Light & Shadows of Chalandor Book of Shadows
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Title: Where Did Our Goddess Come From?
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Autumn_Heather
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Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:01/10/2009 23:12 PM)
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Where Did Our Goddess Come From?

The Great Mother Goddess took shape in the mind of man during the Paleolithic Age (5 million to 10,000 b.c.e.). Perceived as the life-giver and identified with the mysterious powers of procreation, her exalted form carried importance in the prehistoric community, which is confirmed by the great numbers of female statuettes uncovered by archeologists throughout the world. The Neolithic or New Stone Culture lasted from 8000 to 4000 b.c.e. Here too, we find real indications that the Mother Goddess moved with the growth of the human mind into this era. The overwhelming evidence of female statuettes found in Neolithic graves continues to suggest that the belief in the Earth Mother may have become even more important in the transition from food gathering to food production, when fertility and agricultural abundance were vital to the life of the community.

When we look at creation stories, we discover that in many ancient cultures, references to the Goddess come first. She is the darkness from which light came, the void from which all things were born; She is the beginning. When we examine the Charge of the Goddess, we see this affirmed in our own religion---"from me all things are born, and to me all things shall return." Yet our Goddess, as we know Her, can take a great deal of credit for Her entrance into our culture through the works of three distinct individuals. Jane Ellen Harrison, Sir Edmund Chambers, and Sir Arthur Evans. Chambers, civil servant and a scholar of the medieval stage of human development, declared in 1903 that prehistoric Europe worshipped a Great Earth Mother, in two aspects, creatrix and destroyer, who was known by many names. Ronald Hutton notes:

Chambers was not the main influence on the entrance of the Goddess into modern culture. That honor should go to his immediate contemporary, Jane Ellen Harrison of Cambridge University, who promoted the concept where it most mattered, among classicists and ancient historians. What Chambers did was introduce it subsequently to scholars of English literature, while it was prominently promoted among archeologists by Sir Arthur Evans, the person who made the discoveries in Crete.

It was Evans' discoveries in 1901 in Crete that led to a plethora of work on the subject by scholars of his time. Through this time period, the Goddess rose from the archeological dead. In 1948, a fellow by the name of Robert Graves fired the public with his rendition of The White Goddess.

Using his full tremendous talents as a poet, his excellent knowledge of the Greek and Roman classics, and a rather slighter acquaintance with early Irish Welsh literature, Graves developed the icon of the universal ancient European deity beyond the point at which it had been left in the 1900s. He took the imagery of….the three aspects and related them to the waxing, full, and waning moons to represent the One Goddess most potently as a bringer of life and death in her forms as Maiden, Mother and Crone. He divided her son and consort into two opposed aspects of his own, as God of the Waxing and of the Waning Year, fated to be rivals and combatants for her love. An especially important function of the Goddess, for Graves, was that she gave inspiration…..

Whether or not She had been complete before is not an issue, what is important is that She emerged fully functional in the Year of the Goddess, 1948, and She was ready for a new twist on religion---modern Witchcraft. She was indeed a countercultural deity who was to place a delicate but firm foot on the neck of patriarchy, Christianity, and the industrial world.

If this is so, how did She get buried in the first place? The birth of unified civilization, as we understand it today, seems to have put the first major dent in the idea of the supremacy of the Goddess, digging a grave from which most believed She would never rise. As Neolithic villages gave way to city-states--as mankind strove to conquer, tame and control the environment as well as his own kind--so the strength and power of the Goddess(and Her human female counterparts)fell victim to the violence constructed by a male-dominated society. A good look at Afghanistan today(I write this as the conflict has been thrown full force into the media eye of the world) shows us how, as women became degraded and abused, so their divine archetype is slowly strangled. The Goddess of the ancients, however, didn't go easily into that dark night of modern, structured religion. For thousands of years She continued to speak from man faces--Astarte in Babylon and Sumeria; Isis (and others) from Egypt, Danu of the Celts; and Mary, Sophia, and Brigid of medieval Europe, to name a few. It is, unfortunately, our modern culture that stares at ancient history like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a truck.

Goddess? What Goddess?

Of course there is a great deal more to learn about the history of the Goddess and how She has floated in and out of our cultural and social models throughout history. And where there is history, there will be controversy on "the facts." Case in point: Mary Magdalene was ot a prostitute and indeed man of the stories about Mary Magdalene are nothing more than a collection of many Marys (as Mary was the predominant female name in Christ's time) jumbled into one mythos. Indeed, according to historians today, Mary Magdalene was considered the most spiritually aggressive of the disciples, and it was her collars that funded the rest of the male crew while they romped around the Holy Lane spreading their message of hope for the future. Ain't it always the way (Just kidding.) I still want to know how she turned that white egg to red (but I digress)…..

Regardless of such stories, we know that the supremacy of the Goddess even existed in early Christianity, until She was tossed out. Let's face it, if the women of the time were treated like baggage, enslaved and considered property, how could one employ a female divinity in one' religion? If She really existed, wouldn't She be a bit testy on the treatment of Her energy made flesh? Let's just ignore Her, that said, and may She will go away.


Or not.

The point here is to tell you that the belief that She exists isn't something, new, strange, or anti-religious. She was here first, and She will be the last to go, no matter what anyone tries to tell you, simply because everyone needs the perfect mommy.

"The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation, Solitary Witch"

Silver RavenWolf

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