In the Beginning...Women in Myths, Legends, and Religion Series
Contrary to over a thousand years of mainstream systems, traditions, and practices, women have been a driving force in the success of the human species both in the physical and spiritual pro-generation. And contrary to the last 500 years of academic scholarship, women – more importantly the divine feminine and goddesses – have been present, vital, and central to religions, cultures, and peoples.
In this day and age, many people have a vague concept or understanding of ‘ancient’ goddesses, heard mismatch stories and legends of women who were bent on avenging, seducing, creating, and destroying all aspects of mankind. One only has to go to a museum to peruse the countless marble statues of Ancient Rome and Greece to have a tangible thread to the role that the divine feminine could have had.
I grew up borderline obsessed with mythology, by the time I reached high school I knew the entire Roman and Greek pantheon. I had grown up with both my maternal and paternal grandmothers telling me cultural stories, legends, and myths surrounding women, the divine feminine, and goddesses. I clearly remember my Nana telling me, my brother, and cousins not to play to close to open water so that La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) could not get us or to be careful to avoid black cats as those were the pets of La Brujas (Witches). I once asked my Irish grandmother if she knew anything about The Mórrígan.
She spent a whole afternoon spinning tales of how this female figure would come in the shape of a crow to foretell doom, death, and maybe if you are lucky, victory and kept my attentions peaked by asking, “have you heard the banshee wail?”
Yet, as a child I was already started to wonder where were the stories of women who were saviors, who used their magical powers for good. Why were there tales upon tales of Hercules, of Odysseus, and countless other male mythological figures and why was it always a corrupt woman to bring them harm? I found myself wondering why Circe was truly banished, why was Medusa being punished when she was the one violated? I became a parched wanderer in the Sahara desert looking for stories that spoke to what women, females, girls, heroines, and goddesses could achieve. And my thirst was only ever partially quenched.
It wasn't until college that I was able to find some sort of well. I found myself fluctuating between the Sociology and Religious Studies departments where I learned about gender constructs, patriarchy, and the blatant, willful erasure of women throughout history. And it was in college where I came face to face with the embodiments of goddesses and the divine feminine. Here I came face to face with feminist studies and more importantly to feminist religious studies. I was handled two books which were change the course of my career and life: Standing Again At Sinai by Judith Plaskow and In Memory of Her by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. When I entered graduate school, there was no turning back. I have found it one of my passions and joys in talking about, exploring, and reconstructing myths, legends, and cultures which focus on women, divine feminine, and goddesses.
It has become a mission of sorts to keep talking about the divine feminine, to tell the stories of the conquering heroine, the savior goddess, and the beauty and power of girls. So much so, that I my Master's Thesis was on the Divine Feminine and I have created college courses exploring Goddesses Across the Globe. And as we have entered another endless March due to the Covid19 Pandemic, I have taken to another platform to talk about goddesses, myths, legends, and lore. Over the next months, come along with me as we explore different cultures, myths, and scriptures in search of the divine feminine, goddesses, and women. This series will travel the world, travel through time, and delve into the well that is the human experience. Women are central to creation stories, they are tied to earth, love, fertility, danger, and death. We will look at stories that were used to encourage and to caution; stories that could have been created for a different purpose then how they were preserved like that of Lilith and Satī. Hopefully throughout the series, we will find encouragement, strength, and renewed connection towards those that come before us, those current with us, and those yet to come. The paths ahead will only be successful when all humans are able to be reflected in our stories, myths, and deities.