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Goddess Mythology in a Concept of Nature


Even though goddess mythology was replaced with male-centered religions a long time ago by a single group of people (Conkey and Tringham 211), its elements can still be found among modern concepts and realities. The moon symbolism and its relation to the cycle of life is a completely different level of spirituality perception. The role model of Goddess may help women embrace their power and be proud of who they are.

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Reasons for Studying Goddess Mythology

One of the most convincing ideas behind studying goddess mythology is that it helps to set the base for a political movement targeted at saving nature. In Abrahamic religions, humans stand aside from the rest of the living beings as the God’s creation and His resemblance. Patriarchal God has put a man into an existing world, where plants and animals are merely commodities, designed for satisfying various needs.

On the other hand, goddess mythology views people as an essential and equal part of the whole world of nature. Being a part of it means “to be born into a world lit by an invisible radiance, ensured by Divine Presence” (Harvey and Baring 7). Today, when the ecological situation is rapidly getting worse, restoring the balance between humans and nature as it was in the times of Goddess is crucial for saving the planet.

The second important idea is that goddess mythology gives an opportunity for all modern women to realize their strength and look up to the ancient role models. Even in the most progressive communities, girls are often not taken seriously in a culture dominated by men (Flinders 41). It is crucial to change the existing unspoken rules and to make women embrace their feminine power by looking up to the mythical role models of the past.

Finally, the third idea is highlighting the mother-daughter bond and praising love and friendship between women in general. For instance, Christianity speaks about relations of fathers and mothers to their sons, but not daughters (Christ 300). Raising the importance of female bonds in a male-centered culture is essential for eliminating the current public misconception that friendship between women cannot exist in a way that it shows among men.

The Moon and Its Significance

In goddess mythology, the moon has a central place as a metaphor for life and death. The moon symbolizes both constancy and change and serves as an instrument of orienting in time while underlining the return to a beginning point (Baring and Cashford 21). Every living thing in nature has a life cycle that ends with death and a following rebirth, like plants grow back after a long winter.

Women appear to be the bearers of the first scientific approach to describing the natural processes. The cycles of the moon helped them in forming an understanding of time as a set of periods that have a beginning and an end and that gradually change each other. Nowadays, the temporal significance of the moon is rooted in European languages, being a part of such words as “months” and “measurement.”

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The perception of the moon symbolism in goddess mythology has experienced a change as the Goddess’s roles differentiated. In Upper Paleolith, a unity of the moon and a woman was seen as a social and biological life cycle of the latter, transforming from maid to mother and then to crone. The Neolith era was marked by the transition from hunting to farming, and the four phases of the moon became a symbol of the Goddess’s fertility and agricultural seasons.

Goddess and Animals

In ancient times, people believed that every living creature belongs to a single family born by Goddess and being a part of Her. Killing an animal for food was perceived as murdering a brother, and paintings in caves were a way of propriating it, returning a creature to its mother’s womb. This approach varies strongly from the modern attitude of using nature’s resources for human well-being.

The Goddess’s presence was seen in certain physical characteristics of some animals or their way of moving, feeding, and other aspects of lifestyle. For instance, a bull was among the number of sacred animals as its horns and head were the metaphor for the fallopian tubes and a womb (Gimbutas 265). Moreover, horns also symbolized the moon crescent which was another reflection of Goddess discussed previously in this paper.

During the Neolith era, the image of Goddess has transformed, as She has diversified to be reigning the sky, earth, and waters. A bird became another symbol for Her, since it dominates the sky as a celestial world, representing one of the three realms. There is also a link to the moon, since it serves as a connection between sky and earth, just like a bird is.

Finally, Goddess was seen in serpents due to several physical characteristics these animals bear. A serpent lives below the earth surface and belongs to the underworld, or the flowing waters according to this mythology. An ability of a serpent to slough skin is viewed as a power of rebirth which is also supported by an awakening of snakes from hibernation.


Goddess mythology offers a conception that allows viewing nature as an interconnected organism, which has a flowing life cycle of birth and death. Seeing a creator as a creation at the same time is unusual for Abrahamic religions. Following the same approach towards nature and its treasures may become a way for women to find their inner strength and solve the current ecological issues.

Works Cited

Baring, Anne, and Jules Cashford. The Myths of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image. Penguin, 1993.

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Christ, Carol P. “Why Women Need the Goddess: Phenomenological, Psychological, and Political Reflections.” A Reader in Feminist Knowledge, edited by Sneja M. Gunew, Routledge, 1991, pp. 290-302.

Conkey, Margaret W., and Russel E. Tringham. “Archaeology and the Goddess: Exploring the Contours of Feminist Archaeology.” Feminisms in the Academy, edited by Domna C. Stanton and Abigail J. Stuart, University of Michigan, 1995, pp. 199-247.

Flinders, Carol Lee. At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst. HarperCollins, 1998.

Gimbutas, Maria. The Language of the Goddess. Harper and Row, 1989.

Harvey, Andrew, and Anne Baring, editors. The Divine Feminine: Exploring the Feminine Face of God Around the World. Conari Press, 1996.

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