holesome sea-breezes, the lamentable silences of the world below. Though I am worshipped in many aspects, known by countless names, and propitiated with all manner of different rites, yet the whole round earth venerates me" .............Lucius Apuleius
Mankind is the only creature on earth that recognizes both God or the lesser divinities that we refer to as "The Gods". We make idols of them to keep them ever present in our thoughts. We build splendid Temples to them; we present to them offerings and libations, and pray to them. We recognize that the divinities are far superior to man but at the same time we possess some of their own qualities within ourselves. We can do for ourselves, providing our sustenance, environments and all the whims of our imagination but we are quick to recognize our limitations and in many areas we need help and look up to the heavens for answers. Without realizing it, man possesses immense powers. He is engendered from the fount of wonder and the fount of desire and intelligence and his most vital faculty is his imagination--- imagination in the sense that Paracelsus used the word, the faculty for reaching beyond himself, beyond his everyday life. The wise man knows that imagination has no limitation! Thought is the most powerful gift that mankind possesses! The Greek Poet Pindar stated: "God alone shall accomplish everything in accordance with his hopes; God who outsoars the eagle in its flight and overtakes the dolphin in the sea, bends the proud man to his will while to others he bequeaths imperishable glory."
Gnosis means knowledge and those who felt that they had privileged access to divine knowledge and were able to understand the true concept of God and the Great Mysteries were known as Gnostics. The Gnostics believed that in nature and the universe existed absolute wisdom and that this wisdom had female form. This is not an uncommon concept; in fact at the earliest beginnings of man's history the matriarchal goddess was well established as the all high and powerful. She was and is the creatrix whose limitless fertility brings new life; she creates but she can also destroy, she can be as much for peace as she is for war.
Before the god Apollo had established his own Temple at Delphi having migrated south from the northern realms of Hyperboria, the previous Temple there in Delphi had been home to the Mother Goddess Gaia. Today there is a revolutionary principle known as the "Gaia Hypothesis" created in 1969 by the British scientist James Lovelock which puts forth that "life shapes and controls the environment rather than the other way around. Every individual life form, from microbe to human, is involved by its own life process. Earth's atmosphere is actively maintained and regulated by life on the surface for all the species of living beings." Another way we could interpret it is that we live in 'the thought' which is God and God and all of life are one. We live in the thought of God which is why there is intelligence and order in our universe otherwise all would be chaos and all life would have been impossible on this planet. To understand the raw merciless forces that swirl about us in space, and to consider that we have survived this far in time is nothing short of an absolute miracle! We have grown complacent and routinely accustomed to our safety here on earth devoid of the miraculousness of it all. We should be saying a prayer to the Great Creator/Creatrix and all of our Gods every single day for the miracle and privilege of life that has been granted to us and quit being so arrogant and smug that our feeble little ego's expect and deserve the divine order in our world. Human life in the infinite universe is a mere flash in the pan as is our own short fleeting lives. As Vladimir Nabokov wrote: "our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness." He also referred to our existence as the cradle that rocks above the abyss.
There were so many goddesses in far distant ages that many have been totally lost or now completely unfamiliar names to the modern day times. The Golden Age of the Goddess is quite ancient and occurred in its heyday between 1800 B.C.E. and 1500 B.C.E. In Gnostic doctrine reads this passage: "The image of the invisible, the virginal perfect spirit, the aeon of the glory, Barbelo, the glory who was perfected through the aeons of glory by the revelation of the glory of the virginal spirit....This is the first thought of his image. She became the mother of the All, for she existed before them all....." The early development of the female deity, the Earth Mother, who was linked to the Moon by her own monthly cycle. She could not function, however, without the fertilizing aspect of the male, which in turn was likened to the power and warmth of the Sun. Sun and Moon together ruled over night and day and the yearly seasonal changes.
The prehistoric cults of Greece have shown that the Minoan-Mycenaean people worshipped a Goddess known by the name of "Eileithyia", the Snake Goddess----patron of the Neather Religions of Fertility, and of the domestic cult---the Dove Goddess, the Goddess of Healing, the Goddess of the Tree Cult, the Mistress of the Animals, and her companion, the Goddess of the Mountains, the Goddess of War, and the Goddess of the Seas. The All High Divine Force is presumably genderless but is manifest in our universe as a polarity of both male and female principles. The Goddess and the God become representative personifications of the forces and powers of nature. In our world both polarities are highly significant and should be respected as such. It is at this point where our ethnic gods gain their highest significance. "I am the gracious Goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man. 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 upon
One of the foremost symbols of the Minoan- Mycenaean culture was the double axe head which is never seen in the hands of the male God; when it is not carried by votaries it is always associated with a goddess. The double axe symbol was as profound to the Minoans as the cross is to the Christians or the crescent symbol to the Moslem. It was considered an iconic image and the embodiment of the Mother Goddess divinity. The Minoans left behind the most brilliant prehistoric religion and culture of our world and one of the most humane nature creeds known, which would developed the cultural foundations that would proliferate throughout Greece in the latter half of the Bronze Age. The Minoaen nature creed and mythology has continued to inspire the Western Euro-World for countless generations.
Another treasure trove of religious and cultural wealth came from ancient Egypt. Upon the Egyptian spiritual path it is often difficult to know where magic ends and religion begins. Even the gods were thought to rule the world by magic. In later Egypt, Osiris and Isis were exalted as the ideal father and mother, while Set, brother of Osiris became murderer and representation of evil. The image of the Mother Goddess Isis has been profound and long lasting in the Western World. To give some insight into the character and power of Isis, this ancient Hymn from Cyme: "I am Isis, the mistress of every land, and I was taught by Hermes, and with Hermes I devised Letters, both the Sacred and the Demotic, so that all things might be written with the same. I gave and ordained Laws for men, which no one is able to change. I am eldest daughter of Kronos. I am wife and sister of King Osiris. I am she who finds fruit for men. I am mother of King Horos. I am She that rises in the dogstar. I am She called Goddess by woman. For me was the city of Bubastis built. I divided the earth from the heavens. I showed the Path of the Stars. I ordered the Course of Sun and Moon. I devised business in The Sea. I made strong the Man. I brought together Woman and Man. I appointed to Woman to bring their Infants to birth in the tenth month. I ordained that Parents should be loved by Children. I laid punishments on those disposed without natural affection towards their Parents. I made with my brother Osiris an end to the Eating of Men. I revealed Mysteries of Men. I taught (men) to honor Images of the Gods. I consecrated the Precincts of the Gods. I broke down the Governments of Tyrants. I made an end to Murders. I compelled Woman to take the love of Men. I made the Right stronger than Gold and Silver. I ordained that the True should be thought Good. I devised marriage contracts. I assigned to Greeks and Barbarians their languages. I made the Beautiful and Shameful to be distinguished by nature. I ordained that nothing should be more feared than an Oath. I have delivered the Plotter of Evil against other men into the hands of the one he plotted against. I established Penalties for those who practice Injustice. I decreed Mercy to Supplicants. I protect (or honor) righteous guards. With me Right prevails. I am the Queen of the Rivers and Winds and the Sea. No one is held in honor without my knowing it. I am the Queen of War. I am the Queen of the Thunderbolt. I stir up the Sea and I calm it. I am in the Rays of the Sun. Whatever I please; this too shall come to an end. With me everything is reasonable. I set free those in bonds. I am the Queen of Seamanship. I make the navigable unnavigable when it pleases me. I created Walls of Cities. I am called the Lawgiver. I brought up Islands out of the Depths into the Light. I am Lord of Rainstorms. I overcome Fate. Fate hearkens to me. Hail, Egypt that nourished me."
Isis remains the consummate Mother Goddess of which all others are essentially personalized ethnic tribal names which represent the same divine entity. The occult writer Dion Fortune had come to the conclusion in her writings that "all the gods are one and all the goddesses are one goddess." The word "matter", derived from the Latin "mater", which means mother, has deep mystical significance. The Mother (Mater, Matter) is also the essence of all femininity, so she is likewise to be found in all women. We know the male aspect as the creative force, the giver of life, the positive, active principle. The female aspect is the mother, the receiving vessel, the womb of the universe, where the cosmos was gestated and nourished. She is also the negative, passive principle. She does not create life, for she is only the channel through which life is manifested. But as the male principle can only manifest through her, the fruit of their union is clothed in her essence, which in the physical world is matter. She is matter, she is our world and all nature made complete by the fertilizing life giving sun rays of the Father deity. The goddess is symbolized by the cup, the caldron, the receptacle; the god by the sword, the spear, the erect penis. As the sword is to the male so is the cup to the female, and conjoined they bring blessedness.
"I who am the beauty of the green earth; and the White Moon amongst the
Stars; and the mystery of the Waters; and the desire of the heart of man, I
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, all things
That magic is the highest of all sciences is never doubted by the magician. What is now being referred to as magic has been divorced from "true" religion; magic as it is thought of today has often come to represent the opposite of all that is ordered and good. The word 'magic' comes from the Greek 'mageia', which derives from 'magoi'. The magoi were a Persian caste of priests who studied astrology and divination. Magic is similar in its focus on the spiritual dimension and the worship of a supernatural authority, but differs in its attempt to control hidden forces. Jollivet-Castellot, an alchemist and philosopher, has this to say about magic as a science:
"Magic is by no means, as most outsiders imagine, the negation of science. Quite on the contrary,
Magic is Science with syntheses, almost integral Science, its horizons being the absolute, the infinite in Unity. ..... In truth Magic is the knowledge of the action and combination of the forces of the
Universe,the study of their conduct, their involution, their evolution...."
Religion can never be as powerful as magic and the mysteries because religion is only a mere offshoot of magic and the mysteries. Magic teaches that there are no impossibilities, only improbabilities. One could say that in magic man tries to conquer nature, but in religion nature conquers man. Nature thus remains to mankind a physical manifestation of the goddess and the all high god. Religious faith and practice is extremely obligatory but it is also eagerly and vividly chosen, it is a great collective of hereness. Religion sums up and embodies what we feel together, what we imagine together. The problems of a religion arise when people begin to feel that their religion is the only religion and superior to all others, or when religion itself (which is manmade as is mythology) is thought to be of greater significance than spirituality itself. Almost as soon as a religion is established it severely limits itself with dogmatic do's and don’ts and becomes stagnant in and of its own established view of God and spiritual attainment. The Great Mysteries demonstrate to us time and time again that God is not to be found from without but from within. We do not need churches and religions to reach God or the Mother Goddess but there are surely times when religions and churches can serve those needs as aids. "If that which you seek and you find not within you, you will never find without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of desire."
Just as there is male and female that are born out of the mother’s womb, there is male and female in her religions as well. We quite often refer to the main church as the mother church. Doors of churches to this day are still often shaped in the form of a woman’s vagina while the lofty spires represent the male phallus. The Mother Goddess was worshiped under three different aspects. As a young maiden she was invoked in love problems; as a matron, to bestow fertility and protect the young; and as an old woman, for wisdom and guidance. But in all these aspects she was still recognized as 'The Great Mother'. Her predominance has been maintained, and today she still holds her place as a leading supreme deity. The Mother Goddess is seen as a symbol of strength and wholeness of woman, as Elinor Gadon writes in her book "The Once and Future Goddess":
In reclaiming the Goddess, in recovering our full human history as men and woman, we can learn other patterns of behavior. We can redress the imbalance between the human species and our natural environment, between men and women, exploring the possibility of living in harmony and justice with all things. Thus the Goddess is an earth-centered metaphor for the earth as a living organism, and also for an alternative, supposedly more egalitarian, social order."
All humankind must seek to live in the 'spirit of place' aware that our Gods are unique entities. Our ancient ancestors understood the supreme importance of the gods and goddesses and consulted them in virtually every human affair. Our ancestors were far more in touch with the All High Creator, the gods, nature and the mother earth, then we are today. Mans magical power to think paves more and more of the pathway that will lift us eventually to the realms that our own gods have reached or it will bring about our complete annihilation as a species. The eye, it is said, must be ahead of the foot, just as our vision must range beyond our capabilities. Our mechanized world and its materialism has steered us far adrift from our contact with the divinities. Right this very minute Mother Nature is screaming out to man in great distress to wake up from his complacent and careless neglect, wake up to the needs of our dying planet, our dying seas and polluted skies. We have all become self centered, blind and apathetic, a Ship of Fools! There is a point of no return concerning the life of the planet upon which we live and we are at the crux of it right now but we have long forgotten how to listen to Mother Earth and to honor our gods and we are failing miserably! We have grown accustomed to the clangor and gnashing teeth of the machine that eats rapes and destroys Mother Nature and the living planet that we depend upon for our very survival. The machine that is tipping the balance of nature and will be our doom! The machine that man himself has created!
"A human life, so often likened to a spectacle upon a stage, is more justly a ritual. The ancient values of dignity, beauty, and poetry which sustain it are of Nature's inspiration; they are born of the mystery and beauty of the world. Do no dishonor to the earth lest you dishonor the spirit of man. Hold your hands out over the earth as over a flame. To all who love her, who open to her the doors of their veins, she gives of her strength, sustaining them with her own measureless tremor of dark life. Touch the earth, love the earth, honor the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places. For the gifts of life are the earths and they are given to all......" ..........Henry Beston