By Lotte Motz
The idea that the earliest people worshipped a sovereign, nurturing, maternal earth goddess is a well-liked one. it's been taken up as truth by way of the media, who repeatedly depict smooth goddess-worshippers as "reviving" the traditional religions of our ancestors. Feminist students contend that, within the primordial religions, the good mom used to be venerated because the fundamental, artistic strength, giving beginning to the realm, granting fertility to either vegetation and people, and ruling splendid over her relatives pantheon. The peaceable, matriarchal farming societies that worshipped her have been ultimately burnt up or subjugated by way of nomadic, patriarchal warrior tribes equivalent to the early Hebrews, who introduced their male God to overthrow the nice mom: step one within the construction and perpetuation of a brutal, male-dominated society and its attendant oppression and degradation of women.
In The Faces of the Goddess, Lotte Motz units out to check this speculation via reading the genuine girl deities of early human cultures. She reveals no hint of the nice mom of their myths or of their worship. From the Eskimos of the arctic desert, whose harsh existence even this present day such a lot heavily mirrors the earliest hunter gatherers, to the wealthy cultures of the sunny Fertile Crescent and the islands of Japan, Motz seems at quite a lot of goddesses who're known as mom, or who supply beginning of their myths. She reveals that those goddesses have various origins as ancestor deities, animal protectors, and different divinities, instead of stemming from a typical mom Goddess archetype. for example, Sedna, the robust goddess whose chopped-off hands turned the seals and fish that have been the Eskimos' leader resource of meals, had not anything to do with human fertility. certainly, human motherhood was once held in such low esteem that Eskimo girls have been pressured to provide start thoroughly by myself, without human companionship and no invaluable deities of childbirth. Likewise, whereas quite a few Mexican goddesses governed over therapeutic, women's crafts, motherhood and childbirth, and functioned as tribal protectors or divine ancestors, none of them both embodied the earth itself or granted fertility to the vegetation: for that the Mexicans regarded to the male gods of maize and of rain. Nor have been the rituals of those goddesses nurturing or peaceable. The goddess Cihuacoatl, who nurtured the author god Quetzalcoatl and helped him create humanity, was once worshipped with human sacrifices who have been driven right into a fireplace, got rid of whereas nonetheless alive, and their hearts have been lower out. And Motz heavily examines the Anatolian goddess Cybele, the "Magna Mater" ordinarily stated for instance of a strong mom goddess. Hers have been the final of the good pagan mysteries of the Mediterranean civilizations to fall sooner than Christianity. yet Cybele herself by no means supplies start, nor does she difficulty herself with assisting ladies in childbirth or childrearing. She isn't really herself a mom, and the male personality figuring such a lot prominently in her myths is Attis, her chaste significant other. Tellingly, Cybele's clergymen commit themselves to her via castrating themselves, therefore mimicking Attis's death--a very unusual strategy to venerate a goddess of fertility.
To depict those past goddesses as peaceable and nurturing moms, as is usually performed, is to disclaim them their very own advanced and complicated nature as beings who have been frequently violent and vengeful, delighting in sacrifice, or who reveled of their eroticism and have been worshipped as harlots. the assumption of a nurturing mom Goddess is especially strong. during this hard booklet, in spite of the fact that, Motz indicates that She is a fabricated from our personal age, no longer of previous ones. through discarding this simplistic and tired paradigm, we will open the door to a brand new state of mind approximately female spirituality and non secular experience.
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