The Future is Goddess
An Excerpt from Seven Ages of the Goddess
So goes the chant around so many fires at so many gatherings of witches, wiccans and pagans. Each name a chapter in the history-book of goddess worship, and each name still worshiped and revered today. Some believe that these goddesses are all one goddess. Some believe they are all aspects of the sacred feminine that is embodied within all goddess worship. Some believe they are all individual beings, each worthy of their own offerings, sacrifices and reverence. Whatever the practitioner’s relationship with these goddesses, the fact is that these goddesses have survived thousands of years, some possibly since before 3000 BC.
That’s over 5000 years ago, yet a mere 2000 years ago (approximately) a Middle Eastern guy who thought we could probably be much kinder to each other and all get along a little better, started a bit of a cult, which became the spiritual basis for much of the modern, mainstream religion practiced across the globe today.
The largest religion in the world right now is Christianity, closely followed by Islam. Two Abrahamic, patriarchal religions that have been repeatedly regurgitated into ever new and adaptive forms by our modern societies; at times twisted in the name of hatred, at times used for kindness, but always in the name of God; of Yahweh (Jehovah) or Allah. It’s inherently understood that God is male, all powerful, and alone. There are no other gods; to say so is blasphemy. There is also no companion; no counterpart: no goddess.
If you look hard enough at the bible, there are the odd mentions of goddesses, such as Ashtoreth (Astarte), who Solomon followed and was denounced as evil thereafter (1 Kings 11:5 and 11:6). Artemis is mentioned as a ‘man made god’ who is no god at all, though in the same verse it is written that she was worshiped in Asia and across the whole world. (Acts 19:26 and 19:27). In alternative translations of the bible it is Diana that the Ephesians worshiped. From the brief mentions we see, it’s clear that the goddess was the usurper; to be mocked, derided and forgotten.
To get a better understanding of why this might be, you have to look back beyond Christianity, beyond Judaism even, and spread your scope across the world. Take in the spirituality of the Paleolithic (stone age) humans. Look at the oldest depiction of a human being yet discovered: The Venus of Hohle Fels. This extraordinary item is a female figure carved from a mammoth tusk, and she is possibly 40,000 years old. 40,000 years. That’s approximately 20 times longer than Christianity has been around.
She has a loop which is clearly intended for a thong or similar, which tells us she is a pendant and possibly an amulet, emphasizing that this figure was obviously very important and possibly sacred or protective. She was found near the world’s oldest known musical instrument, a bone flute.
Scholars look at her oversized breasts and genitalia and immediately rush to the conclusion that she is all about sex; reproduction; fertility. Because that’s what women are all about, right? When you can see the breasts and the vulva, they must be advertising something sexual. At least that’s the current societal viewpoint, based on patriarchal morality and the lack of understanding regarding the divine feminine.
I think it’s much more likely this figurine comes from a culture where it wasn’t considered pornographic to bare breasts or expose vaginas. Stone-age artifacts like this one show an understanding of the sacred nature of a woman’s body: the legs and arms are missing because those are not unique. All humans have arms, legs and faces. Only women have breasts and a vulva. These differences are being revered, not mocked, and this is what makes these figures sacred. Only the woman has the power to bear a child into the world, and subsequently feed it. This was once seen as a powerful magic indeed.
In today’s world, under the thumb of a predominately male-led religion and society, women are told that their bodies are shameful. Menstruation is seen as disgusting, and even a weakness, despite it being a natural, biological cycle. Sex is seen as something done to women, rather than something they participate in. Breasts have become sexual objects, to be ogled in push up bras, and hidden away when feeding our babies. The voice of women is constantly shushed, muted, mocked and disbelieved. Yet the evidence above shows that when our species was at its most basic, women were the key to the sacred and the divine.
It is no wonder then, that so many people in the modern world are turning to goddess worship as an alternative to the dry, dusty and now outdated religions that have popped up in the last several thousand years. Paganism is marked currently as one of the fastest growing religions in the world, and while not all Pagans are sole goddess worshipers, most have a great reverence for the divine feminine in some form. The most recent census figures show that over 100000 people in the UK identify as Pagan, and approximately 1.25M people in the U.S.A., and that figure is growing exponentially as more people draw away from the religions they grew up with. About half of these recorded people name themselves as Wiccans, with the rest being druids, heathens and those who walk a veritable road map of other spiritual paths.
Disillusioned with destruction, people want a religion that teaches how to nurture and grow oneself spiritually. Tired of hate, people look to a source of love; not only for those around them, but for themselves. Catholics are told they are born with sin in their very essence. Goddess worshipers are told they are sacred, divine and connected to the universe. Christians are told their god forgives sin; the goddess teaches you to forgive yourself, and to make your own morals based on what is right and good; not what you are told.
It’s important to understand that the goddess is not just for women. Men have it just as hard in our gender unbalanced society. Western culture in particular states that men should be strong and bread winners, and women should be kind and motherly. But what happens when the man becomes a father and wants to stay at home with his child? In the UK, they can do this for two weeks, and only within the first 56 days of the baby’s birth. Mothers in the UK can take up to a year, depending on their employer. When it is built into our very government that fathers are not as important as mothers, you can understand why men as well as women are looking for alternatives. The Goddess smiles on all her children, male and female alike, and is likely baffled at the notion that a man would be considered weak for crying, being emotional or, as above, wanting to spend time with their child; time you can never get back.
Faults like these in our political system is exactly why Goddess worship is the future. So many of our policies and procedures in western politics come from men; male religion, male leaders of church and male leaders. It is the ever-present belief that man is superior, which stems from the relatively new belief that God is a man, that has spun our world into turmoil. Yet we can still hear the voice of the Goddess, even via the deeds of those that may not consider themselves worshipers.
This excerpt is by Mabh Savage and is from Seven Ages of the Goddess, published by Moon Books and available via Amazon and all good books stores. Various pagan and spiritual authors explore the journey of Goddess worship throughout the ages and into the future.