Who is The Goddess?

Who is The Goddess? April 18, 2024

The Goddess is alive and magick is afoot! I believe the gods are generally active in our world and our lives, but I feel as if The Goddess is making Her presence felt more obviously now. My last blog post was about the Dark Goddess aspect of The Goddess. And coming up in just a couple of weeks, on Wednesday, May 1, I will be on Karen Tate’s Voices of the Sacred Feminine Podcast to talk about the Dark Goddess.

This weekend, I will be leading a workshop and hosting tarot readings at my store’s booth at Spirit Fest. They asked me if I would lead a workshop on the Goddess archetype and that has sent me down a rabbit hole of information. People say that if you cannot explain something simply to someone, then you do not understand it yourself. I thought I had a working knowledge of my religion and practice, but I have had the hardest time trying to define and explain ‘The Goddess.’

Who or What is the Goddess?

Wikimedia Commons

The Goddess is the embodiment of the divine feminine. The divine feminine is an energy inside everyone and everything that is often associated with compassion, nurturing, forgiveness, intuition, and empathy. It’s the feminine aspect of divine power that has created galaxies and guides us in our lives. The divine feminine primarily focuses on the inner being and your own emotional world—tapping into this energy can help you heal your mind, body, and soul, and can help you to show more kindness to the world and those around you.

I typically look at my religion and my deities from a very polytheistic view. Each deity is a unique individual in their own right, with their own set of interests, likes and dislikes. They are not interchangeable names or faces. However, in Wicca, which is where my religious journey started and is still a large part of my practice, we view The Goddess a little differently.

In Wicca, we believe that the Universe, the Source of all life and energy is vast and unknowable to us as humans. Perhaps our souls understand it better, but our human brains are not made to process something so different and foreign than what our senses are used to interpreting. To make this concept easier for our brains, over time we have labeled the Universal Source as masculine energy or active energy and feminine or receptive energy. We then personified those energies, as humans will do, into The God and The Goddess. For this blog, and my upcoming workshop, we are talking about The Goddess as the receptive and feminine aspect of the Universe and not as a specific goddess.

The Divine Feminine with the Divine Masculine

The energies of the divine masculine and divine feminine have been present in various spiritual traditions and belief systems throughout history. You might find lists explaining that divine masculine energy usually represents qualities like strength, action, logic, and rationality, while Divine Feminine represents qualities like intuition, nurturing, creativity, and emotional intelligence.

Statues of The Horned God and The Crescent Goddess
The Horned God and Crescent Goddess – Pexels.com

Everyone has divine feminine energy and divine masculine energy in their own unique combination. Regardless of gender identity or sexual preferences, each person is a distinctive combination of these action oriented, divine masculine energies and the receptive centered, divine feminine energies. This balance of energy that makes up each one of us will shift over time, depending on what is going on in our lives and what qualities we want or need to cultivate. I know for example, that I used to present more masculine energy than I do now. Over the last 10 years or so, I have been cultivating my divine feminine energy and I recognize that I carry more of that energy now than I used to.

The Goddess is the Personification of the Divine Feminine

The Goddess is the personification of the Divine Feminine. She has been worshipped across the world since humans developed spiritual inclinations. She is seen and honored more in pre-Christian religions and modern paganism, but she also shows up in Abrahamic faiths and other spiritual paths such as Hinduism and Buddhism.

We see The Goddess more clearly in our ancient and modern Pagan religions because she was never hidden away. I am not familiar with the religious beliefs of every pre-Christian culture across the world, however I feel confident in saying that they likely had at least one Goddess in their pantheon.

Mother Mary / Goddess from Pexels
Mother Mary / Goddess from Pexels

The Goddess in Abrahamic Faiths

Although The Goddess was not hidden in ancient Pagan cultures, She did have to go into hiding when Christianity was forced upon the world. However it is hard to force aspects of the Universe into hiding. In Christianity, we see The Goddess in the Mother Mary, in Mary Magdalene, and Sophia – the spirit of wisdom in the Old Testament. Some believe that the Holy Spirit is a feminine energy.

Asherah in the Bible

Asherah is also mentioned in the bible. Asherah is the Canaanite deity of fertility. Her name means “she who enriches.” In Ugaritic literature, she was called “Lady Asherah of the Sea.” According to Canaanite mythology, Asherah was the wife of El, who mothered 70 gods, including Baal, the most famous. Baal, the chief of the Canaanite pantheon, was the god of storm and “bringer of rain.” He was recognized as the sustainer of the fertility of crops, animals, and people. He now makes many appearances as a demon in modern horror movies.

Asherah poles were erected at sacred sites and alongside altars throughout the land of Canaan. The city of Tyre on the Mediterranean coast was home to the best cedars of Lebanon and seemed to have been an important center for the worship of Asherah.

Statue that may represent the Goddess Asherah – Wikimedia Commons

According to Arthur George, the author of the first 5 books of the Old Testament, which is also known as the Torah in Judaism, had an anti-Canaanite agenda. His agenda becomes noticeable with the 10 Commandments, where Yahweh warns the Hebrews against associating with the Canaanites, intermarrying with them, and worshipping their deities. Yahweh, according to the author, demands that the Hebrews destroy all the Canaanites altars and religious symbols, including the Asherah poles that were prolific across Canaan. These Asherah poles were a sacred tree or pole that stood near Canaanite religious locations to honor the goddess Asherah. There are relics of these poles that show some may have been carved to look like the goddess.

Asherah as the Wife of Yahweh

Before this biased writing, Asherah was widely believed to be Yahweh’s wife or consort. Since official Israelite religion trended toward monotheism, the other local deities had to be eliminated, Asherah in particular, and Yahweh appropriated their powers and functions.

Asherah is mentioned 40 times in the Old Testament. Most of these references are to Asherah poles but some of them are directly referring to the goddess. All of these mentions are negative, which makes some scholars feel that Asherah was so important and so ingrained in their religious system that it was very difficult, if not impossible, to erase her altogether.

According to Arthur George, “Evidently she [Asherah] was part of traditional official Israelite religion, for an asherah pole even stood in front of Solomon’s Temple for most of its existence, as well as in Yahweh’s sanctuary in Samaria. There is also much extra-biblical evidence of Asherah in Israel from the time of the judges right through monarchical times, including in paintings/drawings, pendants, plaques, pottery, (possibly) clay “pillar” figurines, cult stands, and in inscriptions. Several inscriptions specifically refer to Yahweh and his Asherah [or asherah].”

The Goddess in Our Modern Society

Modern Goddess – Pexels.com

The Goddess has always been a part of us, a part of our world. She is the earth mother who nurtures us and sustains life. She is the moon who pulls at our waters, the sun that guides us each day. Yes, some cultures identified the Sun with goddesses and some identify the Moon with gods.

We see The Goddess in each person we meet. It is our job to look for the divine in each person and in the nature around us, and honor that. Every person who calls themselves Woman carries aspects of The Goddess in them. They show Her to us in so many wonderful ways. Every person who calls themselves Man carries aspects of The Goddess in them. They show Her to us in myriad ways, sometimes obviously but not always. Those who are gender neutral or fluid, or those who are nonbinary also show us aspects of The Goddess. We can find Her everywhere we look and see Her reflected back at us in amazing, unique ways.

Regardless of where we find Her, or how we find Her, She is there. The Goddess birthed us all. And in doing so, She gave each of us a piece of her to carry, to connect us with Her, and to make sure we find our way home at the end of our journey. Hail the Goddess!


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