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ABOUT GRAVEN IMAGESABOUT GRAVEN IMAGES: One of the most powerful "Thou Shalt Nots" of western patriarchy was the rule against ritual use of graven images. With this one stroke, circa 1800 BC, an elite male priestly caste managed to cut off humanity from 50,000 previous years of worshipping the Earth as a living force. Simple clay figures of the Earth as goddess appeared in all societies attuned to the cosmic cycle of nature. Today the imbalance of patriarchal rationality is moving back toward harmony. Goddess is alive, Magic is afoot as we remember that the Earth herself is holy and reclaim her healing images.
In Robert Grave's translation of The Golden Ass by the Roman writer Apuleius of the second century AD, the Goddess Herself appears and explains:
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† † † The primeval Phrygians call me Pessinuntica, Mother of the gods; the Athenians sprung from their own soil, call me Cecropian Artemis; for the islanders of Cyprus I am Paphian Aphrodite, for the archers of Crete I am Dictynna; for the tri-lingual Silicians, Stygian Prosperine; and for the Eleusinians their ancient Mother of Corn. Some know me as Juno, some as Bellona of the Battles; others as Hecate, others again as Rhamnubia, but both races of Aethiopians, whose lands the morning sun first shines upon, and the Egyptians who excel in ancient learning and worship me with ceremonies proper to my godhead, call me by my true name, namely Queen Isis.
† I am Nature, the universal Mother, mistress of all elements, primordial child of time, sovereign of all things spiritual, queen of the dead, queen also of the immortals, the single manifestation of all gods and goddesses that are. My nod governs the shining heights of Heaven, the wholesome sea breezes, the lamentable silences of the world below. Though I am worshipped in many aspects, known by countless names, and propitiated with all manner of different rites, yet the whole round earth venerates me.
Ironically, Isis was the Greek translation for the Egyptian Goddess Au Set.
source: Stone, Merlin When God Was A Woman. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1993. 22-23
† † † † "Pagans and witches love and honor the charge of the Goddess all over the world. Charge means you or undertaking. Fragments of it survived from ancient times until it was carefully recreated by Doreen Valienta in the fifties. Different variations have developed to reflect the fierce independence within the pagan community. This one is the short Dianic Charge from the women's craft."
-Swan from The House of The Goddess
She says,The Charge of The Goddess
Whenever ye have need of anything, once in the month, and better to be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place; to these I shall teach things that are yet unknown and ye shall be free from all slavery.
Keep pure your honest ideal, strive ever toward it, let nothing stop you not turn you aside.
Mine is the cup of the wine of life, and the cauldron of Cerridwen. I am the mother of all living and my love is poured out on the earth.
I am the beauty of the green earth, the white moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters, and the desire in the heart of woman.
Before my face let thine innermost divine self be enfolded in the raptures of the infinite. Know the mystery, that if that when thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou will never find it without thee,
for behold, I have been with thee from the beginning and I await thee now.
My spiritual path has long been guided by a line added long ago to the old Christian story of how the world was created in seven days, and on the eighth day man created God. What began as a means of honoring and appeasing a spiritual force much greater than our own was converted into a base of political power and a means to control entire societies. This in itself was not a bad thing and for untold centuries human order followed closely that of the world around us. It seems to me only natural that the concept of a Mother Goddess related to the Earth should evolve. |
The complex order of nature would clearly dictate that many forces were working together in both harmony and conflict to maintain the consistency. As our social status increased it would again seem natural to delegate the different tasks of world maintenance to the appropriate deities. Following the examples of life around us combined with the workings of the universe our social skills grew until ambitions discovered the concept altering the roles of the deities to produce a desired goal. At this point religion began to lose spiritual meaning and assume political dominance.
The responsibilities of motherhood making nomadic existence too difficult to continue led to agricultural development by the women and soon replaced hunting and gathering as source of food and clothing. The role of the Mother Goddess increased and representation by the symbol of the serpent and by woman herself was accepted by a matriarchal society.
While the Goddess was a natural constant in matriarchal concepts She was an eminent danger to a new concept of order developing that did not follow the laws of nature but the conquests of men. For this society of patriarchy to succeed the Goddess and her representatives would have to be destroyed or totally discredited. The early Pagan polytheism society gradually replaced the importance of the Goddess assigning more power to the Gods and converting the Goddess to consort and mother. The political stature of women diminished but they remained an important part of the balance of energy and power. As the political ambitions of the new patriarchy grew monotheism became the avenue to greater power and the Yahwist cult of Israel began a campaign that would spawn the three major religions that would shape Western society for thousands of years to come.
As the Yahwist cult grew and they began to write the history and laws of Yahweh they discovered that to exert dominance they would have to abandon tribal politics and convert to a monarchy. To achieve this goal they rewrote the old myths to sustain the new religion. The alteration to produce the most disastrous results was perhaps the revision of the creation myth where the Goddess was replaced by two separate entities Eve and the Serpent. The acceptance of this new creation myth the Goddess religion was crushed and the total subjugation of women was achieved.
EVE'S LAMENTATION |
I am Eve, great Adam's wife,
In His Paradise, God placed me,
For I put it forth and plucked,
Winter's withering icy woe,
|As the patrilineal concepts slowly replaced the matricentered nature religions sacred rites changed. Where the king had once mated with the Goddess to receive the gift of her fertility now the king mated with the hag and his blood rejuvenated her into a fertile young Goddess. The path of immortality was through the blood of man and the sacred cycle of life was replaced by belief of eternal life after death. Gods achieved the ability to create life from their minds without the benefit of a mother figure. The gift of reproduction became the burden of sin bestowed on women for their weakness and natural evilness.|
I see the universes watched over by a Mother filled with universal love, not a father that devotes all his love to his first born son. I believe that all life springs from the Earth and returns to Her in death. Therefore I honor the Earth Mother as the primary symbol of the Goddess.
While I honor the Triple Goddess, I break it down to the five aspects of the Triple Goddess. Artemis the Maid, Persephone the Maid in transition, Gaia the Mother, Morrigan the Crone and Kali the Dark Crone.
My Goddess )O(
My Goddess is a lusty Lady and loves to walk my path with me.
A sword wielding Bitch, no gentle Lady she.
We share all adventures life sends my way
With Her guarding my back, night and day.
Sorry are they that try to do me harm,
They quickly learn the strength of Morrigan's arm.
On her, I always rely
She will be with me in whatever I try.
When I rush an enemy in a frenzied fight
She is there, guarding my right,
Her sword forever with me, sure and strong
Never a question of right or wrong.
I must assume all moral responsibility
Her purpose is protection and company.
When I am lonely or filled with desire
Her lusty passion will comfort me and soothe the burning fire.
Our journey through this life has been so very grand
That I bear no dread of the time She takes my hand
To approach Styx, Death's mighty river.
Of life and death, Morrigan is the generous giver.
Both gifts I accept with joy, never with fear
Each is merely a season of my year.
As I rest in the Summer Land, waiting for my next lusty romp with Morrigan
She will be waiting, both our swords in her hand.