Main CategoriesMythology and ArchetypesGods, Goddesses and Archetypes Myth of the Goddess, The

Myth of the Goddess, The

Product no.: 0-14-019292-1
In this scholarly study the authors draw upon poetry and mythology, art and literature, archaeology and psychology to show how the myth of the goddess has been lost.

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Publisher's Synopsis

This encyclopedic and easily comprehended work, whose range extends from the Paleolithic Age to the present-day Gaia Hypothesis, is a grand synthesis of art, mythology, literature, and psychology.


"The authors of this ground-breaking, rich, ambitious work attempt to trace the evolution of consciousness by following humanity's changing attitudes toward female deities, from the Paleolithic mother goddess enshrined in figurines to Inanna of Sumer, Isis of Egypt, Aphrodite of Greece and beyond.

Baring, a London-based Jungian analyst, and Cashford, who writes on mythology, regard the formal disappearance of goddess myths as a pivotal event signaling the devaluation of the feminine and the opposition of feeling to thinking. They interpret the Virgin Mary as the unrecognized mother goddess of Christianity, identify hidden images of the goddess in the Old Testament and demonstrate that a Hebrew goddess existed in various forms such as the Shekhinah, founder of the world in Kabbalism.

A wonderfully readable synthesis, this monumental study is packed wth scores of riveting illustrations. It will serve as a sourcebook for students of myth, feminists and those seeking to balance and integrate masculine and feminine components of their psyche."     ~Publishers Weekly

"The Mother Goddess, wherever she is found, is an image that inspires and focuses a perception of the universe as an organic, sacred and indivisible whole, in which humanity, the Earth and all life on Earth participate as 'her children'. Everything is woven together in one cosmic web, where all orders of manifest and unmanifest life are related, because all share in the sanctity of the original source.

However, it was evident that in our present secular age the goddess myth is nowhere to be found. Of course, in the Catholic version of Christianity, Mary, 'the Virgin', 'Queen of Heaven', is clothed in all the old goddess images - except that, significantly, she is not 'Queen of Earth'. The Earth used to have, as it were, a goddess to call her own, because the Earth and all creation were of the same substance as the Goddess. Earth was her epiphany: the divine was immanent as creation. Our mythic image of Earth has lost this dimension.

So we set out to discover what had happened to the image of the goddess, how and when it disappeared, and what were the implications of this loss. Since mythic images implicitly govern a culture, what did this tell us about a particular culture - such as our own - that either did not have or did not acknowledge a mythic image of the feminine principle? It began to seem no coincidence that ours is the age above all others that has desacralized Nature: generally speaking, the Earth is no longer instinctively experienced as a living being as in earlier times, or so it would seem from the evidence of pollution (itself a term that originally meant the profaning of what was sacred). And now is also the time when the whole body of the Earth is threatened in a way unique to the history of the planet."

Author Baring, Anne
Coauthor Cashford, Jules
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 782 pp.
Publisher Penguin Books 1993
Browse these categories as well: Gods, Goddesses and Archetypes, Primitive and Derivative Religions, The Matriarchy and Woman's Spirituality

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