Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Great Goddess: Revisiting Herstory

"Before the coming of patriarchal religions the Great Goddess was regarded as immortal, changeless and omnipotent. She took lovers not to provide her children with a father, but for pleasure. Fatherhood had not yet been introduced into religious thought, and there were no male gods.

Successive waves of invasions by the Indo-Europeans began the dethronement of the Great Goddess. The goddesses were not completely suppressed, but were incorporated into the religion of the invaders.

The invaders viewed themselves as superior people because of their ability to conquer the more culturally developed earlier settlers, who worshiped the Great Goddess.  Known by many names--Astarte, Ishtar, Inanna, Nut, Isis, Ashtoreth, Au Set, Hathor, Nina Nammu and Ningal, among others - the Great Goddess was worshipped as the feminine life force deeply connected to nature and fertility.

The invaders imposed their patriarchal culture and their warrior religion on the conquered people. The Great Goddess became the subservient consort of the invaders' gods, and attributes or power that originally belonged to a female deity were expropriated and given to a male deity. Rape appeared in myths for the first time.

According to Merlin Stone, author of When God Was a Woman, the disenthronement of  the Great Goddess, begun by the Indo-European invaders, was finally accomplished by the Hebrew, Christian and Muslim religions that arose later.  The male deity took the prominent place. The female goddesses faded into the background and women in society followed suit."  

~Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., Goddesses in Everywoman

Painting of Goddess Inanna by Paola Suarez 

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