Dark Goddess  

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Dark Goddess Image
"The essential qualities of the dark moon are change and transformation. Today we are afraid of many of the dark moon [and Dark Goddess] teachings, such as alchemy, astrology, and other spiritual or psychological disciplines, which reveal information about the unconscious or subtle dimensions of being. The Bible has told us that they are evil and contrary to the will of God. Educators tell us they cannot be validated by scientific inquiry and its practitioners are labeled quacks. Yet it is these teachings, based on the timing of cyclical patterns that give us the guidance that enables us to pass thru the dark nonphysical dimensions of being - of death and rebirth, endings and new beginnings, or spontaneous healings - with clarity and confidence instead of panic and terror. Philosophical traditions have repeatedly told us that the answers tot he ultimate questions of life and death are found, not in the external world, but deep within the dark recesses of our own minds." (Demetra George, "Mysteries of the Dark Moon," page 51-52.)

In the psychology of humanity there occurred a polarization between the male gods who came from above, bearers of the light, [the lightning and solar Gods of the nomadic invader- Aryans, Kurgans, Semites and Dorians, who came from the steppes of northern Europe, where "big sky" rules over the cold, forbidding earth] and the female divinities, who dwelt in the [fertile] darkness of Earth and caves. Light was equated with good and dark with evil....

As the Goddess became distorted from an image of the compassionate mother, the source and sustainer of all life, into a symbol associated with the forces of darkness and evil, women, her earthly manifestations, were likewise considered impure, evil, and guilty of original sin - people who must be punished. Women who had sexual relations outside of the patriarchal monogamous marriage contract threatened the certainty of patriarchal bloodline transmission, and were ostracized and killed; their illegitimate children deprived of all legal rights and social acceptance." (George, 38)

The demise of the goddess and the rise of the gods can also be understood in terms of the changes that were occurring in the human brain during the period of transition. Princeton University professor Julian Jaynes, in his controversial study of human consciousness, suggests that ancient people did not "think" as we do today.

People were 'bicameral,' directed by voices emanating from the right side of the brain and apprehended by the left side - voices that they treated as divine and obeyed unquestioningly until a series of natural disasters and the growing complexity of their society forced them to become [what we might call] conscious (around 1500 BCE).

The cosmology that developed during the reign of the Goddess arose from the kinds of thought processes that originate primarily out of the right brain. The right brain is feminine in polarity, circular in motion, intuitive in nature, and audial in emphasis. The right brain is relational and unifying; it focuses on a holistic view of how things are similar and interconnected....It sees time as cyclical. Humanity then worshipped a feminine lunar deity who circled and ever-renewed Herself. She illumined the mystery where the end and beginning are the same point, touching back-to-back. Peoples thus understood death and sex as precursors to rebirth. And they did not fear the darkness of death, the ecstasy of sexuality, or the Goddesses and Her priestesses, who facilitated their transition between lifetimes.

While Jaynes does not discuss the changeover from the Goddesses to the Gods, he does document the catastrophes and cataclysms that started to occur in the middle of the second millennium BCE. In Addition to the volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, and massive flooding, he sees widespread warfare and dislocation that [has been previously identified as] the patriarchal invasions. Jaynes suggests that the rational, logical, analytical mind, all functions of the left brain, was developed in order to assist humanity thru the increasing complexity of their changing world. He presents evidence that the left-brain functions became more active at this time and grew to influence the ways in which individuals perceived reality.

The left brain is masculine in polarity, linear in movement, logical in nature, and visual in perception. It has been most prevalent in the analytical, technological and scientific intellectualism of modern times. While the right brain focuses on how things are alike, THE LEFT BRAIN EMPHASIZES HOW THEY ARE DIFFERENT[!]. It develops our capacity for analysis and discrimination, and in the process it perceives a distinction between subject and object. This kind of dualistic view sees a separation between self and others, between us and them, and this perception inevitably leads to a war of opposites that yields an oppressor and victim...After 1500 BCE, when human beings began to operate primarily from the left brain, associated with the masculine principle, they began to see a distinction between themselves and the rest of creation. Because they now feared the threat of being overwhelmed by external forces as something separate from themselves, there arose a desire to conquer the feminine principle, embodied in the Goddess, women, and nature, rather than to live in harmony with it. (George, pp 40-44)

"While the religion of the Goddess always included a concept of the Underworld, it was not a place of punishment. It was simply the gap between lifetimes, the dark womb of the Goddess, where one went to be purified, healed, and prepared for rebirth. It is the patriarchal monotheistic religions, operating out of left-brain mentality, that conceived of a heaven and hell, with the he corresponding associations of good and evil, reward and punishment. And the hell of this wrathful Father God was filled with unending sadistic torture and pervasive suffering. Humanity then began to fear the darkness of death. Those who, during their lives, were not saved by a religious conversion to the Father faced a death of eternal torture and absolute finality. Their terror extended to the Dark Goddess of the Dark Moon, who was now only the death-bringer and no longer the renewer. When the Goddess became separated from her role in cyclical renewal, her third dark aspect became the horrifying image of feminine evil who seduced, devoured, and brought finality to the lives of human beings. The dark aspect of the goddess was then hated, persecuted, suppressed, and cast out into the predawn of history and into the depths of the unconscious....

Today the Dark Goddess, as the third aspect of the ancient Triple Goddess, represents many of the rejected aspects of the trinity of feminine wholeness.
the teachings of the Dark Goddess of the Dark Moon are concerned with divination, magic, healing, sacred sexuality, the nonphysical dimensions of being, and the mysteries of birth, death, and regeneration. These dark moon teachings, now called pseudo-sciences, have been rejected as legitimate areas of inquiry by modern religious and educational institutions....

The shadow, according to Junian psychology, is the dark, rejected part of the psyche. It consists of all those qualities that we, as influenced by the values of our culture, do not feel are desirable or acceptable to express as part of our personalities. The shadow contains what we do not like about ourselves, what we find threatening, shameful, and inadequate, as well as certain valued and positive qualities that we are pressured to repress and disown...

The inherent nature of the original Dark Goddess, who brought both death and rebirth, has been repressed and denied for thousands of years. Her toxic releases, festering in exile, have distorted and poisoned our perceptions of an intrinsic aspect of the feminine nature. the Dark Goddess was then conceptualized as malefic, and her teachings concerning the dark, sex, and death were distorted. Our mythical literature abounds with images of the Dark Goddess as feminine evil. She was feared as the Fates who, at the moment of our birth, determine the time of our death...as Nemesis, the Goddess of Judgment and swift retribution; as the Furies, who will hound a man to madness and death..medea, who killed her children; Circe, who transformed men into pigs; Medusa, who turned them to stone; the Lamia, who sucked their blood; Lilith, who seduced them in order to breed demons; and Hekate, Queen of the Witches, who snatched them into the Underworld." (Ibid, 43-44). In popular culture, there is no better representation of the Dark Goddess than the Alien mother who fought Sigourney Weaver. Our fear, rage and disgust over the Dark Goddess can be seen in our severe reactions to women who do NOT behave as the loving, nurturing mothers we expect/ want them to be.

The Dark Goddess is no lightweight. She promises trouble, an end to form as we have know it, the death of the ego. Her mythology suggests that she is venomous, wrathful, outraged, awake and on fire. She is impersonal, yet she erupts form deep within the human psyche with unexpected passion and rage. She is transformation in the extreme, and her power is regenerative and healing. Like a trickster, she frees us from the trappings that bind us to your tiny personal worlds; like a knife she cuts away all that is inessential and untruthful. She shatters structure, disintegrates the personality, destroys form. She liberates and saves, heals and frees.

There is an inherent problem with the reappearance of the Dark Goddess in the world today, and more personally in women's individual lives. When she was repressed, and her priestesses disempowered, she was also "demonized" by the new ruling elite. What had always belonged to Her was the power to interpret and carry out "natural law" in individual and community lives. The powers of life and death were hers, and we humans approached her with awe and respect. When female roles were replaced by male priests and shamans and temples became places where rules and regulations were made and held as 'commandments', the Dark Goddess was maligned and made evil.

Women carry this malignant definition of female power in our cells today. When the Dark Goddess begins to erupt in us, instead of rage at the wrongs that have been done, many women feel guilty and ashamed, as if something 'demonic' were awakening within them. What is this terrible force that makes a woman scream at her lover, rage at the authorities, and rail at God? When the Dark Goddess enters into the lives of even the most 'ordinary' women, She turns them into troublemakers. Certainly the world around us defines Her presence as demonic and destructive. Little old ladies march for abortion; mothers and housewives leave the fold and take up with 'uppity' women; women of all ages and types stop being 'nice'. If ever there was a revolutionary deity, the Dark Goddess is it!

I love the Dark Goddess – worship her, pledge allegiance to the changes She would bring in my life and others – yet when She visits my life, I feel as if I am in an earthquake, a volcano, a tidal wave of terrible proportions. And through Her visitations come the ability to "feel" – on a visceral level, in the body – the creative power and expression of the earth itself. As She says "NO!" to what was; and "YES!" to what isn't quite yet, She forces us to jump the inevitable gap between the past and the future.

Transformation always involves a death of the old, a moment of total, unknown viodness when we are naturally afraid, and a breathless leap into the renewal when we are "reborn". It is imperative that we surrender to the death and let go into the unknown before we can experience and appreciate the rebirth. It is this amazing doorway between death and rebirth that the Dark Goddess guards.

Ask someone to give a description of the personality type s/he finds most offensive, irritating, and impossible to get along with, and s/he will produce a description of his/her own repressed shadow!

"Jungian psychology tells us that in order to heal the wounds and suffering caused by denying and rejecting specs of our wholeness, we must first enter into our unconscious and develop a relationship with our shadow. It is necessary to recognize that all of these hated and ostracized parts of ourselves have a legitimate need to exist and be expressed. If we can affirm the full range of our essential human nature, acknowledging both the desirable and undesirable qualities, then we have the option to transform the more problematical energies that cause our pain and suffering into constructive activity that will benefit our lives and relationships....

We need to go into our darkness and make our peace with all the lost parts of ourselves in order to redeem the healing and renewal that reside in the dark...

The hero or heroine's journey into the underworld to reclaim the stolen treasure from the monster is not an easy quest, and is fraught with many dangers....As we move toward accepting the wholeness of our beings, we will inevitably have to revise our fears of the dark....

And so we must invoke and praise the Dark Goddess, who has been banished to the neglected corners of our psyches. Her ultimate function is to facilitate the transformation that occurs in t he dark. She provokes the death of our ego selves, of our old forms, and of our false assumptions, so that we can give birth to the new....Our personal healing experiences then become the training ground for the compassion that permeates our potentialities as a wounded healer.
The mystery of the Dark Moon Goddess is that death and birth are the twin faces of her cosmic orgasm with the Sun God each month at the new moon conjunction.
Fulfilled in love, she then circles, ever turning around the earth, and sends forth a shower of blessings with the knowledge that there is no annihilation."
(Ibid 55-58)

by Vicki Noble, from Woman of Power Magazine

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This entry was posted on 13 September 2009 at Sunday, September 13, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .