Saturday, August 20, 2016

What's Duality Got to Do with It ? - Defining the Ancient Goddess


Last night, in a Facebook thread, an astrologer asked me, 'what makes you think the [ancient] Goddess was dual ?' He didn't see how the Goddess had anything to do with duality, per se. I didn't have all night, so I sent him a link to 'The Thunder: Perfect Mind' (lines from which are quoted in my previous post: The High Priestess - Tapping into Divine Feminine) and some images.
I guess it can be confusing - what's the diff between the Divine Feminine and the Goddess and the dual and triple and multi-faceted Goddess, the Feminine Principal, Moon, Gaia, Venus, etc, etc ?

As written about, previously, I think of the 'Divine Feminine' as an energy or rather, an energetic, luminous space. Once it is referred to as a 'Goddess', she becomes a personified deity. Usually, the ancient Goddesses of Mesopotamia were dual - most of the Gods/Goddesses either had their counterparts or embodied their opposite, symbolizing day and night, good and evil, love and war, life and death, physical realm and spirit realm, etc. (It's true for the male ones as well, although once monotheism became the norm, the mono was decidedly male). This was based on nature, especially Venus (aka Ishtar/Inanna), because she had a cycle each of morning and evening star, different sides of the same Goddess. Similarly, the full Moon and the new Moon.
In astrology there's the Moon and then there's her shadow, Black Moon Lilith, who is not the nurturing sort. Venus gets to be the love Goddess, but depending on whether she rises before or after the Sun, in a chart, she can have qualities of either morning or evening star - different Venusian expressions. Because she is naturally a dual Goddess, her sign, degree and aspects will also swing her personality one way or the other.  A double sign might be more likely to colour her dual, causing her affections to alternate hot and cold. I'm simplifying, but feel free to do your own research.


Isis and her funerary sister, Nephthys, preparing Osiris.
 

 
L: Ishtar with her double helix staff (one snake is poisonous, one is healing, usually), Iraq c 2000 bc.
R: 'Queen of the Night',  possibly Ishtar or her underworld sister, Ereshkigal, or a combination of the two.
(British Museum)

Then there's the Goddess in her triplicity, as the waxing, full and waning Moon (maiden, mother, crone), the 3 Graces (giving, receiving, returning), past, present, future. Think Hecate, with her three faces. The Greeks were fond of separating the deities into parts, because their dramas were akin to operatic, group therapy being cathartic and healing - so the more masks and scenarios, the better. The nine Mousai (Muses), for example, were daughters or manifestations of the Goddess, Mnemosyne, 'memory.'

Goddess Hecate in a magical plate from Anatolia (Berlin Museum).


Hindu, Tibetan and Egyptian Goddesses have seemingly infinite incarnations and it can be difficult at times to try and segregate them individually. Suffice it to say, the Goddess takes as many forms as needed. That's her wardrobe. Each archetype tailored to a specific area or purpose, be it warding off evil, funerary rites, bountiful harvest, fertility, guidance in legal matters, health, sex, childbirth, music, manifestation, plants, animals, safe travel, parking...  Each has their specific preferences, prayers and incantations, rituals, temples, Lunar mansions, colours, hours and so on.

But as an energetic, cosmic, non-form, again, the feminine is, in simplest terms, space. I don't mean outer space, (although that's included), but rather, the receptive space through which all connections are made and of which all wombs are microcosms. Thus, she self-recreates (and self-destructs) in infinite forms, the first and simplest form being as the dual Goddess. Ultimately, because women  ovulate and menstruate, we physically embody the life-bringing and life-shedding duality, so hmm...maybe that's what makes me think it so.


Snake Goddess  plaque found in Athens, possibly Demeter.

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