Long before Judaism and Christianity, long before the Greco-Roman pantheon of gods goddesses, the peoples of Western and Central Europe and the Near East worshipped a Goddess, seen in many guises, who encompassed both the awesome power of nature and the forces of life and death. The far reaches of her power found their expression in artifacts, sculptures and carvings, and at sites where she was venerated - caves, sanctuaries, and temples - that have slept for thousands of years.
She has been called Gaia, Mother Nature, Queen of Heaven, Mother of God, Mistress of the House of Life, the Creatress, Divine Ancestress, Mighty Lady. Known by many names, venerated by ancient humankind in many forms, the Goddess is actually this Blessed Mother Earth which sustains us all.
Extensive new research by Marija Gimbutas, Riane Eisler, et. al., shows that neolithic matrifocal cultures created much of human civilization. Agriculture, animal husbandry, pottery, weaving, city-planning, architecture, and the range of core technologies that shape human life to this day developed before 5000 B.C.E. Abstract values of justice and governance, the invention of writing and the wheel, aesthetics of dance, music, and religious ritual all evolved in Goddess-worshipping societies. Excavation of their settlements show towns undefended by walls. Values such as nurturance, cooperation and partnership with the Earth were central.
But in the 35 centuries ending circa 500 AD, nomadic invaders swept down upon these life-affirming cultures. They appropriated both the civilizations they found and the Goddess Herself as the spouse of their warlike God. Principles of dominance, sex inequality, class status, warfare, and consumeristic exploitation of the Earth, which so influence our world today, date from this relatively recent imbalancing cycle of history.
Carl Jung has shown that it is our myth, ritual and symbols that must change before our culture can rebalance. Images of the generous and loving Goddess direct our consciousness toward cooperating with and loving rather than destroying Earth.
From the depths of antiquity the Goddess has been depicted in three forms (maiden, matron, &
crone), always associated with birds, beasts, serpents, flowering plants and other symbols of birth and
fertility which connote harmony with Mother Earth.