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The Great Goddess, The Ultimate Female Archetype

Updated: Jun 19


Delve into this blog post to get a fascinating overview on the representation of the Goddess(es) as Archetypes of the Female psyche. Firstly, have you ever wondered why ‘Goddess’ and not ‘God’? The pre-historic man viewed birthing as the deciding factor (link back to previous blogs), the one to give life, to birth was the woman; therefore the main deities were originally female.  The Mesopotamian Goddess: Isthar (Inanna-Ishtar)  Mesopotamia is the oldest known civilization that emerged in history, therefore, we can almost call Ishtar as the mother of all Goddesses in West-Eurasia and Europe.  One of the oldest known archetype of The Great Goddess is Inanna-Ishtar. She is the first know Goddess we have written evidence for.  She was whole. Inanna embodied birth and death - she was often depicted with burning eyes symbolising profound consciousness and enlightenment and with burning navel as the symbol of sexuality, fertility and death (life/death/life cycle).  Inanna-Ishtar is the quintessence of a woman  She was often accompanied by lions and her symbol was the eight-point star (Venus star). She was clearly powerful and was the symbol of war and destruction too. It is very interesting to read the different explanations of what Ishtar represented and the narrative around her especially her transformations, evolution and genesis into Goddesses of younger societies (e.g. Astarte, Aphrodite etc). When you dive into the many different explanations of this Great Goddess, one major element becomes very clear. These explanations are trying to make sense of a woman like she is only one thing or another.  Approaching her from a view point of a single meaning (she is the Goddess of love or war and so on) when in reality, if you, my beloved reader take a look deep within yourself you are not just made of one thought, feeling, role or value.  We are complex beings, we are flesh and spirit at the same time, we are creation and destruction at the same time. Inanna-Ishtar, the Great-Goddess was the same, she was whole, she was wise and sensual at the same time.  She was mother and daughter, lover and warrior and so on…the list is never ending...

The controversy surrounding the ultimate female archetype She carries much controversy for the modern eye however, with a full understanding and respect of the feminine we can unlock her being. Or, approaching this matter from another angle: can we rehabilitate the feminine by studying the Great-Goddess and her archetype?  Either way, first we need to shred certain chains that has been clamped onto the female archetype where a woman is either seen as a mother or a promiscuous woman (Madonna-Whore Dichotomy). Not just for ourselves but for the health and future of humankind, for society as a whole (read study). Inanna-Ishtar’s archetype is the ubiquitous feminine.  The Great-Goddess on the timeline of history Mesopotamia was already occupied in 14,000 B.C. and over the thousands of years this region gave birth to the oldest civilization that we know of. Recorded history began around 4000 BC when writing was invented.  In 4000 BC. we are already talking about patriarchal societies (farming and agriculture) which means that the image of the Goddesses has already been quite possibly changed and twisted in some ways due to the power shift that happened between the two societal structures (Matriarchy and Patriarchy).  Since we have no solid written record from before 4000 BC. archaeology and anthropology relying on artifacts, radiocarbon dating etc. When we look at the artifacts from the Paleolithic era, we can get a glimpse of what kind of Goddesses the people of the Paleolithic era may have worshiped. Across Europe from France to the river Don, numerous artifacts have been found as the proof of existence to matriarchal societies. Here you can find an extensive list of all the prehistoric female figurines. Inanna-Ishtar has been taken and transformed over the years, many other culture “imported” her - Astarte (Phoenicia), Aphrodite (Cypriot, Greek) possibly Durga (India). Aphrodite The Classical Greek Goddess of female sensuality and beauty. The image of the Great Goddess (Ishtar) has undergone quite a genesis. She appeared in Cyprus around 3000 B.C. and slowly developed into the well-known Goddess, Aphrodite. She is originally a Cypriot Goddess; only later she became a Greek Goddess. Aphrodite, as we know her now is not the war Goddess anymore (even though she was known once as Aphrodite-Areia bearing armour), neither she is representing a deep spiritual unity however during her genesis she was the protector of mothers and newborns too. Her genesis has stripped her from being whole and she eventually became dedicated to being only the Goddess of love and beauty.   There are numerous archaeological evidences found on Cyprus, demonstrating a strong heritage of a fertility cult (possible Matriarchal society). You can find out more of Aphrodite’s special story here, a study of Ancient Cyprus.  The history of humankind before writing emerged is immense and still need to be fully understood. There are remains of matriarchal societies in the oldest cultures e.g Mesopotamia, Crete, Ephesus, Turkey, Anatolia (Catal Hülyük) from the Aegean coast to the Lukin Empire. These goddess-abiding cultures named as "Gylany" (gy - female, an – male). In these goddess-abiding cultures the image of a vegetative, cyclically dying God slowly emerged. These Gods were either the Goddess's son and/or lover and/or brother such as: Damuzi, Tammuz, Adonis, Osiris, Baal, Attis. The cycle of these low powered Gods was to be sacrificed, die, mourned, resurrected and unite with their Goddesses.  Embrace The Great-Goddess within you...there is no "one size fits all", do not allow societal expectations to define your femininity! Aruru, Mummu, Tiamat (Mesopotamia), Astarte (Phoenician), Maat, Tefnut, Nut, Isis, Hator (Egypt); Thetisz, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hera, Rhea, Athena (Greek); Venus, Titania, Cybele (Roman); Ilmatár, Luonnotár (Finnish), Sakti, Durga, Aditi (Indian), Frigg, Hel, Freyja (Germanic), Tara (Tibetan), Kwan-yin, Nu-wa (Chinese); Kannon (Japan), Al-Uzza, Al-Manat (ancient Arabic).

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