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Ancient Fertility Religions. AKA: mystery myth, paganism, neo-paganism, Goddess religions. Where it comes from?. Pre-written history-no real resource material Oral tradition Comes mostly from archeology, passages Proceed any PATRARCHIAL religions Matriarchal.

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ancient fertility religions

Ancient Fertility Religions

AKA: mystery myth, paganism, neo-paganism, Goddess religions

where it comes from
Where it comes from?
  • Pre-written history-no real resource material
  • Oral tradition
  • Comes mostly from archeology, passages
  • Proceed any PATRARCHIAL religions
  • Matriarchal

Cyclical nature of the religion: moon, water, woman’s monthly cycle, reincarnation

The Circle of Life

goddesses from other cultures
Goddesses from other cultures
  • Ishtar- Mesopotamia
  • Great goddess even in the Bible: Eve, Mary, Mary Magdalene
  • Isis from Egypt
pattern to the great goddesses story
Pattern to the great goddesses story
  • Morns a loss (dying god archetypal pattern)
  • Searches for a loved one
  • Brings about a form of resurrection
  • Return of the God
  • Establishes new practices/belief system for followers
  • Marriage of the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental
  • Immortality of the soul (reincarnation)
  • Life and sexuality
  • Nature and the natural world
more rituals
More rituals
  • Fertility in the natural world “frolicking in the daisies”
  • Summer solstice
woman is sacred
Woman is sacred
  • Only through communion with the goddess can a man “see god”
  • Sex was a religious experience
  • Holy women in temples: temple prostitutes
  • Women viewed as virgins, mother or prostitutes
fertility symbols
Fertility Symbols
  • Moon (maid,matron, crone)= (new moon, full moon, crescent)
  • Bull horns-male symbol
  • Snake: wisdom, bringer of knowledge, shed his skin-renewal
  • Coil
  • Butterfly- metamorphous
  • Bee- triumphs over death, reincarnation, hibernation
so what happened
So what happened?
  • Indo-Europeans come down from the north with patri-lineal gods and beliefs
  • Subvert all that is positive about the goddess
  • Bull horns turned into devil horns, women are seen as temptresses
  • Women’s sexuality is subverted
  • The oracle at Delphi-Apollo kills the snake and makes the oracle his own
  • Society moves from matrilineal heritage to patrilineal
hold overs
Hold overs:
  • Pagan- pagus- place- locality
  • Christmas season- winter solstice
  • Spring equinox- Easter
  • Halloween- harvest
  • May day- Beltane
where can we find examples of the goddess religions
Where can we find examples of the Goddess Religions?
  • Firebrand and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
  • Clan of the Cave Bear