Goddess Introduction and History
By Susan Morgaine
I am a daughter and a priestess of the Goddess.
The Goddess is the very essence of Dianic Witchcraft and worship. She is the Great Mother, representing the fertility which brings forth all of life. As Mother Nature, She is the living embodiment of Mother Earth and of the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. She has roles as both Creator and Destroyer; She is the Queen of Heaven; She is the moon, the sun, the stars. She is emotion, intuition, magic and psychic ability.
She is alive. She always has been. She has been ridiculed. She has been trivialized. She has been mocked. She has been hidden away for centuries, but make no mistake, She is still here. She is real and She has power. She is felt within every woman, acknowledged Her or not.
For the past several decades, She has been making Herself once again known to women, and to men. In a world filled with hunger, hatred, bigotry, international terrorism and war, She is needed. She is necessary to bring light back into the world. Women are re-discovering her, and in doing so, reshaping their own lives and reshaping the world. It won’t be easy and it won’t be swift, but it will be.
When you find Her, or more likely, when She finds you, you will never be the same.
The Goddess has many faces, names and aspects. Her main three aspects are as Maiden, Mother and Crone; these correlate directly with the three phases of the moon, waxing, full and waning. Recently, I have heard of some women using the term, Queen, before Crone, while that personally would not be a choice for me, it might definitely be a personal preference for someone else. Adding an additional aspect to the traditional three would then correlate to the four seasons, or, perhaps, the four main elements.
There is a term that “All Goddesses are One Goddess” and “One Goddess is All Goddesses. She is also called “The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names”.
Goddess worship dates back to the Paleolithic times. Many anthropologists speculate that the first “God” or gods, of the people, were feminine. This coincides with ancient creation myths and beliefs that Creation was achieved through self-fertilization. Within the concept of creation, the role and participation of the male principle was not yet known or recognized. The Goddess was believed to have created the universe, Herself, alone. From this belief came the agricultural religions. Evidence appears to indicate that most ancient tribes and cultures were matriarchal.
Archeological digs have found Goddess figures as far back as the Cro-Magnons of the Upper Paleolithic period between 35,000 and 10,000 BCE. In Southern France is the Venus of Laussel, which is covered in the bas-relief of a rock shelter. This appears to once have been a hunting shrine, which dates back to 19,000 BCE. The carved Venus is painted red, to suggest the sacred blood of both the Goddess and women, and she holds a crescent-shaped bison horn in one hand, which is carved with 13 lines. It is believed that the shape of the horn represents the moon and the 13 lines, counted twice would be the lunar cycle, specific to women. There are many such discoveries around the world.
I would highly recommend looking into the works of Marija Gimbutas. Her beautiful books, “The Language of the Goddess” and “The Civilization of the Goddess” bring these civilizations to life. You may wish to start with this video.
Throughout history, the Goddess has assumed many aspects, faces and names. She was seen as the creatress, virgin, mother, destroyer, warrior, huntress, homemaker, artist, wife, jurist, healer and sorceress. Her roles and abilities increased as the cultures that worshiped her advanced. The living-Queen-on-Earth, symbolized the sovereignty of the Goddess.
With all the names and faces She has worn throughout the eons, She is always associated with Nature. Although we may work with specific Goddess(es), be Her Warrior or Destroyer, I believe, that at it’s core, Goddess religion is a Nature religion. The Goddess is the life below our feet and the air we breathe. This is best described in chant:
“Earth, My Body; Water, My Blood; Air, My Breath; and Fire, My Spirit”
To learn more about individual Goddesses, I would recommend Patricia Monaghan’s “The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines” and Merlin Stone’s “Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood” to learn more about individual Goddesses and the cultures from which they come.
To have the blessing of the Goddess, one must only ask of Her. There are several versions of the Goddess self-blessing, the best, in my opinion, is in “The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries” by Z Budapest, which can be found here .
- Touch the top of your head: Bless my Mother, for I am your child
- Touch the Ajna Chakra (your third eye): Bless my mind’s eye, that I may think and see clearly
- Touch the throat: Bless my throat that I may speak truth
- Touch the heart: Bless my heart that I may love myself as well as others, to have compassion
- Touch the navel center: Bless the center of my energy, so that I am grounded in the Earth, and centered and balanced within myself
- Touch your sacral area: Bless my womb that I am creative, birthing new ideas
- Touch your feet: Bless my feet that I may walk your path
While there is a version that was adapted by Starhawk and Reclaiming, which can be found here, I will leave you with “The Charge of The Goddess”, as originally written by Doreen Valiente
The Charge Of The Goddess
Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old also called Artemis; Astarte; Diana; Melusine; Aphrodite; Cerridwen; Dana; Arianrhod; Isis; Bride; and by many other names.
Whenever ye have need of anything, once in a month, and better it be when the Moon be full, then ye shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of me, who am Queen of all Witcheries.
There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not yet won its deepest secrets: to these will I teach things that are yet unknown.
And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye are really free, ye shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise.
For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and mine also is joy on earth; for my Law is Love unto all Beings.
Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever toward it; let naught stop you or turn you aside.
For mine is the secret door which opens upon the Land of Youth; and mine is the Cup of the Wine of Life, and the Cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of Immortality.
I am the Gracious Goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart. Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, I give peace, and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before. Nor do I demand sacrifice, for behold I am the Mother of All Living, and my love is poured out upon the earth.
Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess, she in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven; whose body encircleth the Universe; I, who am the beauty of the green earth, and the white Moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters, and the heart’s desire, call unto thy soul. Arise and come unto me.
For I am the Soul of Nature, who giveth life to the universe; from me all things proceed, and unto me must all things return; and before my face, beloved of gods and mortals, thine inmost divine self shall be unfolded in the rapture of infinite joy.
Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou know this mystery: that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.
For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.