In addition to the famed Terracotta Warriors, Xian's well-preserved city wall is worth a visit. In the Silk Road's heyday, Xi'an was where the journey west began. For more than a millennium, Xi'an was the capital of ancient Chinese dynasties. Now it's most famous as the home of the Terracotta Warriors -- thousands of clay soldiers that fill the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Each is standing, ready for battle, but they had been buried underground for 2, years. Workers digging a well stumbled upon one of the soldiers in , leading to one of the great archeological finds of all time.
Excavation is still underway, and more recent work has discovered statues of dancers and acrobats, giving a new sense of the grandeur of Qin's ambitions. In ancient days, the Tamil city of Madurai was an important capital that traded with Rome and ruled over its part of India until the British conquest. At its heart is the Meenakshi Amman Temple, one of India's holiest sites that draws one million visitors for its annual festival in April and May.
Although the city is 2, years old, the original temple was sacked during a period of medieval invasions. The current structure was built in the s, with 14 gateway towers guarding the shrines covered in vibrant colors. The Thousand Pillar Hall is carved with the mythological yali, a creature with the head of elephant on the body of a lion.
Largely unknown even to Americans who live nearby, Poverty Point in Louisiana achieved the height of early human civilization in North America. It's named for a plantation located nearby, as the original name has been lost to time. The city probably reached its greatest heights around 3, BC, when its people carved out six concentric, elliptical ridges from the earth. They also built five large mounds, erected causeways and established docks that gave them easy access to the Mississippi River.
That helped turn this site into a trade hub for a network that stretched over hundreds of miles. Though the area was developed by people who hunted, fished and gathered wild plants for food, farming hadn't been established yet. Foreigners tend to think Indonesian travel as centering on the tranquil island of Bali or the hectic capital Jakarta.
But the most-visited site in this mainly Muslim nation is the ninth-century Buddhist temple complex of Borobudur. The temple was completed in the early s, but much of its history has been lost. For centuries, it lay covered under volcanic ash, and then the surrounding jungle grew over it. In the early s, locals told a British governor about its existence. Now the stupas once again rise among the green valley.
Because the complex was buried for so long, most of the artwork remains intact. This Buddhist monastery was built in the first century, but fell out of use a mere years later. Takht-i-Bahi's location on a hilltop protected it against a succession of invasions, until the British came through and hauled off most of the surviving treasures to keep in the British Museum.
What remains are three stupas and the court surrounding them, as well as meditation chambers once used by monks who brought Tantric traditions to this part of the world. In the popular imagination, Tantric practices revolve around sex. Takht-i-Bahi is a reminder that Tantra is so much more. Archeologists believe this prehistoric stone circle could have been built as much as 5, years ago. There's general agreement that the area was a burial ground, but no one really understands how the giant stones were brought in from as far away as Wales.
Construction may have taken place over 1, years, at a time before the wheel had arrived in England. The capital of the old Ethiopian Empire, Gondar suffered under repeated invasions from the mids. However several castles and churches remain, offering a look into one of the few medieval African cities that's still alive today.
Tourism here is not heavily developed, so wandering among these royal walls feels more like time travel. The city is often called Africa's Camelot, which seems unfair. Gondar is the center of a culture that's connected to the broader Christian world and completely distinct from it.
The capital of the world's first empire, Nimrud ruled over Assyria from around BC, though humans settled the area thousands of years before. Excavations since the s revealed a formidable city with massive palaces and temples to gods of war and writing. Ivory furniture, carved stone slabs, gold jewelry and crowns were all buried inside. The art and architecture are irreplaceable, but many were destroyed in as Nimrud sits just outside Mosul. After the Islamic State occupied the area, they brought in bulldozers to raze the ancient monuments.
The extent of damage is still being assessed, but efforts are now underway to restore this ancient marvel. A year of the world's Best Beaches There's a perfect beach for every week of the year. Join us on a month journey to see them all Go to the best beaches. Published on Mar 28, Restoring ta hagia recreating the image of god in his people. SlideShare Explore Search You. Submit Search. Successfully reported this slideshow. We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
Upcoming SlideShare. Like this document? Why not share! Embed Size px. Start on. With the advent of better technology and contraception, women have been at last free to demand equal status with men, to exercise their creativity and spirituality. Many women have turned to the concept of the Divine Feminine in their struggle, finding a more appropriate response to their spiritual needs in a goddess rather than in a trinity of masculine representation. As Sophia weaves her work of restoration, many women are realizing that their spiritual needs have been particularly neglected; they are also discovering the confidence lO assume spiritual existence and take their power.
Many supposedly mature commentators have decried this female reaction as "a phase women are going through. While this book is not directly addressed solely to women, it nevertheless spotlights the neglect that womankind has suffered. This resurgence of interest in the Goddess has rushed rapidly to fill an aching vacuum, often creating strident and unbalanced results as it does so. This has had the effect of making all men of the human species appear culpable for women's long repression, thus seeding a whole new crop of imbalances for our children to reap.
Hagia Sophia - Professor Rowland J Mainstone - Häftad () | Bokus
Some feminist writers have delighted in perpetuating the myth of the golden age of matriarchy, when women ruled the earth and peace prevailed. Others have done the great disservice of rewriting history in the light of fundamental, and frequently simplistic, feminist principles, without any deference to accurate research whatever. Such arbitrary rewriting or bending of source material does a great disservice to future generations who, whatever their approaches and opinions, will still have a necessary dependence upon primary sources.
Although the figure of the Goddess has been in eclipse, she has not. She has been working away like yeast within the chewy dough of daily bread. The foundation mysteries of the Goddess underlie later spiritual developments that are generally associated with the esoteric streams of orthodox religions. It is especially within the figure of the Goddess of Wisdom that these mysteries were transmitted into our own time, taking many strange and unexpected routes.
Significantly, the major mystics of all faiths have perceived Sophia as the bridge between everyday life and the world of the eternal, often entering into deep accord with her purpose. But though such mystics as the medieval Abbess Hildegard of Bingen or the Sufi, Ibn Arabi, are hardly considered goddess worshippers in the feminist sense, they nevertheless show that the channels of the Divine Feminine have been kept open and mediated by many so-called patriarchal faiths.
I have worked from the basis that Sophia or Wisdom is the practical and transcendent form of the Divine Feminine-the Goddess herself. This view is at variance with all other studies of Wisdom that see her as an allegorical or subsidiary figure to that of the Divine Masculine-God. Wisdom is not part of any deistic schema; she is central to our understanding of spirituality. And while she may be invoked by many for purposes as various as the creation of a female pnesthood within Christianity or as the inspiration of feminists in search of a broader view of the Goddess, Sophia is at the last her own self: the leaven that permeates creation, life's creative impetus and completion.
I have accordingly looked for the Goddess of Wisdom under many names and titles, including Nature, the World Soul, the Blessed Virgin and the Shekinah, as well as under her more usual designations. Each of them has retained some part of the Goddess's image, which, like a shattered mirror, waits to be reassembled. She is clearly distinguished by unique qualities and symbolic representations. She is concerned with the survival and maturation of all creation.
She is the leavening influence oflife. Without Wisdom, life is dull.
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Without W1sdom's serendipity, things remain m pieces. Wisdom connects, enlivens. She plays. She is a shy Goddess and a queenly one; she is a protecting Goddess and a hidden one. Sophia is both silent and veiled, unlike her partner, the Logos, who goes forth speaking openly But the silence of Wisdom precedes the speech of the Logos. She is distinguishable from many popular forms of the Divine Feminine by the fact that she is a Black Goddess. She is black because she is primal. Hers is not a blackness of skin, although she is frequently represented in this way.
Rather, like lsis, she keeps her glory veiled. She often takes the appearance of a hag, an aged widow, or dispossessed woman. Like Kali, she can shock and terrify. But she is primarily the keeper of earthly and heavenly wisdom and the guardian of its laws. At the other end of the archetype, Sophia is gloriously beautiful, ageless, eternal, mediating transcendent spirituality. These polarized appearances- as Hag or Queen of Heaven-are the two sides of one coin, one archetypal power.
Just as coal and diamonds are both carbon-that basic substance of matter-so does the Goddess of Wisdom manifest her power through seemingly opposing appearances. By concentration upon the inOuence of Sophia in our daily lives, we can liquefy carbon into hght, coal into diamonds. The greatest strength of Lady Wisdom is that she transcends the dualism that has bedeviled our Western society since the fading of the prehistoric and classical eras when the Goddess was last manifest as a powerful entity of wholeness.
The Goddess of Wisdom has appeared as an abstraction, a pedestalled feminization of a universal quality, as a serene goddess, as a philosophical nicety When we enter theological and philosophical ground, we discover continual hair splitting as to Sophias real identity: she becomes a substance, an energy, an abstraction, or she is an identifiable part of the Trinity Theologians and philosophers have gone out of their way to explain her away, to grudgingly incorporate her into the divine economy, or else to subvert the orthodox thought processes of their traditions m order to give her place.
The way that Sophia has been treated is well paralleled. Even today, tn most masculine walks of life women are considered a necessary evil, a tangle of contradictions that does not accord with the masculine norm, or else, they are a wondrous species to be pedestalled in some exalted sphere though robbed of any real power. The solution that both Sophia and womankind have disc. Sophia pervades everything. Women, likewise, make thctr p resence felt wherever the are. Sophta comes to mediate between all these needs and optmons, able to go at will among them because she is a veiled Goddess; she can be everyone's mother, sister, or daughter.
She is at hand as a living avatara of the Dtvine Feminme, the Goddess whom we have forgotten and for whom we yearn so urgently. The food of life Thou gran test in eternal fidelity. And when the soul hath retired we take refuge in Thee. All that Thou grantest falls back somewhere into Thy womb. One of her key visionaries has been the poet Raben Graves, whose book The White Goddess has awakened a sleeping world.
Though many have attempted to revamp his material, few have been as successful at provoking response at that creative level.
Fler böcker av Professor Rowland J Mainstone
Graves wrote lyrically and with poetic awe about the inspiring White Goddess and her priestess-muse representative, Woman. He wrote as a male poet, totally in love with and in the service of an exacting mistress.
He also wrote, in less detail, about the challenging Black Goddess, she who "is so far hardly more than a word of hope whispered among the few who have served their apprenticeship to the White Goddess. But the Goddess of Wisdom, the Black Goddess who is at the heart of the creative process, cannot be so easily viewed, as Graves himself remarked: she "may even appear disembodied rather than incarnate.
The Black Goddess is the veiled Sophia who, in many forms, is the. She may be more readily discerned by women, because her hidden processes and powers accord to their own unspoken but instinctive qualities. Men rarely approach her except in fear, for she manifests not as a sensuous and desirable muse although she may sometimes chose that shape but as a Dark Mother, immanent and brooding with unknown and unguessable power, or as a Virago, a potent virgin. For this reason I write this text as an introduction to the idea of the Black Goddess who is the powerful foundation for our understanding of the Divine Feminine, for it is only by homage to her that we may find the Goddess of Wisdom.
Sophia has been on the stage since the beginning, for she is a creating goddess. She lies waiting to be discovered within the Black Goddess who is her mirror image, knowing that, until we make that important recognition, she is going to have to come again and again in many shapes.
She waits in the wings patiently to emerge, knowing that she will have to play many parts- including breeches parts- in the forthcoming scenario. An appreciation of the Black Goddess is coming slowly into perspective in the West. Throughout the last two thousand years when the Goddess has been marginalized, most appearances of the Divine Feminine have been understood in a dualistic and problematic lighL. We have not had the safety valve of feminine metaphor in our spiritual understanding; consequently, the feminine, both divine and human, has appeared monstrously contorted, threatening, and uncontrollable.
The fact that our metaphors of deity can change or have different faces is foreign to Western understanding. The Goddess can be viewed in many ways, a fact that has caused many philosophers and theologians to call the Goddess fickle and mutable, changeable as a whore with her many clients.
It has always struck the Western mind as aberrant that Hinduism can accept so repellent a form as Kali. If the Black Goddess is demed, as she has been in our culture, she will make her appearance in ways that remind us to respect her in the future-if there is a future. In the Hindu. We have so often stressed only the beneficial and the beautiful that we have created a false archetype out of the Divine Feminine. The Goddess, to be acceptable to our culture, has had to appear as sweetness and light-a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Venus de Milo-sexy and largely unintelligent.
Such dangerous polarizations have hit hard in the West. Not only has this image set the norm for how womankind is viewed, it has unbalanced our relationship with the whole of creation. Western culture, like its orthodox spiritual forms, is dominating, dictating, and patriarchal. It does not allow the basic human freedoms to develop in a balanced way, warping even the qualities of wisdom, love, knowledge, and compassion.
It is traditionally believed in Hindu culture that when someone establishes a spiritual relationship with Kali, a sacrifice will be demanded. Commitment to the Black Goddess is not to be taken lightly, certainly, for she leads us in many ways that we will find hard. However, if there is mutual respect between us and her, she will also lead us to the heart of truth and justice. Perhaps it is here that we find the beginning of wisdom within ourselves? If we start with the Black Goddess rather than with one of her more socially acceptable faces, we will never be led astray.
If we embrace her as she is, we will find that her wise love transforms us. And as we change, so she also will change into a transcendentally beautiful and wise m etaphor that we have chosen to call Sophia. This subtle alchemy is our spiritual task. The way of Sophia is the way of personal experience. It takes us into areas that we may label "heightened reality"-those creative realms to which ordinary mortals are called by right of their vocational and creative skills.
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However, the poetic, the magical , the creative inscapes of vision are often denied us by our culture. Anyone who has been mto the world of vision-defined by many as unreal-knows that its power can enhance our lives. It is Sophia who acts as a way shower and companion on this inner quest, especially helpful for women.
The Black Goddess lies at the basis of spiritual knowledge, whteh is why her image continually appears within many traditions as the Veiled Goddess, the Black Virgin, the Outcast Daughter, the Wailing Widow, the Dark Woman of Knowledge. Our own search for the Goddess is one that is begun in darkness and unknowing. Ours is the knowing ignorance of the child in its mothers womb: we have to be born, and we are frightened of the extrawomb dimension. Once out of that womb, we begin to be terrified of our origins.
But one of the prophecies of Sophia is, "1 will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places. We have only to consider the mystical experience of the Dark Night, as exemplified by john of the Cross and other mystics. Within the darkness of night or the cloud of unknowing, we discover the heart of our spirituality. This is the seed experience of spiritual growth, to be held fast in the dark earth, to suffer the coldness of winter, that germination may take place.
There is in God, some say, A deep but dazzling darkness Dear beauteous death! Yet the experience obtained by this path is one of illumination , when the sun shines at midnight. This is the kindling of Sophia, who is the transcendent pole of the Black Goddess, though because of our dualistic conditioning, finding the connection between the two may take a long time. We fear the Black Goddess because we project our terrors onto whatever we do not know and what remains hidden from us. Her Image has been pushed away so long, and now we reencoumer her wherever we look, for she takes the face of Nature to remind us of our responsibility for creation.
Once our vision of Nature and of the Goddess was integral to ourselves: "We participate in her substance, her nature, her processes, her play and her work. One of the chief problems is our disdain of matter, our own bodies and their functions, for they remind us of the humbling fact that we are matter. Communion with the Black Goddess is usually nonverbal, nonintellectual-it derives through the body itself, for she is our basic prima materia. Have you tried taking the word back to its roots?
It goes right back to Sanskrit Push through the fissive nature of matter and where do you find yourself? Not, I assure you, in the kingdom of the Leptons and the Quarks, but in the black hole of Magna Mater.
Yes, the Great Mother herself, and it is a terrible thing to fall into the lap of the living Goddess. She is not separate from it, for she is it. One of the great spiritual mysteries is the way in which a mystic identifies with the deity: such identification is considered the highest state of mystical awareness. The Goddess, similarly, identifies with her creation. Many Goddess mystics already acknowledge that identification with the Goddess is also identification with the whole of creation.
As science strives to uncover the mystery of dark matter, the Creating Mother as Black Goddess is already activated in the imaginations of spiritual seekers. Chaos is fnghtening, and in many cultu res the Goddess manifests first in chaotic images, though she also manifests in ordered 1mages. The Wisdom of the B1ble, who makes everyth ing with her partner, delighting in the fashwmng of creation, is acceptable within our society. It is a metaphor we have chosen to adopt, based on ancient pancultural symbols that we will examine shortly. Set against this image is the real birthing mother like Tiamat, who produces creation from her body when Marduk nps her mto clouds, water, and earth.
We have chosen to retain this metaphor for Nature-red m tooth and claw, chaotic, elemental, unpredictable. We can identify this aspect as the Black Goddess, our primal Wisdom. Nature IS always 1maged by female metaphors. She is present both as Dame Kind, the beneficent and provtdmg mother, and also as the Great Dragon, her terrible aspect that roams through all things. With these dual expressions of the Goddess go fear of chaos and love of order, reflected m the pairing of the Black Goddess and the Sophia.
Which is the oldest myth of creauon-the heterosexual or the parthenogenic? Science tells us that single cells divide to reproduce themselves. Whether we look to older or later myths, the chaotic feminine is in there at the beginning, either as the Goddess riven in two or as the Orph1c darkness of night laying her solitary egg.
The Babylonian creation myth tells of the God Apsu and the Goddess Tiamat, who are the spimual essence of the sweet waters and the biuer waters. These may be seen respecuvely as fresh water and sea water. By the mingling of these pure waters, the gods were created. There arose a tumult between the first-begotten gods. Apsu was for destroyi ng them; Tiamat for b1ding the1r time until the1r children were mature. Like the gnostiC Sophia, "she was stung, she writhed in lonely desolation, her heart worked in secret passion. He lay with Damkina, his wife, and she conceived Marduk.
Anu sent storms to torment Tiamat and her rebellious children, who begged their mother for help. She accordingly made eleven monsters to fight on the1r side, taking one of them, Kingu, to be her captain and husband. She hung the tablets of fate about his neck to empower him. Ea "took the short road, went the direct way to Tiamat," but he could not face her. Anshar, God of the Horizon, sent his messenger Kaka "to primordial sediments, to call together the ge nerations of the gods.
They met with the younger gods and appointed Marduk as king and leader of the gods, bidding him: "Slit li. Marduk pierced her distended belly with an arrow which cut out her womb. He then smashed her body into pieces, scattering her organs to the directions. Splitting the carcass in two, he set up the upper half to create the arch of the sky, setting the celestial lights to cross over it. The lower half was heaped up with mountains and pierced for water courses. Tiamat's spittle became the rain.
Now the earth had foundations and the sky its mantle. Kingu was sacrificed in order to provide the matter for the first human beings. We see here that Tiamat is a primordial Sea Goddess whose body creates the earth, which does not exist prior to the gods' rebellion.
Hebrew qabalistic tradition calls her Marah, the bitter sea, a name that is etymologically linked with both Miriam and Mary. Tiamat is the Elder Mother of all, she who is the essential moisture from which life proceeds. Her husband, Apsu, gives his name to our word abyss, frequently used as a term for the Underworld.
The Akkadian Tiamat and the Hebrew tehom are closely associated, meaning "the deep. The overlaps between this creation myth and the Hebrew and gn ostic ones are considerable. Myths of how the Goddess was split into many fragments are told throughout the world. The ubiquity of these myths cannot lie, but they may bear other interpretations.
Do they arise from cultures who strive to leave their mother and discover metaphors of maleness and fatherhood in the process of maturation? The cutting of the umbilicus is essential for physical survival, but whether this metaphor may be also applied to spirituality is unclear. Sometimes the myth supports the Mother Goddess at the expense of her consort. War between the older gods and their offspring is a common mythic theme. Gaia hides her son Kronos, who then castrates Ouranos.
Gaia receives the blood into her womb, and the Erinyes are conceived. But no longer do sky and earth meet in union. Further echoes of the myth are discernible throughout Mediterranean tradition, notably the manner in which Oceanus and Tethys create the gods. Plato sees them as "the offspring of flux and motion. It is not difficult to see the parallels between Oceanus and Apsu and Tethys and Tiamat. The trail of Tiamat survived in the Bible as Leviathan, the sea monster of chaos, where she is likened to Rahab, the harlot,17 and also in Egyptian tradition as the crocodile of Set.
It is ironic to identify this same beast as the serpent of knowledge in the Garden of Eden who tempts Eve and as the devouring serpent of Revelation 12 that combats the Virgin. The dragon energy of the Black Goddess recurs in the myth of St. George and the Dragon. This story is often taken as implying the overthrow of both the earth and of women, but its subtext is more subtle than that. The dragon of the Black Goddess is transformed into the maiden Sophia who, with her symbol of the dove, is released from her primal form by love, a theme recurring in the Grail cycle.
The overcoming of the dragon or serpent occurs also at Delphi. The Delphic oracle, called the Pythoness, now associated w ith the Sun God, Apollo , was once the servant of Gaia, as well as Hera or juno. It is told how Hera, shamed by Zeus bnngmg Athene to birth without her maternal assistance, called upon the ancestral gods to aid her to bear a child as strong as Zeus. Remammg apart from htm for a year, she bears Typhon, who has a mans shape but two serpents' tails for legs.
The drakaina was an earth-speaker whose veiled words represented the views of the earth, the Black Goddess herself. Our ancestors made such oaths to the earth, whtch we have forgotten to uphold, and the drakainas of our time now speak urgently of the wronged earth in ways we cannot fail to hear. Many people now fear for the end of human existence: not that life itself will cease.
Diodorus Siculus reponed that "the Chaldeans say that the substance of the world is eternal, and that it neither had a first beginning nor Tiamat, the chaotic creating mother, and the dragon of the Apocalypse are one and the same. The earliest fo rms of the Goddess of W isdom lie far back in the metamemOI of ancestral heritage-a tradition to which there are two posstble approaches: through the agency of archaeological research or through inspired analeptic memory. Many matriarchal feminists have used the latter method to mtuit the roots of the Goddess.
Analepsis ts not an academically acceptable pracuce, but when archaeology runs out of ideas, inspired memory must take over. This seed of memory is that very motherwn with which all living thmgs are tmprinted. This kernel of motherwit allows us access to skilful wisdom-not the high-flown and academically.
It is arising spontaneously in the peoples of the earth who are becoming earthspeakers of the Black Goddess. Like the prophet Jonah, or like the coiled infant awaiting birth, we are also in the belly of Tiamat-Leviathan , contemplating our destined vocation. Maybe somewhere locked in the intertwinmg strands of DNA, which are sealed with the unquestionable signature of the Goddess, we will find the indwelling motherwit of the womb-oracle and act upon it.
Through the sacred gateway of her vulva all life proceeds and is incarnate.
This image is the Sheila na Gig, the fans ex origo, whose image was placed over church doorways, a continual reminder that we are all born of the earth and that her womb will also become our tomb. In primal society, birth is a sacred activity and is accordingly granted special privileges and rituals. It is not until the classical Hellenic age that we find a disdain for the reproductive o rgans as unclean, for birth as an abomination. Indeed, dating from those times, we may trace the degradation of the body and all things pertaining to it.
Earth Moth er. Here the Goddess of the Earth arises from the ground. As the Mis-. Within our own time, the auempt to reevaluate the birth experience has gone hand-in-hand with feminism. It is no longer necessary for most women in the West to endure the most painful of birth positions that has been the Western "norm" in hospitals: lying on the back.
Creative ap plication of "pnmitive" birth positions-walking, squatting, and kneeling-have been adapted by Western women with great resul ts. Birth ts, after all, something a woman does herself, not something that IS done to her. We have tended to treat cosmology 1n the same way: It has been laid on its back and the fo rceps applied to produce a strange metaphoncal p roduct. The bi rthing Goddess has been replace by the Father, Son, and Spirit. Phys1cal creation, from the Goddess and Woman, has been polarized to the preferred metaphors of mental creativity, the Divme Masculine and Man.
The earth wisdom of the surviving native tradi tions of our planet speaks of a simplicity that our world lacks. It has a humility that frequently underscores our "civilized" Western paranoia. For the native traditions, the Earth Mother is a reality: the earth that feeds us and gives us plentifully all that we need. The "primnive" experience of the Goddess is not one of fear and torment; it is one of perfect familiarity and respect. When the Nez Perce people of North America were presented with the prospect of agnculture as a means of survival, their spokesman, Sm ohalla, very rightly replied: "My young men shall neve r work.
Men who work cannot dream and wisdom comes in d reams. You ask me to plou gh the ground. Shall l take a kmfe and tear my mother's breast? Then when I die She wi ll not take me to her bosom to rest. You ask me to d ig for stone. Shall l dtg under her skm for bones? Then when I die I cannot enter her bod and be born again. You ask me to cut grass and make hay and sell it and be rich like the white man.
But how can I cut off my mother's hmr? All the dead humans wtll come to life agam. We must wait here in the house of our ancestors and be ready to meet in the body of our mother. The native peoples of the world have always, and m some places, sull live with the eanh. It is an integral part of thetr lives. Its diverse life forms are food, medicine, and companion. They do not despise their bodies or their habnat in the way that we often do today. The Black Goddess moves in the shape of the elemental weather that afflicts as earthquake, sand-storm, hurricane, drought; as Oya, the Cailleach, as Rhea, Cybele, and Kali, she exhtbtts an outraged face.
The cult of the Earth Mother celebrates the fact that we arc surrounded and enclosed by the creauon of the Mother. There is no space to detat! The manipulative and destructive patterns of the West. Despite the New Science that allows spirituality and technology to inhabit one domain once again, science is tending to look beyond the earth for answers, seeing our earth as expendable, and the Western pattern of "progress" and expansion is being planned for another solar system.
The titanic powers of our earth, the children ofTiamat whom Marduk sought to chain, are being reassembled in the shape of uranium. The dissecting tendency of science may be seen as no better than the slicing up ofTiamat by Marduk, regarded by some as the primordial rapist. However, the interaction of male and female deities in cosmogony is a necessary one. The nature of the Goddess is more subtle and various than many allow. She has transformative qualities that few have guessed at. There have been many cults of the Goddess, just as there have been many cults of the God, the D1vine Masculine.
Yet, deity is deity, a colorless light that may be refracted in differem ways through the different prismatic lenses of metaphor. Into recorded history we can trace the development of one Goddess who survived from early times to be called Magna Mater, among other titles. She is called Cybele, Rhea, and many other names. She is a mountain mother, one who forms the world from rocks throw.
She inhabits the inaccessible regions of the earth, on mountains and caves, surrounded by her beasts. She is the Mistress of the Steppe belit seri and Mistress of the Beasts, aspects of whom are reflected in Artemis, lnanna, Anath, Atargatis. We see her first in some of the earliest remains of the ancient world, of Catal Huyuk in Anatolia. A statue from this site, dated BC, shows the Great Mother seated on her throne or birth stool, which is supported by leopards or lionesses; her child's head is in the act of crow.
Cybele is primarily associated with the earth, specifically a rock. Her cult constellated around the black meteorite enshrined at Pergamum. She was chiefly venerated in her cities in Troy, Pergamum, and Pessinus by the people ofPhrygia, 28 where her name was originally Kubaba, "Lady of the Cube," later hellenized to Cybele. The poet Lucretius BC explained the natural power of Cybele in her lion chariot as being like the earth, which hangs in airy space: "for earth cannot rest on earth. Decked with this emblem even now the image of the holy mother is borne about the world in solemn state.
The Delphic oracle had been consulted concerning the Roman war against the Carthaginians; it foretold that if the Phrygian Mother were brought from Pergamum, she would aid the Roman cause. Accordingly, a deputation was sent out, and the great black stone that was worshipped as the statue of Cybele was loaded onto a ship. The ship, however, could not be moved up the Tiber but became stuck by no apparent cause.
People began to mutter that the priestess Claudia was not pure. The ship accordingly moved, and the black stone of Cybele was reverently installed in the temple of Victoria on the Palatine in BC. There was great rejoicing in Rome, since Cybele was the Goddess of the Trojans, ancestors of the Romans according to tradition.
Like Nyx in the Orphic mystery, the dark drum of the Black Goddess beat the rhythms and cyclicities of life. At Epidaurus, a third-century Be song is inscribed on stone: "When the sovereign Zeus caught sight of the Mother of the gods he hurled the thunderbolt and took up the tympanum drum , he shattered the rocks and took up the.
Only then shall! The myth of Cybele in the later classical world told how the Great Mother is sleeping on Mount Ida in the form of a rock, or, some say, as the eanh itself. Her son, Zeus, tries to lie with her but only succeeds in spilling his semen onto the earth, whereupon Cybele conceives and bears an androgyne called Agdistus.
This monstrous bemg is so dangerous that the other gods determine to chain it. Making Agdistus d runk, they tie its genitals to a tree so that when it wakes, it castrates itself. The place where the testicles lie sprouts up as a pomegranate tree. Gathering frun from tt one day, the nymph Nana becomes pregnant from contact with the tree and bears Attis. He grows up, falls in love with a maiden, and Agdistus drives Attis mad , so that he castrates h tmself.
H This complex myth sets the scene for many future scenarios, notably the gnostic one m whtch Sophia plays so great a pan. The expenence of Cybele ts an intensely matriarchal one.
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Gudca, the Sumerian ruler of Lagash, addresses Gatumdug, the city's Goddess thus: "I am one who has no mother, I you are my mother. I I am one who has no father, you are my father. The experience of the galloi is one fearful to most men. These p riests were insptred at the annual rites of Cybele and Anis to castrate themselves and serve the Goddess, to give their power, in the form of their male virility, to the Goddess's keeping.
Cybele is in many ways the Goddess who was predominant in the expression of femimsm during the sixties and early seventies. The results of this expression are sullto reap, for many men were S mboltcally castrated at that time. Such imbalances will adjust themselves when we focus our auention upon the mediating presence of Sophia.
At that time, the voice of the Goddess was upraised in the West in one gigantic shout; her tympanum throbbed with uncontrolled urgency While feminism has sought more acceptable faces since, the shadow of that first feminist impact is still cast across the Western world: a manyheaded, many-armed female with instruments of war in her hands, her mouth wide open to expel a long suppressed scream of birthing anguish.
This is the popular image of feminism that lurks beyond the threshold of many minds. There are other, equally potent voices upraised on behalf of the earth itself, which is being raped of its resources, its natural habitats including humanity's own polluted, its fair face made as ugly as technology and population explosion can make it.
The ecological movement projects as monstrous an image of the Black Goddess as any that lies dormant in popular spiritual metaphor. The rites of the Great Mother show the fearsome aspect of the Goddess that operates on the fuel of raw energy and sacrificed virility She is our Western Kali: the one who gives us birth and who receives us at the end. The prayer addressed to the Great Mother that heads this chapter observes that "all that Thou grantest falls somewhere back into Thy womb.
The Black Goddess is terrifying because she does not just nurture her offspring; she makes them change by challenging them. This is also the action of Sophia: although she is responsible for the Fall, in gnosticism, she is also the companion to every soul, leading it to wisdom. She is both creator and receiver of creation. This Black Goddess aspect of Sophia is not evil. Like the wrathful images of Buddhist deities, the dark face of Sophia is there to warn and admonish, to exhibit her reflected aspect with more effect.
The petnfying face of Medusa did not harm Perseus, as long as he looked at her reflection in his polished shield, given him by Athene, the Goddess of Wisdom. So it is with the dual aspects of Sophia. Some can only look at the Black Goddess by viewing her reflected face of Sophia. How are Sophia and the Black Goddess associated? We may use an image of sparks of fire running through the blackness of charcoal to illumine this mystery. The Black Goddess is the metaphorical appearance of the Goddess in matter. Sophia is the metaphorical appearance of the living spirit within matter. Sophianic images usually resort to fire at some point, as we shall see.
The Black Goddess, meanwhile, is expressed by means of stones, rocks, and earth, as well as in the very Oesh we all inhabit. Sophia has seeded her sparkle of fire in us all. When we are spiritually kindled, then her pathway of fire spreads throughout the charcoal of our physical being. When we deal with Sophia, we will find ourselves alternately dazzled and blindfolded. The effect is the same, whether we stand in darkness or light. We must trust to her voice within us to guide us forward. Goddess spirituality shows us the matched pair of Black Goddess and Sophia, inverse poles of the same archetype.
The Keres people of New Mexico still revere two such images, knowing them to be one and the same: Tse che nako, or Thought Woman, like Sophia, conceiVes of, thinks, and creates everything. She is also believed to be the creative power of thought within everyone. She "was the first to work with creative visualization. She is ever spinning her web, developing the possibilities of life.