The Great Goddess


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Journey through the attributes, rituals, healing gifts, and histories of many of the world's great goddesses. Learn about the necessity to manifest the Heiros Gamos, or Sacred Marriage of the masculine and feminine housed within each of us. Choose to see and unite dualities in order to bring about the higher frequencies of the ONE.

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  • 1- Page 61 in Mookerjee, A. (1988). Kali: The feminine force. Rochester: Destiny Books.
  • Biblical story revises older legend – Ishtar got the story from Nueh (later Noah), a Moon Goddess. Ishtar prophesized a flood and she sailed the Ark and she sent out a dove, a swallow and finally a raven (did not return). Ishtar lifted up her jeweled necklace to the Heavens (the first rainbow) and rejoiced.
  • The Great Goddess

    1. 1. * The GREAT goddess in her many guises crystal lynne churchill
    2. 2. <ul><li>“ All goddess images are simply aspects of the one Great Goddess.” </li></ul><ul><li>Marija Gimbutas </li></ul><ul><li>The Age of the Great Goddess </li></ul>*
    3. 3. “ We only now are beginning to realize that Western civilization has its roots in the Ice Age and that our family tree is a matrilineal one, traceable through the images of the Goddess.” -Elinor W. Gadon The Once and Future Goddess
    4. 4. Even though shunned and disparaged by the Western main- stream for over two millennia, the Goddess has found a way to make Herself known. Be it through the purity of the Virgin Mary or the naked, awe-inspiring Hindu Kali, the Goddess is alive and well.
    5. 5. Currently the subject of much research, the Goddess takes us back to cultures preceding Christianity. She can be seen as part of a larger continuum of ancient reverence for so much that our Western culture has marginalized or rejected: the body, the earth, the feminine, indigenous cultures, and people of color.
    6. 6. As a result of the denigration of the Goddess in our Western religious traditions, the “feminine” in the psyche of both men and women has become fragmented. Due to our focusing on and venerating Her lighter side, we have cast Her darker aspects deeply into our collective unconscious.
    7. 7. Owing to our ignorance of the strength and power held within the feminine, our exploitation of the earth (Her symbolic body), and the abuse of our own bodies, Pandora’s box (our unconscious) has been opened and the trans-formative chaos has begun.
    8. 8. The Anasasi have a saying, &quot; self-contradictory qualities meld to create strength.”
    9. 9. <ul><li>In order to find the strength we need to heal our relationships and a world torn in two, we must learn to honor and respect both the masculine and the feminine, the light and the dark, the rational and the intuitive. </li></ul><ul><li>In the following presentation on the Goddess, we will consider our link to another time when darkness (attributed to the feminine) was considered positive – symbolizing wisdom, life, fertility, the earth, and regeneration. </li></ul>
    10. 10. The hindu goddess KALI O Kali, my mother full of bliss. Enchantress of the almighty Shiva. In thy delirious joy Thou danceth clapping Thy hands together. Eternal one. Thy great first cause, clothed in the form of the void…Thou art the mover of all that moves, and we are but Thy helpless toys. We move along as Thou move us and speak as through us Thou speak. -Bengali poet Ramakrishna (1886) Sadashiva is without energy (lifeless) when Mahakali is manifest. He also is like a corpse when in union with Shakti. Clearly, without Shakti, the primordial god is lifeless and cannot act . - Todala Tantra, I
    11. 11. Background Information <ul><li>While Westerners are dualistic in their thinking, believing in a God that is all good and a devil that is all bad, Hindus believe in only one Universal Power which is beyond good and bad. This Power comes through to their people wearing many guises. Unlike much of Western mythology, Hinduism at all times has recognized the feminine principle, most prominently in the form of consort to Shiva or Shiva-Shakti. The male power is useless without this energizing female power, conceived of in its benign form as Paravati, and in its fierce or destructive form as Kali. </li></ul>Kali Temple Calcutta, India Kali, the Great Goddess, continues to be a focus of devotion in India.
    12. 12. <ul><li>SYMBOLS </li></ul><ul><li>* Kali is the East Indian Goddess of Creation and Destruction -Shiva is her consort. </li></ul><ul><li>* The yoni-yantra is the sign of the Great Mother as cosmic womb, the source of all life. </li></ul><ul><li>* In India, the breasts, belly and yonic entrance are symbols of reverent touch. </li></ul><ul><li>* The lotus is a symbol for the yoni. </li></ul><ul><li>* In her nakedness Kali is free from all hidden illusion. She is Nature stripped of her ‘clothes’. </li></ul><ul><li>* Her necklace of fifty human heads represents the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, and wearing them She is the repository of all knowledge and wisdom. </li></ul><ul><li>* Kali has three eyes; the third one stands for wisdom. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Attributes <ul><li>“ Kal” means darkness and time, “i” means cause - being black symbolizes her transcendence of all form. </li></ul><ul><li>Kali is a Triple Goddess: maid, mother and crone -creator, preserver, and destroyer. </li></ul><ul><li>Kali manifested herself for the annihilation of demonic male power in order to restore peace and equilibrium to the land. </li></ul><ul><li>She is the expression of raw emotion and “the feminine” is but a fraction of Her intense power. </li></ul><ul><li>She is tied to the sacrifice, death and rebirth </li></ul><ul><li>myth through Her consort, Shiva. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Archetypal Influence <ul><li>* Kali's favors may be won by acknowledging Her and the realities She dramatically conveys. The image of Kali teaches us that pain, sorrow, decay, death, and destruction are not overcome by denying them or explaining them away but by facing and integrating them. </li></ul><ul><li>* All dark goddesses, especially the Black Madonnas, are said to have stemmed from the mythic Hindu Goddess Kali. </li></ul><ul><li>* Kali helps us move through intense upheaval and change. </li></ul>*
    15. 15. Rituals <ul><li>Megalithic domes are built as “wombs” and their entrances resemble the yoni of the Great Mother Kali. After the first monsoon, a ceremony takes place near the moist cleft of the cave opening where the water runs red due to the iron-oxide in the earth. This becomes a ritual drink symbolic of the Great Mother’s menstrual blood. Pilgrims crawl through a tunnel (the birth canal) within these entrances and emerge born again. </li></ul><ul><li>A famous temple in Assam is dedicated to yoni worship. </li></ul>
    16. 16. <ul><li>HEALING QUALITIES </li></ul><ul><li>When we embrace the archetype of Kali, She is said to heal our psyches. </li></ul><ul><li>Kali is Mother to Her worshippers, not because She protects them from the way things really are, but because She reveals to them their mortality and thus releases them to act fully and freely. </li></ul><ul><li>She releases them from the incredible, binding web of &quot;adult&quot; pretense, practicality, and rationality. </li></ul>*
    17. 17. Look upon a woman - as a goddess whose special energy she is, and honour her in that state. – Uttara Tantra
    18. 18. DEMETER The grecian Goddess And now let me sing Demeter, that awesome goddess, with her beautiful hair Her and her daughter with slender feet, whom Aedoneus carried away, and Zeus who sees far in his deep voice allowing it. -Homer To enter into the figure of Demeter means to be pursued, to be robbed, to be raped, to fail to understand, to rage and grieve, but then to get everything back and be born again. -C.G. Jung *
    19. 19. Background Information <ul><li>Demeter is the daughter of the Titans: Rhea and Cronos. </li></ul><ul><li>Zeus, Hades, Hestia, Hera, and Poseidon are her siblings. </li></ul><ul><li>A fair-haired earth goddess, She participated in ancient fertility rites in order to bless all phases of the harvest. </li></ul><ul><li>As the Corn Priestess, She would lie with her lover during the autumn equinox and through this Sacred Marriage, would bring prosperity to the land. </li></ul><ul><li>Her daughter, Persephone, the love of Her life, was abducted by Hades to be his wife in the Underworld. Zeus decreed that Persephone would spend half each year in the Underworld. During these months Demeter grieved Her daughter's absence, and withdrew Her gifts from the world, creating winter and the barren season. Her return brought the seasons of spring and summer. </li></ul><ul><li>Persephone’s rape by Hades symbolizes the power struggle between the patriarchal cultures and the cults to the goddess. </li></ul>
    20. 20. <ul><li>Symbols </li></ul><ul><li>Demeter is known as Ceres to the Romans. </li></ul><ul><li>She gives man the sickle and the plow so that he can live off the earth. </li></ul><ul><li>Her flower is the poppy which provides solace for human grief. </li></ul><ul><li>Demeter’s animal form was a pig. Pigs are quite fertile, often bearing twelve piglets at a time and 20-30 per year. </li></ul><ul><li>Demeter received her torch from Hecate. She used it to shed light on the Underworld in order to find Persephone. </li></ul><ul><li>She was a chthonic goddess (having to do with the earth, fertility, the Underworld, and death). </li></ul><ul><li>Her polarities are compassion and rage. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Attributes <ul><li>As the Great Mother, Demeter represents unconditional love. She is a nurturer and caregiver. </li></ul><ul><li>Demeter’s archetype governs the lessons of attachment and aversion, the pathology of loss and rejection, the capacity for grief and sorrow, and the principle of sharing. </li></ul><ul><li>The first bread of the season is always donated to Her. </li></ul><ul><li>Demeter is intimately associated with the seasons. </li></ul><ul><li>Earth's increase, foison plenty, Barn and garners never empty, Vines with clust'ring bunches growing, Plants with goodly burthen bowing: Spring come to you at the farthest In the very end of harvest' Scarcity and want shall shun you; Ceres' blessing so is on you. </li></ul><ul><li>- Shakespear’s Tempest </li></ul>
    22. 22. Archetypal Influence <ul><li>Demeter is a part of the sacrifice, death and rebirth myth alongside Her daughter Persephone – a vegetation goddess. </li></ul><ul><li>Demeter is the archetype of the purely maternal woman. She finds fulfillment and is completed through Her children. </li></ul><ul><li>When working with the archetype of Demeter in our lives, we often find that we switch roles mid-stream and take on the attributes of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. </li></ul>
    23. 23. Rituals The Eleusinian Mysteries ritualize the theme of loss and return, of death and rebirth. These rites were performed in Greece for two thousand years until their suppression in 396 A.D. &quot;Thrice blessed are those who have seen these Mysteries for they know the end of life and the beginning.&quot; -- Pindar
    24. 24. <ul><li>HEALING QUALITIES </li></ul><ul><li>Demeter asks us to face the possibility of death and to resolve our fears about dying. </li></ul><ul><li>She aids us in “passing over” and points us toward an understanding of reincarnation. </li></ul><ul><li>She teaches us the process of “letting go”. This is all a process of life/death/renewal. Nothing can be reborn until something else dies. Release is a precursor to rebirth. </li></ul><ul><li>Demeter also teaches us to share, especially our bounty. </li></ul>
    25. 25. A Poem by D.H. Lawrence (just before his death) Not every man has gentians in his house in soft September, at slow, sad Michaelmas. Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark darkening the daytime, torch-like, with the smoking blueness of Pluto's gloom, ribbed and torch-like, with their blaze of darkness spread blue down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto's dark-blue daze, black lamps from the halls of death, burning dark blue, giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter's pale lamps give off light, lead me then, lead the way.
    26. 26. Reach me a gentian, give me a torch! Let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness even where Persephone goes, just now, from the frosted September to the sightless realm where darkness is awake upon the dark and Persephone herself is but a voice or a darkness invisible enfolded in the deeper dark of the arms Plutonic, and pierced with the passion of dense gloom, among the splendor of torches of darkness, shedding darkness on the lost bride and her groom.
    27. 27. The sumerian goddess INANNA We go down as she goes down We follow Her underground Hail to Inanna Who dies to become whole And deep calls to deep The veils drop by on our way We find truth in deepest night And deep calls to deep. --Suzanne Sterling As we pass through the gates With Inanna as our guide
    28. 28. Background Information *Sumer was located in the southern portion of what is now Iraq, where it is dry and arid and the soil is like sand. With the help of the Goddess Inanna, they turned this desolate land into a Garden of Eden –3,500 B.C.E. *Sumer was the home of the first urban centers. *The Sumerians developed cuneiform, a style of writing that was later used all over the Near East. It is written that recorded history began here.
    29. 29. Symbols Inanna’s animal is the lion. Inanna often bears Date Palms in her art images. The Date Palm is the oldest tree known and cultivated by man. Its fruit was a staple food for the Sumerians. In the Sumerian culture, the date cluster is also considered a symbol of male fertility and female fecundity. The goddess wears a double horned crown illustrating Her high rank as an influential goddess. Extending or growing from behind Inanna's shoulders are stalks of vegetation. These natural symbols included in Inanna's sacred art image reinforce Her role as a vegetation and fertility goddess.
    30. 30. Attributes Queen of all given powers unveiled clear light unfailing woman wearing brilliance cherished in heaven and earth chosen, sanctified in heaven You grand in your adornments crowned with your beloved goodness rightfully you are High Priestess your hands seize the seven fixed powers my queen of fundamental forces guardian of essential cosmic sources you lift up the elements bind them to your hands gather in powers press them to your breast vicious dragon you spew venom poisons the land like the storm god you howl grain wilts on the ground swollen flood rushing down the mountain you are Inanna - supreme in heaven and earth... The world's oldest attributable work, the work of priestess, princess, and poet, Enheduanna, goes back over 4,000 years. Written approx. 2,300 B.C.E.
    31. 31. Archetypal Influence <ul><li>In Mesopotamia, the archetypal couple are Inanna and Dumuzi. Living in a desert clime, lives were governed by the changing of the seasons. The onset of the lean season was known to bring out the fierce dark-side of the goddess of death and destruction, Ereshkigal. Inanna decides to visit the Queen of the Underworld and must dance the dance of the seven veils. Upon loosing them (death to the ego), Her life is reduced to naught. As was so with Kali, Inanna also becomes nature “stripped of her clothes”. In effect, Ereshkigal sentences Inanna to death. Nature dies. Through the intervention of the god Enki, Inanna could be reborn if another took her place. She chose her beloved Dumuzi. Later She laments Her actions and searches for him. Dumuzi is allowed back for 6 months to ensure the fertility of both womb and soil, while his sister Geshtinana, playing a role like unto Persephone, takes his place the other half of the year. Dumuzi's death and resurrection become instituted ritual. </li></ul>
    32. 32. Rituals Sumerians celebrated the Holy Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi yearly at the autumn equinox which brought the land fertility and growth again because Dumuzi had returned from the underworld and made love with Inanna. The courtly love poetry that was written during this era is both earthly and spiritual, because human partners represented their divine counterparts: lovemaking was seen as a religious experience to be shared by everyone in the land, especially during the time of the Sacred Marriage Rite. Seasonal male sacrifice of the king reverberates through the goddess myths from Greece to India, including Isis, Kali and Ishtar - as the renowned &quot;women weeping for Tammuz&quot; in the Old Testament. The king dies. The people weep and lament. They beat their breasts and search for the dead and resurrected God amongst the sand.
    33. 33. <ul><li>HEALING QUALITIES </li></ul><ul><li>The lesson of this ritual drama for the Sumerian culture was the deep realization that death is not inimical to life but an essential aspect of its totality and the passageway to a new cycle of life. </li></ul><ul><li>So Inanna’s journey into the underworld was both a literal and symbolic enactment of a natural occurrence and its mirror in the human psyche as represented by Her earthly representatives: the priestesses of Sumeria. </li></ul>
    34. 34. The egyptian goddess ISIS &quot;In the beginning there was Isis, Oldest of the Old. She was the Goddess from whom all becoming arose.&quot; - Egyptian scripture O Thou holy and eternal savior of the human race. Thou bestowest a mother's tender affections on the misfortunes of unhappy mortals. Thou dispellest the storms of life and strechest forth Thy right hand of salvation by which Thou unravelest even the inextricably tangled web of Fate. Thou turnest the Earth in its orb. Thou givest light to the Sun. Thou rulest the world. Thou readest Death underfoot. To Thee the stars are responsive. By Thee the seasons turn and the gods rejoice and the elements are in subjection. -Sekhemu
    35. 35. Background Information Isis was worshipped (and still is by pagans today) far beyond Egypt into the Roman Empire well into the third century A.D. Her cult died out in Rome after the institution of Christianity. Like the many Black Madonnas for whom Isis is said to have been a model (Carl Jung maintained that the Black Madonna of Einsiedeln, Switzerland was connected to Isis), She was renowned as a miracle worker and healer. Her main temple in Philae, was housed in Nubian territory. As a race, these people were black. Therefore, it is often said that Isis, Herself, was black.
    36. 36. Symbols <ul><li>Isis is the Goddess with 10,000 names. </li></ul><ul><li>Isis' sacred animal is the cow which was considered the fruitful image of the all-producing goddess. Many of the ancient Goddess figures are shown with hand at their breast reflecting their dedication to sustaining life. </li></ul><ul><li>At the base of her crown a vulture wraps its wings around Her head, symbolizing Her protective powers. The protective wings of Isis are thus to be seen enfolded around may coffins and sarcophagi, that they too may breathe new life into the soul of the dead. </li></ul><ul><li>Her amulet called a “tat”, was made of carnelian. It is said that if this were laid on the neck of a dead person it would place him under the protection of the words of power of Isis, and he would be able to go wherever he pleased in the Underworld. </li></ul>
    37. 37. Attributes Isis, producer of corn, was called Demeter by the Greeks. Isis gave life and prosperity to people, as well as fertility to the animals and fields. Ancient beliefs attributed the annual rainfall, which sustained the people of the Nile Valley, to the tears Isis shed for Osiris. Isis is acknowledged as the prototype of the Mother Mary. She is often depicted suckling her son Horus. Isis was a virgin who brought her son forth “of Herself.” It is the throne that makes the king; the king receives his authority by taking his place on the throne. Isis was the personification of the throne. Her original headdress was an empty throne.
    38. 38. Archetypal Influence <ul><li>The myth of Isis and Osiris is linked to the shift of drought and fertility in the land, and the promise that life will succeed transformational death. </li></ul><ul><li>Isis is the archetype for the high priestess in the tarot. </li></ul><ul><li>In the guise of “Ament” (the hidden goddess) Isis was the great lady of the Underworld, who assisted in transforming the bodies of the blessed dead into those prepared to live in the Underworld realm of Osiris. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The kernel of the Isis archetype is the consciousness of being the seat of life; a woman's awareness of her own function of beginner, nurturer and medium for life to accomplish its means.&quot; - Manuello Dunn Mascetti, The Song </li></ul>
    39. 39. Rituals Isis is a part of the sacrifice, death and rebirth myth through Osiris, Her consort. Osiris’ jealous brother, Set, murdered him, cutting him into pieces. The earth lay barren while Isis ventured forth to find Her love. While journeying over the ocean She finds and sews together several parts of his body, thus renewing the world. She mates with the lifeless form of Osiris, just as Kali mates with the lifeless Shiva, becoming pregnant to his lingering seed and conceives a son, Horus, to be ruler of the land. Osiris is said to have been resurrected in his son Horus. This myth evokes the role of Isis as devoted and loving wife and mother and protector of the royal succession. The myth of Isis contains all the same elements of tragic loss of a son to the sacrificial round of the young fertility hero who is, in a sense, at once bridegroom, king, lover and son, in the endless cycle of rebirth of fertility associated with the ebb and flow of the river Nile.
    40. 40. <ul><li>HEALING QUALITIES </li></ul><ul><li>Isis worshipper's believed in Her power. They felt the need to be protected by Her in death rituals as She was depicted as a salvation goddess. Her worshippers hoped for eternal life after death. Isis worshippers believed the soul of Her spirit was transmitted into the statues they used, thus possessing the essence of Her spirit. Thus the placement of Her amulet on the deceased’s body in order that protection would follow into the Underworld. </li></ul>
    41. 41. &quot;Immaculate is our Lady Isis...the very terms applied afterwards to that personage (the Virgin Mary) who succeeded to her form, titles, symbols, rites, and ceremonies....Thus, her devotees carried into the new priesthood the former badges of their profession, the obligation to celibacy, the tonsure, and the surplice, omitting, unfortunately, the frequent ablutions prescribed by the ancient creed. The 'Black Virgins' , so highly reverenced in certain French cathedrals - proved, when at last critically examined - basalt figures of Isis!&quot; - King The Gnostics and their Remains
    42. 42. The babylonian goddess ishtar It is Ishtar who renders all decisions, Goddess of all that occurs, Lady of Heaven and Earth, Who receives our supplication, Who hears our requests, Who listens to our prayers. She is Ishtar the Queen, Oppressing all that is confused, Holding full powers of judgment and decision. Ishtar, whom we may also identify with Inanna, Ashtoreth, Aphrodite, Astarte, to a certain extent Asherah, and Oestre, Ostara, the sea goddess Mari, or Miriam and many others, is the evening star, the Babylonian Queen of Heaven .
    43. 43. Prayer to Ishtar <ul><li>Queen of Heaven, Goddess of the Universe, You are the holy one of women and men. </li></ul><ul><li>The one who walked in terrible chaos, And brought life by the law of love </li></ul><ul><li>And out of chaos brought us harmony, And from chaos She has led us by the hand. </li></ul><ul><li>Woman of women, Goddess knows no equal, She who decrees the destiny of people, </li></ul><ul><li>Highest Ruler of the World, Sovereign of the Heavens, </li></ul><ul><li>Goddess, even of those who live in heaven. With Ishtar, there is counsel and wisdom. </li></ul>The fate of everything She holds in Her hand. Joy comes from Her every glance. She is the power, the magnificence. She is the deity who protects. She is the spirit that guides. Be it maiden or mother, Women remember Her and call her name. O Shining One, You stop the anger of all other deities. You care for the oppressed and the mistreated, Each day offering them your help, You are the one who gleams the brightest In the midst of all other deities. -written 1600 B.C.
    44. 44. Background Information <ul><li>T he Roman Catholic Church now has their own Official Representation of Ishtar – The Virgin Mother , who stands upon the top of the Sacred Egg of Heliopolis, with the Serpent Typhon at Her feet. </li></ul>This “Official Pagan Representation” is now modernly known as the Virgin Mary. Through Mary Worship, the pagans could continue their customary prayers and devotion to the mediating goddess __ just change Her name to Mary.
    45. 45. Symbols <ul><li>Ishtar was the Goddess of Fertility and Spiritual Renewal through sexual love, birth and death. </li></ul><ul><li>She was equated with the planet Venus. </li></ul><ul><li>Her symbol was a star inscribed in a circle. </li></ul><ul><li>As goddess of war, She was often represented sitting upon a lion. </li></ul><ul><li>She was the “Queen of Heaven” with crescent moon horns. </li></ul><ul><li>Cult statues of Ishtar-Astarte in many different forms were left as votive offerings in shrines and sanctuaries as prayers for good harvest, for children, and for protection in the home. </li></ul>
    46. 46. Attributes The book of Esther, in the Bible, is a story about the Goddess Ishtar (Esther is the Aramaic form of Her name) and the sacred marriage (Hieros-Gamos) to Marduk (Mordecai), the king, to validate his right to rule. She is a part of the sacrifice, death and rebirth myth through Tammuz, the dying and resurrecting Vegetation God. The story of Noah’s Ark is inherited from Her time-period. Alongside other lesser-known goddesses in the land of Canaan is the great Astarte, sometimes called Ashtaroth, whom we meet many times in the Old Testament. She has been called &quot;the great universal female principle,&quot; Lady of the Heavens, the Sea, the Earth and the Underworld, in her hands are the life, death and renewal of all Nature. Astarte's name is another form of Ishtar, and the goddess is often called Ishtar-Astarte.
    47. 47. Archetypal Influence The followers of Ishtar-Astarte have always been noted for their ceremonies for the dead and for the dying and resurrecting god of fertility, in which the hair was cut off. At Byblos people shaved their heads in the annual mourning for Tammuz-Adonis. Women who refused to sacrifice their hair had to give themselves up to strangers on a certain day of the festival, and the money which they earned was devoted to the Goddess. It is said that Mary Magdalene also partook of this custom and cut Her hair for Her dying and resurrecting god, Jesus, the Christ.
    48. 48. Rituals The seasonal cycle of the goddess is represented in the passage from new life in the fertile period to death in the lean season. The first phase is the ritual marriage of Ishtar to Tammuz in the hieros gamos, the high point of the Babylonian sacred seasonal cycle. Within the story of Ishtar’s seasonal sacrifice, descent and subsequent resurrection of Tammuz, She becomes the goddess making Her journey from heaven to earth and finally to the realms of death - the almighty woman of the three spheres. While the story of Ishtar and Tammuz is the story of continuing love and marriage unto death, the descent instead elaborates male mortality in the face of the sexual fertility rites and sacrificial cycle of the Goddess.
    49. 49. HEALING QUALITIES Ishtar-Astarte was familiar to Jeremiah in Jerusalem (7:17). The children collected wood, their fathers lit the fire for Astarte, the women made bread for the Queen of Heaven, they burned incense and offered libations, and they offered sacrifice and cut their hair in mourning. The ritual coincided with astral and seasonal phenomena and its purpose was to celebrate life and to appease the power of evil and death. These strands of hair he trimmed as he entreated Astarte. Tamassos presented himself and made a complete offering, &quot;May this rouse the weepers to look for their beloved&quot;. This passage is reminiscent of the Song of Songs and the offering of hair in fulfillment of the Nazirite vow, but its association with mourning for the dead was expressly forbidden in the book of Deuteronomy. The cult of Astarte included several rites in which the dead were honored to invoke the expectation of enduring life in succeeding generations.
    50. 50. The canannite goddess <ul><li>“ Queen of the Heavens” </li></ul>asherah “ She who walked the sea” &quot;She who gives birth to the Gods&quot;
    51. 51. Background Information <ul><li>In 1929 texts were found at Ras Shamra, in northern Syria. Dated at 1500 BCE they wrote of the life and religion of the Canaanites. El, meaning ‘God’, and his consort Asherah were the supreme deities. Asherah appears over 400 times in the Bible, i.e.: King Solomon “went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians” (I Kings 11:5). Astarte/ Ashtoreth is the Queen of Heaven to whom the Canaanites had burned incense and poured libations (Jer. 44). </li></ul><ul><li>Hebrew scholars now feel that the goddess Ashtoreth is a deliberate compilation of the Greek name Astarte and the Hebrew word boshet, “shame,” indicating the Hebrew contempt for Her cult. The disdain toward Asherah by the Hebrew leaders was due to the goddess’ association with the fertility religion of a foreign people and as such involved a mythology and a religion that threatened their belief in one God. </li></ul><ul><li>When King Josiah announced in 623 BCE that Yahweh was the only god to be worshiped, there followed one of the most dramatic examples of religious intolerance and bloodshed in the Hebrew Scriptures. The King ordered all of the temple vessels, altars, and idols used in the worship of Pagan gods and goddesses be destroyed and the Pagan priests executed . </li></ul>
    52. 52. Symbols <ul><li>Asherah (singular) was called The Lady of Masonry and Carpentry and the Lady of the Sea. </li></ul><ul><li>She is the Creatress of all the Gods, and Mistress of Sexual Rejoicing. </li></ul><ul><li>Her main function is as Mother Goddess. </li></ul><ul><li>Asherim, Athirat, Asheroth and Ashtoreth (negative connotation) are plural forms of Her name. </li></ul><ul><li>She was the goddess of the woods. Groves of trees were Her temples. Prov. 3:18 tells us of female Wisdom &quot;she shall be a tree of life to all who lay hold on her&quot;. </li></ul><ul><li>She was often referred to as a tree or pole. Imaged as a full-breasted Earth Mother or a tree of life, both symbols speak to regeneration (seasonal changes), sustenance and fruitfulness. The “May Pole” is attributed to Her. </li></ul>
    53. 53. Attributes She is the Canaanite goddess of fertility, growth and renewal. She is associated with a symbolic understanding of the Tree of Life. The idea of a Tree of Life is a concept held by many peoples of different cultures, i.e.: Ygdrasil (Odin) Asherah and Her cult symbols were legitimate, not only in popular Yahwism, but in conservative circles as well. She was worshipped as consort of Yahweh, represented by Her sacred tree in the temple at Jerusalem for about 240 of the 360 years of its existence until the temple's final destruction in 70 A.D. Small household deity figurines of clay used in personal devotion have been found by the thousands in Palestine/ Israel. Unmatched by any male figurines, She must have been extremely popular in all segments of Hebrew society.
    54. 54. Archetypal Influence The temple of Jerusalem was simultaneously dedicated to Yahweh and to the Queen of Heaven. The pillars Jachim and Boaz were said to stand for the sun and moon. Before the temple stood, the 'asherah' or symbolic tree found throughout Semitic lands was associated with the female or “moon” aspect of the deity. Solomon introduced the worship of Ashtaroth into Israel -I Kings 11:4-5. But Jezebel, daughter of the king of Tyre, and wife to Ahab, principally established Her worship. She caused altars to be erected to this idol in every part of Israel; and at one time four hundred priests attended the worship of Ashtaroth, I Kings 18:7.
    55. 55. Rituals A pottery stand was uncovered at Tel Taanach in Israel and was identified as a cult stand or an object used in ritual and worship. Its form was the shape of the sacred Kabbalistic Tree of Life with seven branches. Upon making the first Menorah, the ancient Hebrews were instructed to make it in the image of the tree (linked to Asherah). While the Kabbala was practiced by men in the synagogues away from the domestic hearth, presided over by the woman in their homes is a powerful symbol of that same Tree of Life which was the heart of their own study. With the ritual lighting of the Menorah, homage to Asherah continues on even today.
    56. 56. HEALING QUALITIES Healing can arise by acknowledging that sensual and spiritual love are both divine. Stories from the time of the Goddess speak clearly to this. The Biblical Song of Songs also suggests such a path. It is a story of the love of a man and woman and their love for the Source of Love, making reference to the Hieros Gamos. It calls for reinstatement of the Divine Feminine who is personified as the Shulamite's &quot;mother&quot;—in veiled references to the Hebrew Goddess, Asherah. In it we see the balancing of masculine and feminine principles, energies, and values. See: In her book, Sacred Pleasure, Riane Eisler talks about sacred sexuality, “ But here it is important to note …that this is not pleasure in a purely hedonistic or self-centered form, or as the frantic &quot;fun&quot; or escape from pain that is characteristic of much that is called pleasure in dominator societies. Rather it is a pleasure connected with awe at the miracle of of life and of nature, the ecstatic pleasure of altered states of consciousness, and the deep pleasure of caring connections, of caretaking, of creativity, of love. … It is a spirituality in which sex, the human body, matters we have been taught to associate with the obscene, are part of the sacred. It is also a view of the sacred in which images of sex, of the human body, of man's body, of woman's body, and of how two bodies should relate, are primarily life-affirming, pleasure-affirming images.”
    57. 57. Sacrifice, Death and Rebirth <ul><li>All the Goddesses we’ve covered exemplify the healing that comes through uniting the God and Goddess in Sacred Marriage (The Hieros-Gamos) excluding Demeter (whose union was with her beloved daughter). The Near Eastern goddesses are connected to the pagan worship of Easter that Christianity absorbed. From Collier’s Encyclopedia, Volume 3, page 97, we find that Astarte-Ashtaroth is merely the Semitic Ishtar __ which we have already learned is pronounced Easter. </li></ul><ul><li>The oldest common feature of the religions of the ancient Near East was the worship of a great mother-goddess, the personification of fertility. Associated with Her, usually as a consort, was a young god who died and came to life again, like the vegetation which quickly withers but blooms again. His absence produced infertility of the earth, of man, and of beast. His consort mourned and searched for him. His return brought renewed fertility and rejoicing. </li></ul><ul><li>In Mesopotamia the divine couple appear as (Inanna) Ishtar and (Dumuzi) Tammuz, in Egypt as Isis and Osiris, in Canaan as Asherah and El. Kabbalists believed that it was God's loss of his bride that brought about all evils. </li></ul>
    58. 58. After all these before, in the future, but not a future that is too far-fetched to believe or hope for, at the beginning of Spring time in a healed Middle East, no more plagued by strife, war or hatred, and in all other worlds, She who is the Divine Inspirational Feminine throughout the ages, known in the Ancient Near East as Nammu, Ninhursag-Ki, Ninlil, Ningal, Inanna, Shamhat, Sarpanitum and Ereshkigal, but who also has 10,000 Names in all Worlds and spheres, meets the Divine Inspirational Masculine and her beloved Consort, who also once was An, Enlil, Enki, Nanna, Dumuzi, Gilgamesh, Enkidu, Ninurta, Marduk and Nergal of 10,000 Names. ‘Here we are, beloved, at the entrance of the Underworld, standing at the very first step of the Stairway to the Heights and Worlds Above,’… Hieros gamos, c 10,000 BC Europe, Negev Desert Healing through the Union of the Masculine and Feminine
    59. 59. … He says to Her. ‘Will you take my hand and ascend with me? This time to stay? In all worlds as my Soul-Partner, Companion, Beloved and Best Friend?’ She laughs in pure delight: ‘I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long. Never to hide again, to be your Soul-Partner, Companion, Beloved and Friend in the open, never to leave you and forever to stay. This is the Desire of my Heart, the Longing of my Soul, the Delight of my Holy Body. Have you lost then the fear to be a triumphant feminine man, my beloved god?’ She had always been such a teaser. But he had learnt a lot with her: ‘As much as you learnt to be a delightful masculine woman, my dearest goddess. But it is high time for you, for we to return Together. Shall we then go?’ ‘Your wish is my command, beloved,’ She answered. So hand in hand, as Equals, Polarities without but Complementary Within, the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine crossed the Threshold to the Worlds Above to be welcomed as Goddess and God in all peoples’ souls. (by Lishtar - based on ancient myths and sources from the cuneiform + modern scholarship)
    60. 60. &quot;I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters, I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me. For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe. From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return. Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold - all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals. Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.&quot;
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