Tag Archives: goddess

I held my breath at the marvelous beauty of this creature from Soror, who revealed herself to us dripping with spray, illuminated by the blood-red beams of Betelgeuse. It was a woman—a young girl, rather, unless it was a goddess. She boldly asserted her femininity in the light of this monstrous sun, completely naked and without any ornament other than her hair, which hung down to her shoulders.

Pierre Boulle, Planet of the Apes

The Hebrew Goddess

The Hebrew Goddess by Raphael Patai, foreword by Merlin Stone, the 1990 3rd and enlarged paperback from Wayne State University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Raphael Patai Merlin Stone The Hebrew Goddess from Wayne State University Press

The Hebrew Goddess demonstrates that the Jewish religion, far from being pure monotheism, contained from earliest times strong polytheistic elements, chief of which was the cult of the mother goddess. Lucidly written and richly illustrated, this third edition contains new chapters on the Shekhina.” — back cover


Living Gnosticism

Living Gnosticism: An Ancient Way of Knowing by Jordan Stratford, the 2007 paperback from Apocryphile Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Jordan Stratford Living Gnosticism from Apocryphile

“Twenty two centuries ago in Alexandria, a sect of philosopher-poets fashioned a myth the strands of which weave through Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Greek philosophy, and inspired the legends of the Holy Grail. Long banished to the realm of notorious heresy, the myths of the Gnostics (‘knowers‘) took root in the fertile imagination of the nineteenth century’s artistic movements and esoteric circles, bearing fruit in the daily spiritual practice of thousands today. In 1945, a library of Gnostic writings surfaced from the Egyptian desert, allowing the movement—after 1500 years of propaganda and slander—to speak with its own voice. Rich in imagery, nostalgic in tone, Gnosticism quietly restores Wisdom to her place as Goddess in Western religion, reveres Eve as the first saint, and acknowledges Mary Magdalene as foremost of the Apostles.” — back cover


The Homeric Hymn to Demeter

The Homeric Hymn to Demeter: Translation, Commentary, and Interpretative Essays, edited by Helene P Foley, 3rd printing of the 1994 paperback published by Princeton University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Helene P Foley The Homeric Hymn to Demeter from Princeton University Press

“The Homeric Hymn to Demeter, composed in the late seventh or early sixth century B.C.E., is a key to understanding the psychological and religious world of ancient Greek women. The poem tells how Hades, lord of the underworld, abducted the goddess Persephone and how her grieving mother, Demeter, the goddess of grain, forced the gods to allow Persephone to return to her for part of each year. Helene Foley presents the Greek text and an annotated translation of the Hymn, together with selected essays by Helene Foley, Mary Louise Lord, Jean Rudhardt, Nancy Felson-Rubin and Harriet M. Deal, Marilyn Arthur Katz, and Nancy Chodorow. These essays give the reader a rich understanding of the Hymn’s structure and artistry, its role in the religious life of the ancient world, and its meaning for the modern world. The authors also study the Hymn in the context of early Greek epic and cosmology, examine its critical attitude to the institution of marriage, and analyze the dynamics of mother-daughter relations in the poem.” — back cover

Romancing the Goddess

Romancing the Goddess: Three Middle English Romances about Women by Marijane Osborn, a 1998 paperback from University of Illinois Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Marijane Osborn Romancing the Goddess from University of Illinois Press

“Take three exciting medieval romances, translate them—two for the first time—into modern English verse, and you’ll have only part of Marijane Osborn’s Romancing the Goddess.

Osborn introduces and translates the three tales, all dealing with women cast adrift upon the northern and Mediterranean seas, then shows how the stories forge a hitherto missing link with worship of a savior goddess in the distant past.

Arguing that the idea of the woman cast adrift can be traced to an ancient Mediterranean legend connecting aspects of the Virgin Mary and Isis as ‘sea goddesses’—protectors of those at sea—Osborn then explores the image and idea of ‘the Goddess.’ The romances and the author’s discussion of that ever-popular female figure will interest feminists, women readers generally, medievalists, historians of religion, and the many others interested in the mysterious figure we call ‘the Goddess.'” — back cover

I.NSIT N.ATURAE R.EGINA I.SIS

ALL the hot summer I lay in the darkness,

Calling on the winds to pass by me and slay me,

Slay me with light in the heat of the summer;

But the winds had no answer for one who was fallen

Asleep by the wayside, with no lyre to charm them,

No voice of the lyre, and no song to charm them.

 

Late as I lay there asleep by the wayside,

I heard a voice call to me, low in the silence,

There in the darkness the summer called to me:

“thou who art hidden in the green silence,

Let a time of quietness come now upon thee.

Lay thine head on the earth and slumber on her bosom:

Time and the gods shall pass darkling before thee.”

There in the silence I lay, and I heeded

The slow voice that called me, the grave hand that beckoned,

That beckoned me on through the hall of the silence.

 

There in the silence there was a green goddess,

Folden her wings, and her hands dumbly folden,

Laying in her lay, as though asleep in the darkness.

 

Then did I hail her: “O mother, my mother,

Syren of the silence, dumb voice of the darkness,

How shall I have speech of Thee, who know not Thy speaking?

How shall I behold Thee, who art hidden in the darkness?

Lo! I bend mine eyes before Thee, and no sign dost Thou vouchsafe me;

I whisper love-words before Thee, and I know not if Thou hear me,

Thou who art the darling of the Night and of the Silence;

Yellow art Thou as the sunlight through the corn-fields,

Bright as the sun-dawn on the snow-clad mountains,

Slow as the voice of the great green gliding River.

Calmly in Thy silence am I come to rest me,

Now from the world the light hath slowly faded;

I have left the groves of Pan that I might gaze upon Thee,

Gaze upon the Virgin that before Time was begotten,

Mother of Chronos, and the old gods before him,

Child of the womb of the Silence, whose father

Is the unknown breath of the most secret Goddess,

Whose name whoso hath heard is smitten to madness.

 

“Now do I come before Thee in Thy temple,

With offerings from the oak-woods and the breath of the water

That girds the earth with a girdle of green starlight;

And all the austerity of the brooding summer,

And all the wonder of the starlit spaces

That stare down awesomely upon the lonely marshes,

And the bogs with sucking lips, and the pools that charm the wanderer

Till he forgets the world, and rushes to sleep upon them.”

 

And still there was silence, and the voice of the world swept by me,

Making in mine ears the noise of tumbling waters;

But two voices I heard, and they spake one to the other:

“Who stands with downcast eyes in the temple of our Lady?”

And the answer: “A wanderer from the world who hath sought the halls of silence;

Yet knoweth he not the Bride of the Darkness,

Her of the sable wings, and eyes of terrible blindness

That see through the worlds and find nothing and nothing,

Who would smite the worlds to peace, save that so she would perish,

And cannot, for that she is a goddess silent and immortal,

Utterly immortal in the gods’ eternal darkness.”

 

And the first voice cried: “Oh, that we might perish,

And become as pearls of blackness on the breast of the silence,

Lending the waste places of the world our darkness,

That the vision might burst in the brain of the seer,

And we be formed anew, and reborn in the light world.”

 

But the other voice was silent, and the noise of waters swept me

Back into the world, and I lay asleep on a hill-side.

Bearing for evermore the heart of a goddess,

And the brain of a man, and the wings of the morning

Clipped by the shears of the silence; so must I wander lonely,

Nor know of the light till I enter into the darkness.

 

OMNIA VINCAM (Victor B Neuburg), Equinox I iv

(Obtained in invocation, June 9–10, 1910 O.S.)

 

The Hermetic Library arts and letters pool is a project to publish poetry, prose and art that is inspired by or manifests the Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to submit your work for consideration as part of the Arts and Letters pool, contact the librarian.