"the feminine divine" Thu Aug-04-05 02:59 PM by LexM
what does this mean to you?
with all the discussion of religion/spirituality lately, i wanted to bring something to the table that's rarely mentioned in our fussin' and fightin': the role of goddess and priestess--both in the ancient world & the modern.
i'm particularly interested in the views of women who adhere to patriarchial religions (islam, judeo-christian). imo, the reason why we have some of these imbalances today is because we have forgotten the feminine divine.
you have the father, son, and (imo, purposely ambiguous) holy ghost...but no mention of the mother/female principle. where do you fit in?
(catholicism is a pseudo-special case...but that's another post altogether)
allah appears a little more gender-neutral, but you wouldn't know it from the dynamics of most of the islamic communities i've been privy to.
Goddesses or demi-goddesses appear in sets of three in a number of ancient European pagan mythologies; these include the Greek Erinyes (Furies) and Moirae (Fates); the Norse Norns (Fates); Brighid and her two sisters, also called Brighid, from Irish or Keltoi mythology, and so on. One might also see the three witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth as following this pattern. Robert Graves popularised the triad of "Maiden" (or "Virgin"), "Mother" and "Crone", and while this idea did not rest on sound scholarship, his poetic inspiration has gained a tenacious hold. Considerable variation in the precise conceptions of these figures exists, as typically occurs in Neopaganism and indeed in pagan religions in general. Some choose to interpret them as three stages in a woman's life, separated by menarche and menopause. Others find this too biologically based and rigid, and prefer a freer interpretation, with the Maiden as birth (independent, self-centred, seeking), the Mother as giving birth (interrelated, compassionate nurturing, creating), and the Crone as death and renewal (wholistic, remote, unknowable) — and all three erotic and wise. Often three of the four phases of the moon (waxing, full, waning) symbolise the three aspects of the Triple Goddess: put together they appear in a single symbol comprising a circle flanked by two mirrored crescents. Some, however, find the triple incomplete, and prefer to add a fourth aspect. This might be a "Dark Goddess" or "Wisewoman", perhaps as suggested by the missing dark of the moon in the symbolism above, or it might be a specifically erotic goddess standing for a phase of life between Maiden (Virgin) and Mother, or a Warrior between Mother and Crone. There is a male counterpart of this in the English poem "The Parlement of the Thre Ages".
The Triple Goddess as Maiden, Mother and Crone has also reached modern popular culture, such as Neil Gaiman's own conception of the Furies in The Sandman, and elsewhere.