Humans have developed the realization
that their life was finite; that they would all die. This resulted in the
development of societies which relied mainly on
hunting by men naturally developed hunting gods to worship. Those in which
gathering was more reliable generally created vegetative goddesses. The
importance of fertility in crops, in domesticated animals, in wild animals and
in the tribe itself were of paramount importance to their survival. The female
life-giving principle was considered divine. Some goddess
statues still survive from this era.
As religions evolved, the pagan religions
were suppressed and the female principle was gradually driven out of religion.
Women were reduced to a level inferior to men. The God, King, Priest & Father
replaced the Goddess, Queen, Priestess & Mother. Jesus Christ of Nazareth
rejected the religious tradition restoring women as equals.
A feminine presence was added to
Catholicism by the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. when the virgin Mary was named
Theotokos (Mother of God). But her role was heavily restricted and
included none of the fertility component present in other pagan religions.
A renaissance of paganism, with its
worship of goddesses and gods occurred in the middle of the 20th
century with the re-emergence of Wicca (popularly called
white witchcraft, the religion of the ancient Celts) and other pagan
Most pagan traditions worship the goddess
and god in balance. However, with the rise of feminism, new pagan traditions
wicca have been created in which the goddess grew in importance, and the role of
the god shrank into obscurity. One such tradition is Dianic Wicca.
The goddess in both goddess worship and
paganism is often visualized in three aspects: Maiden, Mother and Crone. Her
aspects are mirrored in the phases of the moon: waxing, full and waning.
The Maiden represents youth, emerging
sexuality, the huntress running with her hounds.
The Mother symbolizes feminine power,
fertility, and nurturing.
The Crone is wisdom, the compassion
which comes from experience, and the one who guides us through the death
Goddesses have been called by many
names by different cultures and ages: Anat, Aphrodite, Aradia, Arianrhod,
Ceres, Demeter, Diana, Eostre, Freya,
Gaia, Hera, Ishtar, Isis,
Juno, Kali, Lilith, Ma'at, Mary, Minerva, Ostare, Persephone, Venus,