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Origins of The Divine Feminine

The Divine Feminine refers to the representation of a sacred, feminine figure that has appeared cross-culturally dating back to ancient civilizations prior to the advent of Christianity.

The Divine Feminine is often represented as a mother figure that embodies Nature or Mother Earth, or as the goddess of creation. More generally, however, any sacred feminine figure, such as the prominent Virgin Mary of the Catholic Church, may be described in the same terms. Essentially, the Divine Feminine is the sacred feminine element or spirit that has existed in many forms throughout history, and that some believe was repressed by authorities with the advent of Christianity.

The Great Mother

Some of the earliest representations of the Mother Goddess can be traced back to 25 000 BCE with images of the fertile womb representing the ultimate source of creation. Here, the Mother Goddess of fertility embodied the three elements: sky; earth; and the underworld; and the essences of life, creation, death, and rebirth. She was also associated with the moon, the sun, the stars, the plants, the trees, the animals, and human beings. She represented the cyclical nature of the universe and the mother of all living forms, as the source of one's connection to nature and the universe. She was the embodiment of the unseen dimension of the soul and spirit, as a representation of intrinsic laws and energies.

Embodiment of The Divine Feminine

Beginning around 8500 BCE, the Neolithic Period of human history, also known as the Stone Age, saw advances in agriculture, leading to a the formation of deep human relationships to the earth among these agricultural communities. The image of the Divine Feminine figured prominently during this time to accompany the new rituals of sowing, tending, and harvesting crop, as well as the breeding and domestication of animals. The Mother Goddess was an important embodiment of the cyclical patterns of life, death, and rejuvenation that paralleled the patterns of the harvest.

During this time, the Great Mother was depicted as a bird-goddess, whose breasts provided rain for the seasons, and as the embodiment of earth, whose secret forces bore crops. She was represented as the serpent-goddess in her association with the underworld, the home of the ancestral dead and the mysterious source from which the world's essential elements sprouted. Shrines were built to worship the Goddess; ritual offerings were presented to the Goddess, including pottery, cloth hangings, and sculptures. Natural sites such as water springs became sacred areas of healing that are still visited today.

One of the earliest and most famous depictions of the Mother Goddess is the Venus of Willendorf, a statue found in 1908 dating back to 22 000 to 24 000 BCE, predating any available records of earliest Middle Eastern or Classical representations of the Goddess.


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