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Author Topic: Can ayone recommend an up-to-date book about the Goddess?  (Read 17575 times)
Bill B
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« Topic Start: April 16, 2010, 02:31:20 pm »

Some of the books I've read that discuss the Goddess and Goddess spirituality contain out-of-date and largely unaccepted concepts, such as:

- European and Middle Eastern cultures were once matriarchal, peaceful, and followed one Goddess-centered, Old Religion.
- The Burning Times were the Catholic Church's way of squashing this Old Religion, went on for centuries, and in which 9 million people were killed, mostly women
- and so on...

NOTE: I mean no offense to anyone who believe these concepts are true

I have found myself drawn to the Goddess lately. Not because I think her more important than the God. It's more like they're taking their turn in getting to know me. And though I don't believe that there was once a Goddess-focused earthly paradise, I do believe there are aspects of Goddess spirituality that could greatly-improve our world.

So, can anyone recommend any books about the Goddess that isn't founded on what I believe are outdated myths. And I'm looking for books that are more spiritual, devotional, and philosophical and less about ritual and magic.
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« Reply #1: April 16, 2010, 02:40:32 pm »

- European and Middle Eastern cultures were once matriarchal, peaceful, and followed one Goddess-centered, Old Religion.
- The Burning Times were the Catholic Church's way of squashing this Old Religion, went on for centuries, and in which 9 million people were killed, mostly women
- and so on...

NOTE: I mean no offense to anyone who believe these concepts are true

Heh.  You're unlikely to offend people around here by saying that those things aren't true--we're far more likely to agree with you, and argue with people trying to claim that they are true.  The idea that all beliefs are valid only goes so far; when it runs right up against actual historical fact, the standard around here is that fact tends to take precedence.  Wink

(I'm afraid, not being one for Goddess spirituality myself, that I don't have any good advice, but I know we do have people who should have suggestions; hopefully one of them will be along shortly.)
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« Reply #2: April 16, 2010, 03:13:04 pm »

So, can anyone recommend any books about the Goddess that isn't founded on what I believe are outdated myths. And I'm looking for books that are more spiritual, devotional, and philosophical and less about ritual and magic.

Are you interested in a specific goddess?  Or just the concept of "goddess"?
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« Reply #3: April 16, 2010, 03:39:05 pm »

Are you interested in a specific goddess?  Or just the concept of "goddess"?

Concept. But both in a real entity sense, and an archetypical sense.

Real entity sense because I kinda do believe the Goddess is real. She may be Gaia, the Great/Divine Mother, or the feminine source behind all of the Goddesses. Or, she may be one of the Goddesses. Either way, I don't have a name or identity yet. Just "The Goddess."

Archetypical sense for general Goddess/Anima/Feminist Spirituality.
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« Reply #4: April 16, 2010, 03:57:13 pm »

Concept. But both in a real entity sense, and an archetypical sense.

Real entity sense because I kinda do believe the Goddess is real. She may be Gaia, the Great/Divine Mother, or the feminine source behind all of the Goddesses. Or, she may be one of the Goddesses. Either way, I don't have a name or identity yet. Just "The Goddess."

Archetypical sense for general Goddess/Anima/Feminist Spirituality.

As a hard polytheist, I'm not sure I can help you with resources on "The Goddess" as an entity.  I can recommend excellent sources on specific goddesses (e.g., Brighid, The Morrigan, etc.) or on the goddesses of a particular culture (Celtic, Norse, etc.) or even types of goddesses (e.g., solar goddesses).  But I don't subsribe to the idea of "The Goddess", so there are probably other people on this forum who are better positioned to address this question.

For the concept, you might take a look at:

The Concept of the Goddess, Sandra Billington and Miranda Green, eds.
The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image, by Anne Baring and Jules Cashford
The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future, by Cynthia Eller

You also might be interested in The Once & Future Goddess: A Sweeping Visual Chronical of the Sacred Female and Her Reemergence in the Cultural Mythology of Our Time, by Elinor W. Gadon.  This book has great pictures, but read the history critically.

I also have this book on my shelf: Mother Worship: Theme & Vairations, by James J. Preston.  I think I bought it on the recommendation of someone here, but haven't read it yet.
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« Reply #5: April 16, 2010, 10:57:51 pm »

    If there is a better book than "Inanna:Queen of Heaven and Earth" , I've not heard of it.

    Heck, these hymns are from Inanna herself and are the oldest written records we have. Get it from Amazon, used and it will be cheap. It's known as the "Red Book" to devotees, as the cover is red.

            Good luck and tell me if you get it and , if you do, what you think.

                    Arne





Some of the books I've read that discuss the Goddess and Goddess spirituality contain out-of-date and largely unaccepted concepts, such as:

- European and Middle Eastern cultures were once matriarchal, peaceful, and followed one Goddess-centered, Old Religion.
- The Burning Times were the Catholic Church's way of squashing this Old Religion, went on for centuries, and in which 9 million people were killed, mostly women
- and so on...

NOTE: I mean no offense to anyone who believe these concepts are true

I have found myself drawn to the Goddess lately. Not because I think her more important than the God. It's more like they're taking their turn in getting to know me. And though I don't believe that there was once a Goddess-focused earthly paradise, I do believe there are aspects of Goddess spirituality that could greatly-improve our world.

So, can anyone recommend any books about the Goddess that isn't founded on what I believe are outdated myths. And I'm looking for books that are more spiritual, devotional, and philosophical and less about ritual and magic.
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« Reply #6: April 16, 2010, 11:51:18 pm »

If there is a better book than "Inanna:Queen of Heaven and Earth" , I've not heard of it.

I have this book and read it quite a while ago, so I don't remember much of it.  I do remember liking it and learning a lot.

However, the OP seems to be asking for sources on the goddess as an archetype or in the soft polytheism "all god/esses are one" sort of way.  IIRC, the book you're recommending is specifically about Inanna, though, so might not be what he's looking for.  Unless I'm mis-remembering the book -- which is entirely possible.  Smiley
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« Reply #7: April 17, 2010, 04:52:18 am »

The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future, by Cynthia Eller

I second this one.
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« Reply #8: April 17, 2010, 09:09:43 am »

Some of the books I've read that discuss the Goddess and Goddess spirituality contain out-of-date and largely unaccepted concepts, such as:

- European and Middle Eastern cultures were once matriarchal, peaceful, and followed one Goddess-centered, Old Religion.
- The Burning Times were the Catholic Church's way of squashing this Old Religion, went on for centuries, and in which 9 million people were killed, mostly women
- and so on...

NOTE: I mean no offense to anyone who believe these concepts are true

I have found myself drawn to the Goddess lately. Not because I think her more important than the God. It's more like they're taking their turn in getting to know me. And though I don't believe that there was once a Goddess-focused earthly paradise, I do believe there are aspects of Goddess spirituality that could greatly-improve our world.

So, can anyone recommend any books about the Goddess that isn't founded on what I believe are outdated myths. And I'm looking for books that are more spiritual, devotional, and philosophical and less about ritual and magic.

bbitner,

Some good book references.

Only wanted to add that the examples you posted are from the mythological history that underlines modern Paganism. This history serves as an inspirational source that resonated for many people from the 40's onward. Personally I think you have to be familiar with both the mythological and the actual history as both are entwined. Studying one without the other (not talking about belief here but rather understanding) gives you a skewed perspective on modern Paganism.

Both the GAM theory and the Burning Times have a very strong inspirational as well as political resonance within the Women's Spirituality Movement that includes Feminist Witchcraft, another part of the spectrum where I hail from. However I never believed in either as actual history, already having enough grounding in history to know that evidence was subjective at best. The evolution of both of these concepts and their influence on modern Paganism remain fascinating.

Amber
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« Reply #9: April 18, 2010, 11:52:11 am »

Thanks for the recommendations.

Also, you are correct, AmberHeart.

Personally I think you have to be familiar with both the mythological and the actual history as both are entwined. Studying one without the other (not talking about belief here but rather understanding) gives you a skewed perspective on modern Paganism.

I am new to Paganism by only a few months. Since Imbolc, to be specific. I grew up a Catholic, wandered between other religions, but entered the Pagan world as an Atheist. But I made a conscious decision to become more open-minded about the nature of Deity. And I decided to reach out to the Divine with the creative and right side of my brain and not worry about the left and logical side now.

First, I reached out in a  non-specific, addressing whoever would hear me, be it the Universe, my ancestors, or any of the Gods or Goddesses. Then, as I looked into and became comfortable with Wicca, I became comfortable with the dualistic concept of a Goddess and God. I'm still there, but as I said, I've been feeling a draw to the Goddess.

I also had been reading about this ideal Matriarchal civilization in both Adler's "Drawing Down the Moon" and Curott's "Book of Shadows." And, at first, not thinking about whether this time was factual or not, I thought it a shame that the world may have been good at one time but then ruined by Patriarchal rule and religion.

But I also thought, was the God to be blamed for all this greed, war, and oppression? I thought, no. Whatever the Patriarchal establishments did, they did not do it because their religions were centered on a male God. They did because their religions were centered on themselves. They did not worship the God. They worshiped Man. They fashioned these religions to uphold greed, conquest, xenophobia, and oppression. And they ignored Matriarchal qualities like peace and compassion. If they did draw inspiration from the male God, they perverted it and overdid it. For example, physical battle is probably inspired by the God (and the Goddess as well), but should only be used to defend, not to conquer and pillage.

So I thought, even though one cannot blame the God for the past 5000 years of violence and oppression, it may benefit humanity that he step aside and inspire humanity to follow the Goddess now. And I thought such a spiritual model of returning to peace and compassion, healing, and living in harmony with the world is what humanity needs. And maybe the last century full of the excesses of industrialization and the horrors of the Holocaust, many wars, and nuclear weaponry was a sign of how we've gone too far.

However, as I did more research, I realized this Matriarchal paradise never really existed.

But you are right. Historical or Mythic, there is much to be learned and developed from this concept. It doesn't matter if a world based on peace, compassion and sustainable living once existed, it can exist now.
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« Reply #10: April 18, 2010, 12:12:26 pm »

I also had been reading about this ideal Matriarchal civilization in both Adler's "Drawing Down the Moon" and Curott's "Book of Shadows." And, at first, not thinking about whether this time was factual or not, I thought it a shame that the world may have been good at one time but then ruined by Patriarchal rule and religion.

Adler, at least, as revised her opinion somewhat.

Brina
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« Reply #11: April 18, 2010, 12:55:58 pm »

It doesn't matter if a world based on peace, compassion and sustainable living once existed, it can exist now.

*falls out of chair laughing*

Oh what a perfect punchline for such a funny post Cheesy
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« Reply #12: April 18, 2010, 02:07:37 pm »

Yes, Brina, I am reading a later edition of "Drawing Down the Moon," and she had made editions to her text that reflect recent scholarship.
And I'm not going going to discount books based on out-of-date scholarship alone. In fact, even though I assume it's drenched in the reference to stuff like Burning Times, I'm looking forward to reading Starhawk's "The Spiral Path." I've browsed it a few times at the bookstore and the prose reads quite beautifully.

I'm just curious if any writers have used the concept of a Goddess-focused spirituality that didn't depend on the aforementioned myths as facts, or draws inspirations from them as myths, and not as facts. And some respondees have posted some great recommendations and are now in my Amazon wishlist. But, as the article you posted attested, I also understand that this reconciliation is an ongoing process. Thank you for posting her article.

Oh, and I forgot, Moon Ivy. Since you mentioned you can recommend books on specific Goddesses, can you recommend any either focused on or has some good content about Brighid?

*falls out of chair laughing*

Oh what a perfect punchline for such a funny post Cheesy

I am puzzled by your post, Melamphoros. It kind of hurt me. Why treat someone you don't know, or any human being for that matter, with such derision? I believe one can disagree without laughing and hurtful sarcasm.

But nonetheless, I wish peace and blessings for you.
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« Reply #13: April 18, 2010, 02:08:22 pm »

It doesn't matter if a world based on peace, compassion and sustainable living once existed, it can exist now.

At 50+, I'm no longer enough of an idealist to believe that. It's sad, really.
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« Reply #14: April 18, 2010, 02:16:00 pm »

At 50+, I'm no longer enough of an idealist to believe that. It's sad, really.

RandallS,

And at 43+, I'm not saying I think this can happen overnight. Or even in the next millenium. Or worldwide. But who knows, piece by piece, or one day. And it's all a matter of scale. Such a dynamic exists in some families, some neighborhoods, and some organizations. It's just a matter of these dynamics spreading and multiplying.
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