Saturday, December 09, 2006


You don’t have to “believe in” Goddesses to support the basic tenets of this weblog. What you do need to agree to is this:

1. War gods are bogus and deadly to the entire world community – especially now that the world’s one ‘village’

2. It’s crass to fool people into thinking male deities can create living beings – through magic juggling tricks like letting them ‘spring forth’ from their skulls (Zeus) or from part of a man’s skeleton (Jehovah).*

3. If people are going to believe in anything, it’s healthier for them (and the rest of us!) to believe in divinity that promotes peace, non-violence, physical and psychological health for the individual, and genuine respect and reverence for the earth.

“…[S]ome ask how, if both god and Goddess are constructs of the human imagination, can one be any more ... valid than the other? The crucial point ... is that the validity of the image depends on its effect on human behavior…. There is no doubt that the Goddess image has induced more tolerant, peaceful, kind, and caring societies than the god image, whose societies [have] always tended toward war, violence, Puritanism, and hierarchy” (Walker, Barbara. 2000. Restoring the Goddess: Equal Rites for Modern Women. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. Page 39).
Thnx to niemis for the foto of Poseidon.
*I wish I had time to tell all the hundreds of hilarious stories of gods trying to do the birth thing. My favorite is Apollo sitting on a pile of eggs. "A Greek carving show(s) the god Apollo sitting on a pile of eggs, trying to copy the life-giving magic of his mother Leto ... who gave birth to the World Egg and hatched it."

Then there's the dude who gave birth to the first Norse woman and man -- from his 'sweaty armpit.' ("Norsemen said a first male-and-female couple were born from the sweaty armpit of the giant Ymir, who imitated Mother Earth in that his flesh became the soil, his blood the sea, his bones the mountains.")

Even better, Atum, "...the local god of Heliopolis, the biblical 'City of On,' claimed to give birth to a primal couple from his penis by masturbating..." (from Barbara Walker's incredibly well-documented The Women's Encyclopedia)


tou-mou said...

actually, I thnk that's Poseidon, judging from the fish....

Athana said...

Hey, tou-mou, thanks for the correction. The photographer called him Zeus, and I didn't notice the fish. I'll change the post.

Paxton said...

Good post! =)

"the validity of the image depends on its effect on human behavior"

The *validity* of an image depends on whether it's actually true. Otherwise it's a nice lie...and I wholly respect the loving intentions behind a nice lie, but a nice truth is better.

Athana said...

Paxton, Goddess is indeed 'true.' Just because She has a good effect on us certainly doesn't mean She's not 'true'! Just because an atheist who doesn't 'believe in' Her can find solace in the fact that She brings heaven to earth, makes earth into heaven, doesn't mean She's not real, true, or whatever word you wanna use. I don't see your reasoning here at all.

Athana said...

Paxton, I wonder if your problem here has to do with the fact that I can accept the fact that someone might not 'believe in' Goddess. Excuse me, but your 'god' is a whacked out psycho on this: if someone doesn't 'believe in' him, or work to make others 'believe in' him, he fries you in hell.

But your god is not a deity --he's a made-up control mechanism designed by a con dude. Why? To get people like you in pathetic condition and easily controllable: you can only do sex in one tiny little area of your life; you're going to fry in hell unless you snap to; your 'holy' book teaches war, war, war, stoning people to death, burning your sons and daughters to death -- it's just one giant quack control & war machine, and you've been sucked into it. Get out, my dear man, get out!!!

Paxton said...

I know there are lots of people who don't believe in my God. I acknowledge that and accept it as fact, so I don't know what you mean about being unable to accept it.
But I think my God is really loving (and is also the only god that actually, literally exists) and so I like telling people about him. =)

My reasoning about whether the Goddess is "true" or not is like...well, if I said that a man named Jerry lived in my attic, but then you found out there was nobody living in my attic, attic-Jerry would be false. If Jerry did in fact live in my attic, then attic-Jerry would be true. It's quite simple. =P I'm not talking about "true existence" in some mystical or intellectual sense. I am talking about "Is there a God or is there not?" in the same sense as "Is there a salt shaker on my table, or is there not?" The "validity" of the salt shaker doesn't depend on "its effect on human behavior" ^_^ It depends on whether the thing exists! ;)

Maybe the key phrase is what you quoted from Barbara -- "if both god and Goddess are constructs of the human imagination".

Aquila ka Hecate said...

All gods are created by humankind.
This doesn't mean they are not real.

Paxton, I was an atheist for years until I grasped this one essential concept.

'Real' means, in this context, 'having a measurable effect upon the material world'.

Terri in JOburg

Paxton said...

If you start with the assumption that all gods are created by humankind, then of course you can only use that limited definition of "real". But I would be interested to know (truly interested) why you hold that assumption.

My own preliminary assumption is that a god or gods may exist outside of the realm of human imagination, may, in fact, be "real" in the same way that humans themselves are "real".

(Please note that this assumption does not necessarily lead to Christianity. It is just the common assumption shared by all theists.)

Aquila ka Hecate said...


It's more in the nature of my own faults, if they are faults, that I am 'forced' to think of deity as having a human origin.

(Many of my fellow Pagans do not make this assumption, and believe as you do, so I'm not talking for them all here.)

It is an almost inevitable outcome of my history, as I progressed from Christian to Traditional Witch to Atheist, to where I am now, a Goddess-centred Pagan of mystic bent.

I have spent much time in meditation and solitary practise and study, and when all is said and done, the solution which I experience as being most true is that which posits the Gods as our very own.
This also puts humanity on a higher platform, for I believe that we are truly responsible for ourselves and our fellow beings- a truth I hold in common with most Atheists.

I'm convinced that we got ourselves into this mess, and we must find a way to lift ourselves out of it.The only way out, it seems to me, is up.
This can only be 'true' if we do hold the ultimate responsiblity for *all* of our situation.
Hmm-don't know how clear I'm being here.I hope you can gether some of mmy meaning.

Paxton said...

I think I do gather some of your meaning =)

This phrase caught my eye: "the solution which I experience as being most true is that which posits the Gods as our very own."

Can I ask you to expound? What sense of the word "true" are you using here, or in what way have you experience this solution as the truest? I'm sorry if I seem too inquisitive, but I just get interested in this sort of thing. ^_^

So you think that humanity is above the gods, and the gods are a human invention. But it also looks to me (and correct me if I am wrong) that you think that humanity is still subject to some type of morality. I see this in your statements that we have gotten into "a mess", and that we are "responsible" for getting out of it. Your idea of Doing Good involves being "truly responsible for ourselves and our fellow beings", and continually moving "up".

By the very fact that you have defined one direction as "up" (in the sense that it is "better" than other directions), I see that you place humanity into a moral system (maybe you wouldn't call it a moral system...I just can't think of a better word off the top of my head =P).

Now my question to you is where this moral system comes from?

Aquila ka Hecate said...

What have I gotten myself into?


Paxton, I'm using the word 'true' in the sense of 'what works when applied to the situations for which it is relevant'.
Having been an Atheist, I'm very familiar with the 'if you can't observe it it doesn't exist' sense of the word 'true', and I have been trying to avoid that.

There are many things unobservable to our senses and instrumentation which nevertheless have an affect in the material world.(My defintion of 'real').

Using these parameters, I experience changes of behaviour,thinking and feeling when I have connected with my Deities.I experience them in a way which is very difficult for me to put into words.

Perhaps the words just 'aren't' and we all must experience Deity on a wordless plane.

But no, I don't belive humanity to be above the Gods-I'm not the best communicator.

I believe that the Gods are our peers, in that they emanate from us.
It's not a case of creator/created in a hierarchy.
My son is not lesser or greater than I.He is my peer.

I certainly do place us in a moral system-and yes, I call it such.

Very briefly:
That which enhances being is moral, and that which degrades it and increases suffering on an overall scale is immoral.
I'm aware that this outline is inadequate, and that morality is relative to circumstances and the culture in which it arises.

That's my answer to where does this moral system come from-as with the Gods, it arises from us.

Do you know, of all the 'sins' of humanity, I'm starting to think our greatest has been our undervaluing of ourselves?

Excuse me, I'm just going to wander away for some tea.
Thanks Athana for sacrificing your blog comments in this noble cause!


still n Joburg

Paxton said...

*grins* I second those thanks, Athana =P

I think you're a good communicator, Terri. =D And I see you have a desire for goodness, and I respect it very much. ^_^ Thanks for taking the time to talk these winding roads of philosophizing!

Now this will sound pedantic and pointless, but I think it is of great importance. You mentioned the idea of continually moving "up", and again in your latest reply you mention the "enhancement" of a being.

But how can it be that morality points "upward", yet as the same time morality's reference point is something within oneself? I understand that the "upward" picture is one of many possible pictures...but you could imagine my question rephrased in general terms. If morality arises from oneself, then "enhancement" only means becoming what you think you should become. In a sense you are saying "I ought to be what I think I ought to be". If on the other hand, "enhancement" means about the same thing for every person, you have arrived back at some standard which is not of human origin, but which all humans are beckoned towards.

I'm sorry if I'm putting words in your mouth. =) But anyway, that little interlude helps me explain why I think that morality is a law *outside* oneself. (These are just my observations from living).

I find, in my everyday life, that all people generally have the same idea about morality. To be sure, you have some differences, but they are not as great as people often imagine. If morality were unique to each individual, why do most people over all time periods have such a common ground of morality? All other attributes might change drastically from culture to culture (and just as much between different people in a single culture!)...but morality remains pretty common.

So there is that...I also notice that even when people say that morality arises from oneself, continually appeal to a shared morality. In a disagreement, even a relativist will say "that's not fair!", as though pointing at a universal rule that both parties are expected to follow.

(sorry if I talk too much =P)

And lastly, perhaps most tellingly, I find that I do not always (or even usually) want to do the things that I know are right. In fact, most of myself seems opposed to the idea, because what is right is not usually the most fun or the easiest or most desirable way. And so I wonder...if I am a being that shies away from doing the Hard, Right Thing, where did I get all these high notions about morality?

In other words, why would I suppose that a perfect moral law arises out of me, when I do not even like it very much, and do not follow it gladly or consistently?

None of these are proofs of course. But the idea of the same moral law being written in everyone's heart by an outside hand, just seems to make more sense given everything I have experienced in life.

Morgaine said...

Paxton, you are using Newtonian definitions to discuss Quantum reality. It won't work. Up, down, here, there, real, unreal, alive, dead, only exist when there is an observer to provide context. The argument you two are having might as well be about angels dancing on the head of a pin.

You say your "god" is a loving one. On what do you base this opinion? You might be a loving person, and therefore project that love onto an image of the divine, but that doesn't mean the divine has that quality when you aren't observing it. It doesn't mean that concept has that quality when I observe it. For any concrete example of good you attribute to that deity, I can name millions upon millions of atrocities.

What makes you think there is one deity? Other than the fact that this was written in a moldy old scroll dug up in the desert, what indicates to you that there is one deity? Any deities? Where's your proof?

My proof is the Earth, the sky, myself, the oceans, my visions, my feelings and intuition, Herstory, life, birth, death, and science. I don't have to go outside the realm of science to explain the Universe or find the Divine. It's all around me and a part of me. All states of possibility co-exist, but there is nothing to indicate that your deity is one of those possibilities.

Aquila ka Hecate said...

In so much as the community, the culture, the race (err..human) can be considered an exterior originator of morals-there you have it.
Or there I have it , anyway.
And yes-Morgaine.

Just - Yes.

off to do some work for a change
in Joburg

Medusa said...

An excellent book on the change-over from Goddess-centered, egalitarian, peaceful & cooperative cultures to war-God-centered cultures based on domination is The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler. She also goes into the implication for present-day society (societies?).

Regarding how deities came into being and whether they are "real," I like Dion Fortune's explanation (in The Mystical Qabalah). She says that deities are "the creations of the created", and/or emanations of "group-mind", but that once they are created (I assume this means by humans acting together) They become "channels of the specialized forces they were designed to represent." Trying to simplify, I take this to mean that there is something I'll call spiritual energy, and that humans to a large extent determine the form this spiritual energy takes. But that once this form is created, usually by a substantial number of people envisioning it/her/him, the form takes on a life of its own. Fortune goes on to say that that if people stop worshipping such a life-form, it remains dormant but can be easily recalled, re-energized, by people again invoking it. I believe this is what is happening with Goddess(es).

Judith Laura

Athana said...

Interesting, Judith. Thanks for sharing your beliefs and views. I hope this doesn't mean (although I and others have hypothesized this in other posts) that those who believe in the 'vast underground torture chamber' their religious founders have created and called 'hell,' will actually end up in such a place after death.

Personally, I believe something large, mysterious and powerful exists that we don't understand yet (and may never), something that is a feminine force -- in many senses -- and that it exists whether we believe in it or not. I believe that the war gods were fabricated. I think it's lethal to be 'tolerant' of lethal entities like the war/sky gods Jehovah, Allah, Vishnu and Yahweh.