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Goddess Worship
Founder: Unknown

Overview:
Humans have developed the realization that their life was finite; that they would all die. This resulted in the development of societies which relied mainly on hunting by men naturally developed hunting gods to worship. Those in which gathering was more reliable generally created vegetative goddesses. The importance of fertility in crops, in domesticated animals, in wild animals and in the tribe itself were of paramount importance to their survival. The female life-giving principle was considered divine. Some goddess statues still survive from this era.

As religions evolved, the pagan religions were suppressed and the female principle was gradually driven out of religion. Women were reduced to a level inferior to men. The God, King, Priest & Father replaced the Goddess, Queen, Priestess & Mother. Jesus Christ of Nazareth rejected the religious tradition restoring women as equals.

A feminine presence was added to Roman Catholicism by the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. when the virgin Mary was named Theotokos (Mother of God). But her role was heavily restricted and included none of the fertility component present in other pagan religions.

A renaissance of paganism, with its worship of goddesses and gods occurred in the middle of the 20th century with the re-emergence of Wicca (popularly called white witchcraft, the religion of the ancient Celts) and other pagan traditions.

Most pagan traditions worship the goddess and god in balance. However, with the rise of feminism, new pagan traditions wicca have been created in which the goddess grew in importance, and the role of the god shrank into obscurity. One such tradition is Dianic Wicca.

The goddess in both goddess worship and paganism is often visualized in three aspects: Maiden, Mother and Crone. Her aspects are mirrored in the phases of the moon: waxing, full and waning.

  1. The Maiden represents youth, emerging sexuality, the huntress running with her hounds.

  2. The Mother symbolizes feminine power, fertility, and nurturing.

  3. The Crone is wisdom, the compassion which comes from experience, and the one who guides us through the death experience.

Goddesses have been called by many names by different cultures and ages: Anat, Aphrodite, Aradia, Arianrhod, Artemis, Astarte, Brighid, Ceres, Demeter, Diana, Eostre, Freya, Gaia, Hera, Ishtar, Isis, Juno, Kali, Lilith, Ma'at, Mary, Minerva, Ostare, Persephone, Venus, Vesta, etc.

 

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