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We learned in the preceding journal article how the times of the goddess nature religions came to an end, to be replaced by a patriarchal assortment of religions. The Goddess religions were a belief system based upon cyclical time as symbolized by the Moon and her phases. The Moon has three phases: the new Moon, the time of waxing through the Full Moon, the waning period ending in the Dark Moon. The Goddess showed herself in three aspects as well, corresponding to the three phases of the Moon’s cycles: Artemis (the White Virgin) was the goddess symbolizing the New Moon, Persephone (the Wife and Mother) was the goddess symbolizing the Full Moon, and the Crone, in her aspects as Kali, Hekate, or Erish-kigal, was the goddess symbolizing the Dark Moon phase. . If it seems strange today to talk about a Supreme Goddess when we are so accustomed to accepting a God, perhaps it was just as strange 10,000 years ago to talk about a Supreme and Single God instead of a Goddess who reigns over many lesser gods. The Goddess was the Earth Mother, a Deity just as real to those who once attuned to the energies of Nature and the annual cycles of the year, as the God which today we Christians, Moslems or Jews consider the only Source. But “in the Olde Tymes”, it was the Goddess who ruled over the realms of life and death. The Virgin ruled the beginning of life. The Mother ruled the middle of life. And the end of life…death and the period between death and rebirth…was ruled by the Crone. . The Sky God of today rules and judges by means of ethics and obedience, good and evil, right and wrong. Supposedly, these dualities can be discerned by and pursued by means of our rational facilities, logic, the left brain. We strive to be good, avoid pain, seek pleasure and happiness, serve the Good, act unselfishly, and obey our religious authorities. We speak of serving the Light and opposing the Darkness…for only the Light serves the Good. We’ve been told that the Dark is evil, violent, a terror, death, a tempter to pull us away from the Light, the opposite of the Good, the irrational and insane. But what was it originally? And has the meaning of the Threefold Goddess and the Dark been subverted by being redefined and distorted by the patriarchal religions? . Modern Christianity, for example, has taken in the first two aspects of the Goddess…that of the Virgin and the Mother…as the Virgin Mary and as the Mother of Jesus. But the dark aspect, that of the Crone, was rejected and demonized. What she represented was frightening to mortal men: disintegration, decay, loss, death, and terror as one faces his own death. These interpretations were projected upon the descendents of those who worshipped the Triform Goddess in earlier times. And so 9 million women were burned at the stake as witches, harlots, and healers. These, it was said, were the followers of the Dark Goddess and in league with the devil.
. The Church of the Middle Ages redefined the Dark Goddess aspect as a seducer into Evil and personified her as Lilith (the first wife of Adam who refused to obey him), as a Destroyer, and a Terror, but the roles she was assigned in the Old Religions are as necessary in Cosmic space as is the Light. . In the earlier times, both the Light and the Dark were good…each having their role and rightful place…which meant that all three aspects of the Goddess were needed. This was possibly because these ancient goddess religions were right-brained, relied less on rationality and lacked the assumption that good and bad could be "separated" in actual life. They were in fact Mystery religions because, life and its outcomes, seemed mysterious. But today we’ve forgotten the original role of the Dark. And the patriarchal religious training we’ve all had has distorted the meaning of the Goddess and her three aspects. And distorted the meaning of her mysteries and wisdoms. She was not the personification of a evil force, but an aspect of Cosmic Law itself. . All that is born must die. All that is begun must end. No form is eternal, but must degenerate, putrify and dissolve so that its energy might be free to assume new form. If a man is only a one-lifetime being, then there is no rebirth. In the times of the Goddess, the belief was that death leads into an intermediate phase of a spiritual being’s existence. During that time, the being experiences a transformation in preparation for rebirth and a new life. The cycle repeats again and again. Death was not an end but the dissolution of an old form; not the destruction of the spiritual essence and life force of the person. The personality was no more in life, but it prepared to shape itself anew in the following life from the discoveries and experiences of the person during its previous life cycle. This was a view of reincarnation…a belief today of many people and religious worldwide...but not Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. In the Christian faith, reincarnation was denied by the Catholic Church 500 years following the times of Jesus Christ. But many Christians before and after continued to believe in the concept. . The role of the Dark Goddess was not to punish. She was not concerned with ethical standards, being “good” versus “bad”, or “obedience” to Her word. Her role was to compassionately ease the death process, to heal, to comfort the ill and dying, to purify the soul, and to hurry it on to its next life. This role was reflected in the harvesting of crops in the autumn and the period of rest for the land during the winter; it was reflected in the cycles of the Moon in the sky above; and it was reflected in the life of each person, who must be born, live to maturity, and then age…growing weak, ill, and finally dying. She was not a judge nor a savior, but a compassionate healer and psychopomp. . The Dark Goddess also carried the laws of life associated with the role of sexuality and
its catalytic and healing power. Sex is the link between regeneration and rebirth. Sexual energy purifies and moves the psyche along, clears out old crystallized thought forms and emotional trauma. The priestesses of the Goddess acted out this mythic energy through ritual sex with those who needed healing, but this was not perceived as evil until the nomadic tribes declared it so. Sexuality was sacred and an honoring of the Goddess herself. Sexual healing is a form of this need, as any woman who has healed a man of his psychological wounds through loving tenderness and sexuality knows. . Human instincts and animal nature are also embodied in the Goddess. This issue identifies the Goddess theologies with the human right brain, our intuitive, feeling and artistic mind. This instinctual nature was a characteristic of the White Virgin Goddess aspect, for it was Artemis who was mistress of the Beasts. But when the Virgin was made a part of the Christian mythos, she carried along with her only her obedient qualities. The instinctual nature of man…his link to and dependence upon Nature…those qualities were left behind and were projected upon the rejected Dark Goddess. Therefore, sexuality--the very life force itself!--became a potential crime against God’s will and became identified with bad behavior, as have all our other natural needs and the negative expressions of our emotions. . The role of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, realm of the dead, also was given to the Dark Goddess. Persephone was the innocent daughter of Demeter (the Earth) who was raped and taken into the Underworld by the Lord Hades (in Greek myth). She became Queen of the Dead and brought compassion into the domain of Lord Hades. But the Underworld was not a “hellish place”; the Land of the Dead was not a place of punishment. In fact, heroes went to the Elesian Fields, an idyllic place within the Underworld. But when the role of Persephone became Mary, Mother of Jesus in the Christian faith, she became the compassionate intermediary to God for Man, in order to convince God to have mercy on man and woman as they came before the judgment seat. And the Underworld became Hell. . Faced with the argument among Christians that man is inescapably sinful, carries original sin, and must be judged for eternity for our “sins of the flesh“ and sins against one another, Christians had nothing but death, fear of judgment, and guilt to look forward to. Only God’s Grace can save a human from an eternity in hell, for nothing can change what we were made for or into by Creation and evolutionary forces. Those who are without sin, who can live chaste, sexless lives, married to the Divine, become saints and win to heaven on their own merits. The rest of us cannot save ourselves, and we cannot rest in what we are here on Earth. We cannot escape suffering and pain in life or our own nature. We cannot rest in what we are as innately Good in God’s Universe. . Trying to be good and endlessly seeking self-improvement and worthiness, however, is
the result of holding unrealistic ideals and values, and leads into a split between mind and body, psychological pathologies and suffering. And rejection of our natural instinctual needs and sinful feelings leads into insanity and self destruction, for a person who rejects his basic needs will sicken psychologically and physically. . Some are today seeking to retrieve the lost qualities of the Divine Feminine, and to combine it with the Divine Masculine, to marry again the Light with the Dark, and to reframe psychology and spirituality for modern mankind. They recognize that the Divine represents the marriage of both the masculine and the feminine powers. The Feminine is the creative, receptive force. The masculine is the active, conceptive force. Then God and Goddess would be one in the Christ energy. But then Christians would have to have reverence for Nature as well as its ethical commandments and rules, degeneration as well as regeneration, instincts as well as mind, imperfection as well as perfection, bad as well as good, suffering as well as bliss, unhappiness as well as happiness, fear as well as courage, and death, decay, and loss as well as birth, growth and winning. Then, our theologies would teach the Law of Nature as well as its Law of Love. Life is what it is, and endlessly trying to categorize it into good and evil is only a perspective on the natural processes of life. If there is a purpose to life, it is to gain experiences which temper us and make us more resilient, more patient, more enduring, then life itself must be the way it is. Sanity comes with accepting life as it is as Reality and learning from it. And Christianity would be more like Buddhism. . This marriage can bring back the acceptance of our natural selves, our psychological and spiritual health, and our ability to rest in time as all must learn to be. Man must relearn, for his very survival a species on Earth, to come back into balance, to live from his Nature, from his instincts, and from his Heart to be well psychologically or physically. . Love is the Law: Love under Law. Nature IS the Law. Love is the Law: Love under Nature. . It is said that the nature of the Divine "mind" is paradox, and so here we also see a paradox. The choice man has may not be between Nature (and instinct) verus Love, but discovering that both are necessary elements to life and choice. Finding the solution to this paradox is the work of every person who works to reconcile his animal nature with that of his need to live by the Law of Love. . Sources: Demetria George, Mysteries of the Dark Moon