I Pray All Is Well With Everyone…And Your Hearts And Minds Are Full Of Love, Joy, And Compassion…For Yourselves…And Everyone Else…All Over The World! And If That Be So…Let Us Give Thanks And Praises That Those Higher Qualities Of The Spirit Of The Living God Within Us…Are Ever Expanding Within Our Beings – Our Thoughts, Feelings, And Actions; And Flooding Out Those Old Characteristics Of Hate And Darkness – Those Former Negative Conditionings; Thus Creating – Within And Around Us – An Aura That Represents Most Genuinely…Those Attributes Of The Love And Light…Of Our “Mighty I AM Presence”! Amen
Give Thanks And Praises For Love And Life…
And Y’all Be Love…
“Before any settled science or philosophy or religion existed, there were still certain things – and consequently also certain words – which had a tremendous influence on the human mind, which in fact affected it deeply. Such a word, for instance, is ‘Thunder’; to hear thunder, to imitate it, even to mention it, are sure ways of rousing superstitious attention and imagination. Such another word is ‘Serpent,’ another ‘Tree,’ and so forth. There is no one who is insensible to the reverberation of these and other such words and images; and among them, standing prominently out, are the two, ‘Mother’ and ‘Virgin.’ The word Mother touches the deepest springs of human feeling. As the earliest word learnt and clung to by the child, it twines itself with the heartstrings of the man, even to his latest day.
Nor must we forget that in a primitive state of society, (the Matriarchate), that influence was probably even greater than now; for the father of the child being, (often as not), unknown, the attachment to the mother was all the more intense and undivided. The word Mother had a magic about it which has remained even until today. But if that word rooted itself deep in the heart of the child, the other word ‘virgin’ had an obvious magic for the full grown and sexually mature man – a magic which it, too, has never lost.
There is ample evidence that one of the very earliest objects of human worship was the Earth itself, conceived of as the fertile Mother of all things. Gaia or Gê, (the earth), had temples and altars in almost all the cities of Greece. Rhea or Cybele, sprung from the Earth, was “mother of all the gods.” Demeter, (“earth mother”), was honored far and wide as the gracious patroness of the crops and vegetation. Ceres, of course, the same. Maia in the Indian mythology and Isis in the Egyptian, are forms of Nature and the Earth-spirit, represented as female; and so forth.
The Earth, in these ancient cults, was the mystic source of all life, and to it, as a propitiation, life of all kinds was sacrificed. There are strange accounts of a huge fire being made, with an altar to Cybele in the midst, and of deer and fawns and wild animals, and birds and sheep and corn and fruits being thrown pell-mell into the flames. It was, in a way, the most natural, as it seems to have been the earliest and most spontaneous of cults – the worship of the Earth-Mother, the all-producing eternal source of life, and on account of her never-failing, ever-renewed fertility, conceived of as an immortal Virgin.
But when the Saviour legend sprang up – as indeed I think it must have sprung up, in tribe after tribe and people after people, independently – then, whether it sprang from the divinization of some actual man who showed the way of light and deliverance to his fellows “sitting in darkness,” or whether from the personification of the tribe itself as a god, in either case the question of the hero’s parentage was bound to arise. If the ‘saviour’ was plainly a personification of the tribe, it was obviously impossible to suppose him the son of a mortal mother.
In that case – and if the tribe was generally traced in the legends to some primeval animal or mountain or thing of Nature – it was probably easy to think of him, (the saviour), as born out of Nature’s womb, descended perhaps from that pure Virgin of the World who is the Earth and Nature, who rules the skies at night, and stands in the changing phases of the Moon, and is worshiped, (as we have seen), in the great constellation Virgo. If, on the other hand, he was the divinization of some actual man, more or less known either personally or by tradition to his fellows, then in all probability the name of his mortal mother would be recognized and accepted; but as to his father, that side of parentage being, as we have said, generally very uncertain, it would be easy to suppose some heavenly Annunciation, the midnight visit of a God, and what is usually termed a Virgin-birth.
A Virgin-Mother was, therefore, a quite imaginable, (not to say ‘conceivable’), thing; and indeed, a very beautiful and fascinating thing, combining in one image the potent magic of two very wonderful words. It does not seem impossible that considerations of this kind led to the adoption of the doctrine or legend of the virgin-mother and the heavenly father among so many races and in so many localities – even without any contagion of tradition among them. Anyhow, and as a matter of fact, the world-wide dissemination of the legend is most remarkable.
Zeus, Father of the gods, visited Semele, it will be remembered, in the form of a thunderstorm; and she gave birth to the great saviour and deliverer Dionysus. Zeus, again, impregnated Danae in a shower of gold; and the child was Perseus, who slew the Gorgons, (the powers of darkness), and saved Andromeda, (the human soul). Devaki, the radiant Virgin of the Hindu mythology, became the wife of the god Vishnu and bore Krishna, the beloved hero and prototype of Christ.
With regard to Buddha, St. Jerome says, “It is handed down among the Gymnosophists of India, that Buddha, the founder of their system, was brought forth by a Virgin from her side.” The Egyptian Isis, with the child Horus, on her knee, was honored centuries before the Christian era, and worshiped under the names of “Our Lady,” “Queen of Heaven,” “Star of the Sea,” “Mother of God,” and so forth. Before her, Neith, the Virgin of the World, whose figure bends from the sky over the earthly plains and the children of men, was acclaimed as mother of the great god Osiris. The saviour Mithra, too, was born of a Virgin, as we have had occasion to notice before; and on the Mithrais monuments, the mother suckling her child is a not uncommon figure.
The old Teutonic goddess Hertha, (the Earth), was a Virgin, but was impregnated by the heavenly Spirit, (the Sky); and her image with a child in her arms was to be seen in the sacred groves of Germany. The Scandinavian Frigga, in much the same way, being caught in the embraces of Odin, the All-father, conceived and bore a son, the blessed Balder, healer and saviour of mankind. Quetzalcoatl, the (crucified) saviour of the Aztecs, was the son of Chimalman, the Virgin Queen of Heaven. Even the Chinese had a mother-goddess and virgin with child in her arms, and the ancient Etruscans the same.
Finally, we have the curiously large number of black virgin mothers who are or have been worshiped. Not only cases like Devaki the Indian goddess, or Isis the Egyptian, who would naturally appear black-skinned or dark; but the large number of images and paintings of the same kind, yet extant – especially in the Italian churches – and passing for representations of Mary and the infant Jesus.
Such are the well-known image in the chapel at Loretto, and images and paintings besides in the churches at Genoa, Pisa, Padua, Munich, and other places. It is difficult not to regard these as very old Pagan or pre-Christian relics which lingered on into Christian times and were baptized anew – as indeed we know many relics and images actually were – into the service of the Church.
“Great is Diana of the Ephesians”; and there is, I believe, more than one black figure extant of this Diana, who, though of course a virgin, is represented with innumerable breasts – not unlike some of the archaic statues of Artemis and Isis. At Paris far on into Christian times there was, it is said, on the site of the present Cathedral of Notre Dame, a Temple dedicated to ‘our Lady’ Isis; and images belonging to the earlier shrine would in all probability be preserved with altered name in the later.
All this illustrates not only the wide diffusion of the doctrine of the Virgin-mother, but its extreme antiquity. The subject is obscure, and worthy of more consideration than has yet been accorded it; and I do not feel able to add anything to the tentative explanations given a page or two back, except perhaps to suppose that the vision of the Perfect Man hovered dimly over the mind of the human race on its first emergence from the purely animal stage; and that a quite natural speculation with regard to such a being was that he would be born from a Perfect Woman – who according to early ideas would necessarily be the Virgin Earth itself, mother of all things.
But whether any of the explanations spoken of are right or wrong, and whatever explanation we adopt, there remains the fact of the universality over the world of this legend – affording another instance of the practical solidarity and continuity of the Pagan Creeds, with Christianity.”
Pagan & Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning, By Edward Carpenter, 1920