The Goddess

greyboi's picture

Recently I saw and eventually purchased the video "The Mists of Avalon", based on the book by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It has given me a unique perspective on Arthurian legend, history, feminism, and religion in general.

As a progressive Christian, I am more open to other beliefs and practices, including paganism. I have a friend who is a Wiccan and another who is a Celtic pagan. I find their discussions thought provoking.

I also spoke with a Native American spiritual leader on environmentalism and ecology. He touched on many things that I agreed with. One of the interesting things that he brought up was the way we look a darkness.

Darkness has traditionally been associated with evil. Christianity has used it as a metaphor for death and despair, chaos and destruction. However, I found that many fertility religions view darkness as being just an ordinary part of life.

Afterall, why do we fear the dark? When a child is born, what state is that child in? When we close our eyes to rest or meditate, what do we see? When we the sun sets, what blankets the Earth with coolness. Darkness might not be all that bad, if we view it in these terms. I think that it's been associated with the feminine aspect of divinity, and that is why we have come to fear it. I think it may have a lot to do with historical sexism and the reign of the patriarchy.

Well, I've been reading up on Medieval religions and I notice that if paganism had its way in Europe and Shamanism had its way in America (before the European setters arrived), the world might be a friendlier place.

This is not to disgrace the idea of a male deity. I've found that sometimes I identify with both, depending on my state of being.

But, well, I'm rambling now...

Just a though :-P

-- Grey

linds's picture

MZB movie/book

Do yourself a favor and read the book, because it's so much more complex and rich than the movie...

To the rest of your discussion: the darkened depths are very feminine, or can be read that way, and Christianity is a patriarchal tradition (and, I'd argue, afraid of that feminine darkness). Goddess religions rule! :-)

~Linds

-----
Special Envoy to Tea-Drinking Nations for The Movement To Free Oompa Loompa Land From The Tyrannical Rule Of The Evil Capitalistic Despot Willy Wonka And Associates~

Luke's picture

Well...

It's arguable that Christianity is afraid of feminity, but not entirely true. Actually, most of the pre-christian goddess worship was absorbed into the figure of Mary. First, she is the mother of a god, which figures HUGELY in most mediteranian religions. Second, the common drawing of Maddonna and child was blatantly ripped off from Egyptian drawings of Isis and Set. Finally, Mary is far and away the most powerful, relatable religious figure (at least in Catholicism). She is seen as the intermediary, and basically the ultimate mother figure who actually cares about humanity on a personal level. She is seen as the one who really watches out for people, and the one to pray to. If you don't see the connection with the Mother Goddess, then thats just silly. No worries:)
-Luke
The Head of Security for the Movement to Free Oompa Loompa Land from the Tyrannical Capitalistic Despot Willy Wonka

linds's picture

heh.

I wasn't being particularly well-reasoned in my answer... I just find Goddess traditions appealing and Christianity rather abhorrent (note: *just* my opinion folks!). So I jumped into my SeventiesFeminist!Linds mode for a sec. :-) You are, of course, absolutely correct.

~Linds

-----
Special Envoy to Tea-Drinking Nations for The Movement To Free Oompa Loompa Land From The Tyrannical Rule Of The Evil Capitalistic Despot Willy Wonka And Associates

Luke's picture

I agree with Linds

Pre-Christian religions are really neat, but I'm a fan of Eastern religions. After a long theological search, I finally settled on Taoism, which is outrageously cool, with very little that can be used to propagate ignorance. Yay stuff! Plus, the triple goddess is by far my favorite anthropomorphic deity, and it encompasses the best of a deity based religion. NO worries:)
-Luke
The Head of Security for the Movement to Free Oompa Loompa Land from the Tyrannical Capitalistic Despot Willy Wonka

suffragettecity's picture

Gnostics

I'm not religous, but I've always been kind of fascinated with Gnostic Christianity, which was the precursor to Catholicism in Europe and the Middle East. The early Irish monks (like St. Brendan, the one who travelled to North America in the 5th Century AD) were Gnostic, as were most other early Christians. From what I gather, Gnosticism, which was based in Alexandria, was a much more tolerant and egalitarian form of Christianity than Catholicism.

I don't think it's Christianity that screwed up Europe and the rest of the world, but the organized form thereof.