A Goddess is a female divine being, and had been worshipped in various cultures around the world for thousands of years. The idea of female divine form probably came from the fact that the female was the creator of life, and the omnipresent creator was seen as a female – the Mother of all life. Statues and artifacts have been excavated that verify worship of female deities, and cave paintings, etc, have been found that date back to more than 35,000 BC. The full figured form of the Goddess symbolized prosperity, and security from hunger.
Goddesses in many cultures have been worshipped alone, as a single figure, many a times in pairs with the Gods, and sometimes as neutral gender, or as hermaphroditic deities. A Goddess as a female divine form was revered by all – men, women, and children – as a powerful Mother Goddess. Though, in many cultures and religious beliefs the worship of Goddesses is re-emerging, there are many cultures and religions around the world that never stopped Goddess worship, such as Hinduism – which has a pantheon of many Goddesses, along with Gods. The Christians revere Virgin Mary as a Goddess; the Inuit honor Ocean Mother Sedna; and the Japanese honor Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess, as the Divine Mother. These are just a few instances of Goddess worship.
The Goddess And the New Religions
Religion, faith, and spirituality are very personal to man. Revering and honoring Goddesses helps us understand the various stages in life. The female represents life, love, nurturing, creation, and nature, and the awareness of the Goddess in us helps us in this inner knowledge. Newer religions and Neopagans worship Goddesses.
• Wicca – This neopagan religion has a Goddess – known as ‘the Lady’ by its adherents – as the prime deity, along with a God. In the earlier legends of the Wiccans, the Goddess was a tribal deity of the witch cult, someone like Aradia, the daughter of Diana. In the latter traditions of Wicca, the Goddess became the universal deity that encompasses and conceives all life. Their Goddess is variously seen in the guise of Isis, Gaia, Selene, Diana, and Hectate, among others. Many depictions of the Goddess of the Wiccans are based on the Celtic Goddesses.
• Some type of Wiccans – the adherents of Dianic Wicca – worships the Goddess alone, and do not acknowledge any God. Though they are very similar to the traditional Wicca, they differ in a very large extent in their beliefs.
• Discordianism – This religion is based on chaos and disharmony, as opposed to the principles of harmony, as espoused by most religions of the world. The venerated deity of Discordianism is Eris – the ancient Greek Goddess of discord, or Discordia of the ancient Romans. The Discordian religion is a very modern religion, which was started in the 1950s by Gregory Hill and Kerry Thornley.
The Goddess Eris is described as a quick-tempered female deity who spreads chaos and discord. Discord, according to the adherents of Discordianism, is fundamental to life and creativity. This description of Eris is, of course, open to individual interpretation.
In many of the ancient Pagan mythologies of Europe, the Goddess figure is actually a set of three Goddesses, such as:
• The Greek Erinyes (Furies), as recognized by Virgil, were Alecto – unceasing, Megaera - grudging, and Tisiphone - avenging murder.
• The Greek Moirae (Fates) were Clotho – the spinner, who spun the thread of life; Lachesis – the allotter, who measured the thread of life; and Atropos – the inevitable, who cut the thread of life.
• The Norse Norns (Fates) were Urd (the past), Verdandi (the being) and Skuld, also known as Valkyrie (what is to come).