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Updated on June 15, 2010

Venus of Wallendorf

Goddess -- Feminine  in Divine Form?

Consider Asher-Greve’s question: “But is a goddess no more than the feminine in divine form?” What are the implications of understanding the Goddess when we consider the goddess as a personification of human feminine gender roles? This becomes an essential theological issue for most Goddess theologians.

I can not believe that stereotypes of any sort were ingrained in human society 30,000 years ago, so I would say NO to that question. Let me just look at how I, if I were a primitive humanoid, would perceive a “God” if I’d never been exposed to this concept. In a primitive human group of individuals, each individual does what they can do well for their “society”, especially if the skill contributes to the overall wellbeing of the group.


God~Man, Woman, Neither, or Both?

A God is known for its special “attributes” and each God has a special trait. These attributes may be things like attracting prey, making plants grow, the ability to dance and have clouds appear that bring rain, an ability to protect something with just your words, or make things grow, or have a special ‘knack’ for healing illness when called upon to do so because that person just seemed to know what to do.

I was looking on the internet and found an excerpt from “Gender Through Time in the Ancient Near East” By Diane Bolger. In this book she quotes Asher-Greve (1997), stating: “Throughout the third millennium cultural gender markers are more common than anatomical sex markers; even on high-quality seals heroes fighting wild animals or monstrous creatures are rendered with as well as without a penis, and with or without a beard. The nakedness of heroes symbolizes physical rather than sexual power, and beardlessness possibly indicates youth.“

That says it all, to me. When we understand the goddess as only a personification of human feminine gender roles, it dis-empowers the Goddess to a certain degree by limiting her attribute to one perceived as “less than”, just like society was set up to perceive the female as  “less than” when compared to the male, so-to-speak.


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