Saturday, June 1, 2013

When the Great Mother Goddess became Fragmented

“Successive waves of invasions by the Indo-Europeans began the dethronement of the Great Goddess. The dates when these waves began are given by various authorities as between 4500 B.C. and 2400 B.C. The goddesses were not completely suppressed, but were incorporated into the religion of the invaders.

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 divinity were expropriated and given to a male deity. Raped appeared in myths for the first time, and myths arose in which the male heroes slew serpents—symbols of the Great Goddess. And, as reflected in Greek mythology, the attributes, symbols, and power that were once invested in one Great Goddess were divided among many goddesses. Mythologist Jane Harrison notes that the Great Mother goddess became fragmented into many lesser goddesses, each receiving attributes that once belonged to her.”

~Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., Goddesses in Every Woman

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

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