Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Saturday, January 15, 2011

primitive fertility cults

As early as 7000 B.C.E., worship of the Goddess was at the heart of Neolithic agricultural communities along the northern course of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in the lands now known as Iraq and Syria, and in Anatolia, now known as Turkey...

Long before the people of the Middle East worshiped and battled over a male divinity, the people of Canaan paid reverence to a goddess called Queen of Heaven. The Goddess was the divine creatrix, law giver, mother, warrior, healer, bestower of culture and agriculture... The ancient historians...described the laws of Egypt, which gave preeminence to women as rulers, wives, and citizens. These laws were rooted in the worship of the Great Goddess Au Set, whom the Greeks called Isis. She gave laws to her people just as Yahweh, the Hebrew god, gave laws to Moses for the people of Israel. She also taught the mysteries of agriculture and healing. I recalled with annoyance a professor who, in his tight little bow tie and condescending tone, demeaned this pervasive and exquisite religious history, dismissing the Goddess religions as “primitive fertility cults.”

-Phyllis Curott, from Book of Shadows

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