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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete
TWO MEANINGS OF ANTHROPOMORPHISM

“The error of anthropomorphism” is defined as the fallacy of attributing human or human-like qualities to divinity. Recent conversations with friends have provoked me to ask in what sense anthropomorphism is an error.

The Greek philosophers may have been the first to name anthropomorphism as a philosophical error in thinking about God. Embarrassed by stories of the exploits of Zeus and other Gods and Goddesses, they drew a distinction between myth, which they considered to be fanciful and false, and the true understanding of divinity provided by rational contemplation or philosophical thought. For Plato “God” was the self-sufficient transcendent One who had no body and was not constituted by relationship to anything. For Aristotle, God was the unmoved mover.

Jewish and Christian theologians adopted the distinction between mythical and philosophical thinking in order to explain or explain away the contradictions they perceived between the portrayal of God in the Bible and their own philosophical understandings of divine power. While some philosophers would have preferred to abolish myth, Jewish and Christian thinkers could not do away with the Bible nor did they wish to prohibit its use in liturgy.

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Could not agree more. Charles Hartshorne called this theory "panpsychism" literally soul everywhere, in his definition, every indi
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    I LOVE that - "The real fallacy is the a-pathetic fallacy of not attributing feelings to other than human life forms." I marvel at
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Well put. Anthropomorphism was also derided as a deluded belief that animals have human-like emotions and intelligence - something
COMPLICATIONS AND CONFUSIONS IN DISCUSSIONS OF THE GODDESS

Although writing in patriarchal Greece from a patriarchal perspective, Hesiod said in hisTheogony or Birth of the Gods that Gaia or Earth alone was the mother of the Mountains, Sky, and Sea. With the male Sky she gave birth to the next generation of deities known as the “Titans,” who were overthrown by Zeus. Hesiod’s was a “tale with a point of view” in which “it was necessary” for the “forces of civilization”–for him represented by warrior God and rapist Zeus–to violently overthrow and replace earlier conceptions of the origin life on earth and presumably also to overthrow and replace the people and societies that created them.

With the triumph of Christianity in the age of Constantine in the 4th century AD, Christus Victor replaced Zeus in the cities, while the religion of Mother Earth continued to be practiced in the countryside. Over time, many of the attributes of Mother Earth were assimilated into the image of Mary, and priests began to perform rituals earlier dedicated to Mother Earth, such as blessing the fields and the seeds before planting. In the Middle Ages “the Goddess” re-emerged within Western Christianity in devotion to the Virgin Mary, the female saints, and figures such as Lady Wisdom, at the same time that the history of the Goddess was being erased.

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  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    Thank you for great overview of History and Herstory! As as artist, I believe that Gimbutas's books said it all. She had tons o
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Amen brother!!! And then we must ask if academics who consider Gimbutas a wild-eyed kook have their heads screwed on straight.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you for this excellent history. Given the current state of our male military-dominated world, and the concomitant disregard
Making Friends with a Bull: Power Over Nature Reconsidered

Scholars continue to imagine that bull-leaping games in ancient Crete must have been about power over and domination of a very dangerous animal. Watch this video of a woman with her bull friend and weep for their ignorance. 

"What seems to me even more significant are the ideas behind bull-leaping: the conception of the bull as an adversary, the need to prove superior human skill, the opposition between man and nature. . . If . . . the idea is that the bull is an adversary to be hunted or outwitted, as I have suggested, then it pertains to a domain which belongs exclusively to the male sphere." Nanno Marinatos, Minonan Religion

"As in Egyptian and Near Eastern bull cults, Minoan bull-leaping gave expression to the tension that underlies man's somewhat tenuous mastery of nature, reaffirmed each time human triumphs over animal. Not coincidentally such cults flourish in societies as they become increasingly stratified, as the affirmation of human prowess serves by analogy as an affirmation of social order." Jeremy McInerney, "Bulls and Bull-leaping in the Minoan World"

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Bull riding is a game that cowboys play at rodeos. A few years ago there was a champion rodeo bull who had a reputation as "never
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I love your story.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
“MERMAID, GODDESS OF THE SEA”

On a recent Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete, I visited the Historical Museum of Heraklion where I saw this beautiful embroidery on silk of a mermaid identified as having come from Koustogerako, a village in western Crete. As it is unlikely that a man in Crete would have known how to embroider, in this case "Anonymous" most definitely "was a woman."

In this thread painting a mermaid surrounded by fish is holding the anchor of a ship in one hand and a fish in the other. In Greece the mermaid is the protectress of sailors. In a well-known legend, a mermaid said to be the sister of Alexander the Great, emerges from the sea in front of a ship during a storm and asks: “Is Alexander the Great still living?” If the sailors answer, “Yes, he lives and reigns,” the ship is saved.


In this image the mermaid–who does not much resemble “the little mermaid” of recent lore—is identified by the woman who embroidered her as: “GORGONA, H THEA TIS THALASSIS,” MERMAID GODDESS OF THE SEA.”

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    PS Insofar as the Greek Mermaid emerges from the Sea during a storm with a riddle whose answer leads to life or death, she is a fe
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Gorgona is the modern Greek word for Mermaid. I am not an expert in ancient Greek, but I suspect that dreadful or terrible could a
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Wow, that mermaid is Enormous! I am struck by the word Gorgona, as in Medusa and her sisters. Wikipedia tells me that the Greek
THE DIVINE DRAMA AND THE UNIVERSALITY OF DEATH


In Greece the liturgies of lent and especially of the week before Easter are known as the “divine drama,” in Greek theodrama.  This may refer to the “drama” of the capture, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus and to the suffering of God the Father and Mary.

However, it is important to recall that the drama in ancient Greece referred to both the tragedies and comedies, most specifically, those that were performed in the theater of Dionysios in Athens.  While we have been taught that the Greek tragedies celebrated “downfall of the hero” due to his “tragic flaw,” it is important to remember that Dionysios was the original protagonist of the Greek tragedy: it was his death and rebirth that was first celebrated.

Some have argued that the Greek tragedies should never be “read” alone, for they were always “performed” in tandem with the comedies, which were followed by the bawdy phallic humor of the satyr plays.  The tragedies end in death and irreparable loss.  But if the comedies and satyr plays are considered an integral part of the cycle, death is followed by the resurgence of life.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
EASTER AND THE GODDESS

This is my body, given for you,

This is my blood, given for you.

While these words are the center of a Christian liturgy celebrating the sacrifice of Jesus as the Christ, they are more appropriately spoken of our own mothers. Your mother and my mother and all mothers, human and other than human, mammalian, avian, and reptilian, give their bodies and blood so their offspring might have life. True, mothers do not always make conscious choices to get pregnant, but almost all mothers affirm life in their willingness to nurture the young who emerge from their bodies and from their nests. Had mothers—human and other than human–not been giving their bodies and their blood from time immemorial, you and I would not be here.

The Easter liturgy fails to acknowledge that the original offering of body and blood is the mother’s offering. Christianity “stole” the imagery associated with birth and attributed it to a male savior.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    I needed to read this today. Thanks.
  • Amoret BriarRose
    Amoret BriarRose says #
    "Should we reject the gift of life because it doesn’t last forever? Should we reject flowers because most of them bloom only in sp
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you Carol. You eloquently explain what continues to bother me about Christianity-- it's denial of the mother and the divinit

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
My Path to the Goddess, Part 1

I believe this earth is a beautiful, magical place and that this world is our true home.  I believe life in the body is good. I feel connected to all beings in the web of life. I feel the Blessed Mother always with us, and I know the love of God the Mother or Goddess to be like the love of my mother and grandmothers for me. Though I was brought up Christian, I learned all of these things as a child.

  

I was brought home from Huntington Hospital just before Christmas in to my grandmother’s home on Old Ranch Road in Arcadia, California.  Peacocks from the adjacent Los Angeles County Arboretum screeched on the roof. There was another baby in the house, my cousin Dee, born a few months earlier.  My mother and her sister were living with their mother. The war was over, and they were anticipating the return of their husbands from the Pacific Front.  My earliest memory, recovered during a healing energy session, is visual and visceral. I am lying crossways in a crib next to the other baby. There is a soft breeze. The other baby is kicking its legs, and I am trying to do the same.  I look up and see three faces looking down at us.  Although the faces are blurry in the vision I see, I feel them as female and loving.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Interesting than a pea cock rather than a pea hen was chosen to represent your path to the Goddess.

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