to woman’s place in history, the Goddess has made a comeback. There seems to be a need to see the Goddess as an embodiment of the feminine sensibility, contained in both sexes, in this era where the negative fruits of patriarchy are glaringly apparent.
Continue reading "The Great Goddess and Her Influence Herstorically and in the Present"
by Jacqui Woodward-Smith
“Female spirit, the goddess in us, is not fragile or new; not an invention of privileged women or an escapist New Age elite. We are tough and ancient: tried by a million years of ice and fire. On enormous and minute wheels of pain and beauty we have turned…we return to tell and respell our story.”1