Friday, February 12, 2016

Mother Goddess and Fairy Godmother

In native European spirituality, men and women could identify with Gods and Goddesses that appealed to them for the attributes they represented. While both sexes worshipped deities of both genders, people often had special connections to deities that related specifically to their sphere of influence.
So, Viking warriors often worshipped Odin and Thor, who represented war and death (Odin) and strength and protection of kinfolk (Thor),
The  wives and mothers often placed a high focus on Freyja (fertility) and Frigga (domesticity). And, of course, all of these figures were multi-faceted with other associations as well.

Monotheistic religions became established in the middle east, moved in and made God strictly male. Between the 10th century BC and the beginning of their exile into Babylon in 586 BC, polytheism was normal throughout Israel. The inscriptions found invoke not only Yahweh but El and Baal, and two include the phrases "Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah" and "Yahweh of Teman and his Asherah.". Asherah was the consort of Yahweh. A strong evidence of worship of the Mother Goddess is in the writings of  Jeramiah:
"The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger." ...........Jeremiah 7: 18

Why I am citing these early development is to highlight the gradual degradation of the substrate that was the support structure for the human psyche through the iconic representation of a Mother Goddess. This was partially restored through the worship of Mother Mary as, Theotokos or Mother of God but not an equal status as a deity. But when the Protestant Reformation extinguished the veneration of Mary and the saints, that put women in a position of having to deal solely with male figures for their spiritual needs.

In contrast, the eastern religions have continued the worship of Goddesses through various attributes to the wives and daughters of the main three manifestation of the Saguna Brahma.
The female deities of Buddhism are of many types.   There are buddhas in female form and goddesses who are bodhisattvas.  There are also historical figures such as lineage founders, and they all can function as deities.  There are also yidams and dharma protectors in peaceful, semi-wrathful or wrathful form.   The dakini, a special type of deity.

 Inherently the human mind cannot operate in total isolation and need associations in their psychic and spiritual growth. The early childhood association with the mother is further strengthened through our evolutionary consciousness imprints arising out of our, mammalian and reptilian ancestry.
This association was kept alive not only through the worship of Goddesses, who were appealed to when human mind was not able to analyse or comprehend the causal nature of events both at the natural, personal as well as at the social levels. This was the reason for the creation of Gods and Goddesses with specific attributes.

As the consciousness of homo sapiens advanced from the archaic, mythological and magical level into the highly rational level, the analysing Cartesian mind through the assumed superiority of its intellect did away with symbolic representations. This was fine at the observable and objective level but cannot cope with the psychic requirements. The mythological age provided this need through characters on to which the human psyche could map and derive inner answers.

A classical category is the "journey of the Hero" in the Sumerian and Greek myths.
In the Sumerian mythology of "Epic of Gilgamesh" Gilgamesh visits his mother, the goddess Ninsun, who seeks the support and protection of the sun-god Shamash. Gilgamesh has also a love relationship with Shamhat, a temple prostitute which symbolically means a consort of the Gods, This is a single example.

In his well researched book "The Hero with a Thousand Faces", Joseph Campbell defined a classic sequence of actions that are found in many stories. It is also known as the Monomyth, a term Campbell coined from James Joyce's Finnigan's Wake. Important stages in the progress of the Hero's journey in the mythological stories involve; Supernatural aid, meeting with the Goddess, woman as temptress. The role of Gods and Goddesses are very central to the ancient myths.

Similarly, figures like fairy godmothers demonstrate a female supernatural presence who watches over girls and women, and whom can be appealed to for help with the problems faced by females in their everyday lives.

Even more striking, in some versions of Cinderella, her fairy godmother is the spirit of her departed mother who lives on in a tree. Well, we know that many Northern European peoples venerated both ancestors and trees. So this example is strong evidence for the lingering of old pagan belief in fairy tales and the role played by Mother Goddess.

Hence as most humans find it to extremely difficult to reach down to the very depths of our consciousness to move it to a higher level in the process of transcendence, we need iconic representations of a Mother Goddess to birth a new consciousness through the beneficial gift of wisdom which is again an attribute of Sophia or the consort of the Deity.

Love to you all.

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