What form does the Goddess have?

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by brian, Apr 18, 2003.

  1. brian

    brian Administrator Admin

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    Well, for a start I'm not implying that Divinity - "the Goddess" - has an objective human form, that prances around the stars and through the galaxies with nothnig much to do. ;)

    But I am curious as to what form the Goddess takes for people here. I'm thinking particularly on Hecate, the well-rounded Earth Mother aspect of neolithic finds, and curious as to how personal romanticism takes form with it.

    Basically, what does the Goddess look like to any of the neo-pagans present?
     
  2. Talia

    Talia New Member

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    The Goddess is like a magic mirror, where we see only the image that suits us best.
     
  3. Elizabeth May

    Elizabeth May New Member

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    We see what we want to see, no matter the real reflection. What we see is formed from our own prejudices.
     
  4. WHKeith

    WHKeith New Member

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    I suppose I could wax lyrical (and Lyrical wouldn't like that one bit!) about mother/Goddess archetypes and such, but that's fit meat only for the left sides of our brains. No feeling, not emotion, no power, and no point, really.

    At the risk of sounding obscenely cliched, I would have to say that, for me, the defining aspect of the Goddess is deep, transcendent, all-inclusive, absolute and forgiving love. This would be the love of a mother for her children, the love of the Creatrix for her creation. The kind of deep, abiding, totally accepting and non-judgemental love that too many fundamentalist Christians have forgotten, overlooked, or taken for granted as they declare their vengeful, fire-and-brimstone Calvinist God.

    A very, very few times in my life, while in a deep meditative state, I've felt that love, coming from nowhere and everywhere, unbidden, complete, and truly awe-inspiring. This is perhaps the single experience that can convince a die-hard atheist of the objective reality of deistic phenomenon, and yet it is completly subjective, and cannot be adequately described. It must be personally FELT.

    My transition from atheist to Wiccan occured in the grip of such an experience. I still refer to it as my "epiphiwiccany."
     
  5. brian

    brian Administrator Admin

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    I see someone has a superb eye for terrible puns. :)

    On the whole Divinity issue - I presonally shy very much away from any form of anthropomorphic form. Divinity as genderless. It's simply because the form of Divinity I've touched upon in the past has been so uttler beyond human, so utterly beyond everything physical - beyond understanding, beyond comprehension - that I simply can't make the association with human characteristics.

    Before anything imagines that I'm claiming a more objective viewpoint - actually, I guess it's the more emotionless approach - which perhaps is a reflection of myself. I still haven't figured out the "rules" for having a personal relationship with Divinity.

    By that I mean the question of "Does Divinity care about the individual?" I guess intuitively I would think the answer is "yes" - that I've simply approached the issue from a difficult angle. But that hasn't settled into any coherent conscious sense as yet.

    Partly it's because I take cues from Nature, and see that nature seems to work in terms of overall figures, rather than individual meaning. So if Nature is a reflection of Divinity, then does Divinity really play by entirely different rules?

    Actually, in posting this I figure I can see the answer - but I'll let it go for the purposes of this thread.
     
  6. Talia

    Talia New Member

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    Are you sure that Divinity is entirely genderless? If we are all part of the Goddess then the Goddess is part of all of us in whih case the Goddess has both male and female expressions. I can perfectly understand what WHKeith means about the love of the Goddess. Is it the love of a woman or mother? Its more primal and basic than that. The Goddess isnt simply everything and more.
     
  7. WHKeith

    WHKeith New Member

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    Agreed, Talia.

    Most early cultural myths have the universe start with the mating of a primeval god and goddess--most often with an Earth goddess receiving a sky god. Some tales look back further than that, to a single deity who divides itself into male and female components, and THOSE mate to produce creation.

    On an anthropological level, this is usually seen as a metaphor for the bountiful Earth being inseminated by the sky (rain) and bringing forth life. Myths are understood now, though, not as poorly-remembered history or as the stories made up by primitives to "explain" scientific fact, but as stories that reveal deeper truths and archtypical meaning in life. I, personally, like the idea of male and female being inherent in all of creation, expressing themselves through infinite variety and diversity.

    Whether divinity seems best as male or female is likely entirely up to you; what do you relate best to? And what you are comfortable with will have a lot to do with how well you related to your mother and father, to the God presented in church when you were growing up, and to the attitudes and prejudices of the culture you live in.

    Personally, I would find a genderless deity too . . . cerebral? Too much an artificial construct, like worshipping a computer instead of a living, breathing Person who has had the experience of loving, of giving birth, or creating, of being. Personally, I tend to associate the god with the YHWH of the Bible, Someone Who is called love and loving, but Who still represents law, judgement and condemnation on some level. That, I emphasize, is for ME, the way *I* feel things, not for anyone else on these boards.

    As a Wiccan, I honor in ritual both the God and the Goddess as the male and female faces of creation. I feel closer to and work more with the Goddess energies, in large part because I feel traditional patriarchal mainstream religion has been brutally suppressive of women for at least the past 3000 years, and I find Goddess-centered worship to be incredibly and wonderfully liberating--both for women, and for those men who honor the principles of full equality between the sexes.

    Again, these are my personal feelings, a glimpse into why I do what I do, and are in no way intended to proselytize!
     
  8. ade-a-roni

    ade-a-roni New Member

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    For me, this is what the Goddess looks like when I visualize Her:
    She's usually a tallish, curvy woman who tends to vary in age depending on how I want to see Her (She usually looks somewhere between 20 and 50). She has long, slightly wavy brown hair (though the color also varies) and usually wears a long, flowy white dress. I guess I like long, flowy things. She's always smiling, even when times are rough.

    And here's what She feels like:
    She's both a mother figure and a friend to me, and she comforts me and helps me when I ask. Of course, sometimes She tells me I can do something without Her help, and She sits back and lets me figure it out. She's very loving and never scolds me when I do something wrong, and She always accepts me for who I am. She's also very good at healing. I feel Her presence with me all the time, particularly when I go outside and walk in the woods, gaze at the moon, see a doe and her fawns, cuddle one of my cats, etc.

    And then there's the matter of my alter ego/story character Annie the Goddess of Bad Weather. She looks like a little girl with overalls and pigtails, though she's actually a young woman. She's mischievous and silly, and she loves flying through thunderstorms and pretending to be human.
     
  9. Elizabeth May

    Elizabeth May New Member

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    Flying through thunderstorms sounds like great fun!
     
  10. Blue Heron

    Blue Heron Gaurds the Gate

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    For me...the Goddess and God coexist. I know many of the new age sects tend more toward Goddess worship, but for me I need both aspects.

    Also you might see her as the maid, mother, and crone through out the ritual year. You can get the God as the greenman, oak king, and holly king. Again maintaining a balance in form with the aspects of the Goddess.

     
  11. Aisling

    Aisling New Member

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    The only times I've ever really "seen" the Goddess have been in dreams. The first dream I had of her, I was kneeling in front of a liquid screen, where all the letters and characters of every alphabet were floating randomly. She was there, but not in human form, almost like a disembodied voice, and was telling me which letters and characters to push on the screen to make up her name.

    I heard her voice, and the entire area was swathed in the brightest white light I've ever seen. I couldn't see anything except my hands and the screen in front of me, and I only heard her voice. It was a very intimate and loving experience, much like what Keith has described feeling when coming into contact with her.

    Another dream I had of her was much darker and had a more ghostly feel to it. She showed up in human form, as a full-figured middle-aged woman with long, straight, black hair. We stood in a room together and she pointed towards a mirror at the far wall and told me, "Cosmic forces are coming into play, and the mirrors are becoming loud. Listen to them." It was a very upsetting experience for me, because although she seemed to care a great deal about me, and desperately wanted to tell me something, the dream had a very cold feeling to it. She in fact went on to try and show me what it felt like to be dead, and I don't really want to go into that right now, because it was very upsetting and I don't like thinking about it too much.

    I think this is why I feel very drawn to Hekate, because although I feel like the Goddess is very loving and kind, I also feel the cold darkness of her other side. Hekate has been hanging around with me for about a year, and I ignored her for several months, but now I'm paying a bit more attention.
     
  12. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Hi Aisling, and welcome to comparative-religion.com!

    Interesting to see that we have a couple of mutual friends, from different sites - you came in from WiccaUK, yes? I had a quick look at your blog site - you've got some great tastes in music. :) Glad to see other people even familiar with Neil Gaiman's writings as well. :)

    Sound like fascinating dreams you're having - but you make a salient point. Many times people will ask for knowledge of certain things, but my suggestion is that many people cannot handle the "truth".

    By that I mean that "revelation" is neither an easy, nor necessarily a pleasant, experience. Sometimes I've come away from such experiences feeling like my consciousness has been stretched far beyond normal limits, and perhaps that I've learned things maybe I was not ready for.

    Ultimately, it all remains a strictly personal experience - and how we choose to use such information remains a strictly personal issue.

    You are very creative, yes?
     
  13. Aisling

    Aisling New Member

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    Yes, I am a member (and moderator) at WiccaUK! I've seen you around. ;)

    Your forums are very interesting, and I'm glad I've found them. The diversity of the membership is something I look for in internet communities.

    You've visited my journal at a very bad time! I was just sacked from my job for saying things online in the public eye about my workplace, even though I didn't supply the name of the company or any of the employees. I moved over to the journal you're reading now, and have started over, and I apologize for the abundance of self-deprecating entries. I promise I'll post something happy soon. :p

    I agree with you about consciousness expansion. I often walk away from situations like that feeling like I wasn't ready for the lesson, or not knowing what I'm supposed to do with the information. Maybe I'll find out someday, but for now I'm just left wondering what the point is. I'm sure you understand that feeling.

    You are very creative, yes?

    I like to think so! I write a lot of poetry, and lately I've been feeling something brewing within me that I will probably be expressing on my journal sometime soon, though it might not be too coherent to most of the people who see it. My thoughts are so difficult to express.
     
  14. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Sometimes I wonder if how we deal with those experiences isn't part of our personal "test". For example, there's often an intitial excitement with new dieas, that are followed to completely irrational ends.

    Then, after a few days, it settles into a very rational construct that likely extensd - even overwhelms - certain previous ideas.

    Does that sound familiar?

    As for the jounral - just a quick look - and shame I missed on the cmopany info. :)

    But the creativity - I see a wider field there. You've got too much going on. Something in development for the future, I'd imagine. :)
     
  15. Aisling

    Aisling New Member

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    Qu

    Not really. There are certain patterns I've noticed in myself before, that have been directly caused by problems I've had with a certain family member, and I hadn't noticed these patterns until very recently. I'd explain it now, but it would take a long time and I'm just not up to it at the moment.

    If you could explain what you are talking about a bit more, then I'd get a better idea of what you mean. We might be thinking of two entirely different things.

    That's how I feel about it, like something that needs to happen is going to happen, and the pieces are fitting together in the meantime.
     
  16. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    The issue of "revelation" is something I'd like to open into a new thread with. Essentially, it's about dealing with new concepts, rather than just new information.

    I'll try to avoid typos this time. :)

    As for the creativity - good attitude. :)
     
  17. Phi

    Phi New Member

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    The feminine aspect of God/Goddess is not just for neopagans. Even some Christian protestant denominations have begun to explore this idea here in the states. For Catholics she is personified in Mary, (which is limited by the virgin-is-the-only-pure-woman myth of man.)
    For me, I think that the Originator of all things is not truly describable by any human. But in our efforts to comprehend we should not place the limitation of having only male characteristics, and leave out the beauty of the female creature's characteristics. To do this makes the Creator less than his creation.
    Even the male-dominated culture's Bible contains descriptions of God's love as a protective female-mother in some verses. Yet today men seem to want a God that asks "what do women want?" or worse "Egad, I have created that which I do not understand!" or even worse "Well everybody makes mistakes sometimes; at least my man was okay." (What are men thinking?:))
    For many women it is easier to envision the "goddess" in her many forms than to envision that a bearded patriarch, who seems to think his woman-creature is inferior to his man-creature, is all there is.
    Dr.Clarissa Estes' many descriptions of the ancient-female archetype may help you understand better how women (and some men) might see the "goddess." Jung posited both male and female archetypes within the psyche of both men and women. Dr. Estes uses the mythologies and stories of various cultures to explain them.
    It is little wonder that men find it hard to understand woman's need to see a feminine aspect to G-d. Our culture, even our language is saturated with male dominance. Men are indoctrinated from early childhood with the superiority of men. Unfortunately so are women.

    Perhaps someday a computer program will be created that changes every "he" to a "she" in every text where it is used to mean either, and substitutes "woman" everywhere the word "man" is used to mean humankind, so that men who will understand such things might get, at least, a tiny glimpse of the suboordination of women in our culture and our language. Maybe it should be mandatory in schools to achieve the balance that has been missing so long that it takes extraordinary means to comprehend how utterly saturated we all are in the "superior-man" doctrines.

    I hope you do understand me as not a "male-bashing feminazi," but rather a woman who has struggled for a long time to reach a bit of enlightenment in these matters, and who only hopes that future ages of humankind can achieve a balance between men and women. Our little girls should not have to grow up asking, as I did, as many women have, "Why doesn't God love me as much as he loves the boys?"
     
  18. Darkwolf

    Darkwolf Kemetic

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    While I wouldn't consider myself neo-Pagan, I do worship Goddesses (and Gods) in my religion. The Goddesses I most relate to are Nut, Hethert (Hathor) and Bast. Nut is a sky Goddess, and I most often see her as the night sky filled with stars. Energy wise she feels very big, like the vastness of space, but she is also comforting. Bast comes as a cat or cat-headed woman, sometimes as a woman with dark hair. Hethert is sometimes a cow, sometimes a beautiful woman of varying nationalities, hair colors ect. Hethert and Bast are more interactive. Sometimes they dance with me. :)
     
  19. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    That sounds very poetic, DarkWolf. :)

    May I ask if you also see these forms are parts of a greater whole, or individual and separate from Creation itself?
     
  20. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Two contributions

    One:
    Have anyone mentioned Yin and Yang. I think the thinkers behind the Yin and Yang concepts can add to this discussion. These thinkers come from a very old old civilization and the only one still extant with a continuous uninterrupted history to the present. I think Vaj should be our resource person on Yin and Yang.

    Two:
    About goddess, the nearest characters are the wife at home, if you have one, guys here, or the female lover, then your mother, or your mother first, then the rest of womenfolk at home, in your family: grandmothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, and your female neighbors. As you discuss female goddess matters, it behooves us all guys to render them homage, the females within our close circle. Serve them.

    Susma Rio Sep
     

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