collapse

* Recent Posts

Re: Flowers in our gardens by Larix
[Today at 08:01:11 pm]


Re: Stones and our personal collections by sevensons
[Yesterday at 03:45:23 pm]


Re: Recently Blogged by Kylara
[Yesterday at 02:22:27 pm]


Re: Cill Shift Schedule by SunflowerP
[Yesterday at 02:19:18 am]


Re: Pagan Traitor Storms the US Capitol? by Altair
[January 19, 2021, 09:27:38 am]

Author Topic: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype  (Read 2530 times)

Zephyrine

  • Apprentice
  • ***
  • Join Date: Nov 2015
  • Posts: 24
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2015, 09:22:25 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;182931
We need the OP to come back, of course, and clarify whether she is seeking a religion that has a "the goddess" and operates with the MMC model, or whether she was unaware of the many pagan religions that have no truck with that model.


I was really wondering because the Pagans I have known adhere to this idea of the goddess with stereotypically typical motherly qualities -- almost passive. It seems that while trying to create a system that is more egalitarian, the goddess gets pushed into a highly gendered role where she is defined my her sexuality. If the Goddess were trying powerful wouldn't she be a hermaphrodite or asexual -- meaning she could generate life from herself spontaneously. I know that there are angry and vengeful mother goddesses in world mythology, but I don't really hear much about them.

Scales

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Nov 2013
  • Location: BC
  • Posts: 376
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2015, 10:24:55 pm »
Adding this preface to mention that this is super stream-of-thought, not all going to be useful or even on topic to you. Bolding the parts I mostly replied to

Quote from: Zephyrine;182778
I am a celibate, adult woman. I don't have an with the male and female deities, but I am very uncomfortable with the goddess being defined as pre-sexual, sexual, and post-sexual when I am none of these things (I am not asexual, but choose celibacy because it allows me to lead a lifestyle that suits me). I am more like Artemis or Athena that the "Earth Mother".

Side note that I get into (sort of) later; do you believe in a (the) Earth Mother?
Quote from: Zephyrine;183081
I was really wondering because the Pagans I have known adhere to this idea of the goddess with stereotypically typical motherly qualities -- almost passive. It seems that while trying to create a system that is more egalitarian, the goddess gets pushed into a highly gendered role where she is defined my her sexuality. If the Goddess were trying powerful wouldn't she be a hermaphrodite or asexual -- meaning she could generate life from herself spontaneously. I know that there are angry and vengeful mother goddesses in world mythology, but I don't really hear much about them.


*I talk a little about asexuality and a little about celibacy but I don't mean to conflate the two- just looking at both because from your posts I think either might help.*

I'm not a great resource for this, but I have a couple thoughts.

Very first, you can take people's opinions with a grain of salt. In my experience, it is super common for inexperienced Wiccans to lean toward the 'all goddesses are one thing, all gods are another' (either in a monistic way or in a gendered traits way) train of thought, and as such ignoring much of the actual mythology (and other people's experiences) in order to keep their clearly-marked gendered boxes. There are a lot of people working with more egalitarian views and less rigid gender roles.

Part of your problem (or part of people's problems answering you) might be the divide between The Goddess and a goddess. My personal bit with this is that it feels (to me, I absolutely could be wrong) like you're looking for a singular (or mostly singular) creator type goddess ("The Goddess"), but looking at goddesses of various polytheistic mythologies, which are unlikely to fill that role (because they function as part of a larger group).

If you are looking for a singular being to consider The Goddess, and this is what you believe has to be how it would be for her to be powerful, I don't think you're super likely to find something that fits 100% with your view, although I personally don't have a problem with you saying 'I believe in X, but I personally believe that the Goddess is Y,' although I think if you do that you should probably meditate on it and stuff to make sure that is really how you feel. But this is very far from my wheelhouse, so really this is just pondering.

I'm also a little thrown off because I'm not sure if you're looking for a goddess that is motherly (or maybe in an Earth Mother type role?) but not otherwise stereotypical, or if you're looking for one that does not have the motherly trait either, so I'm just sort of going to write what comes to mind.

As far as goddesses across mythology, I think there are a few things to acknowledge. Although I myself was saying that you are completely justified in looking for an asexual (in sexuality or reproduction) goddess, I do think you have to remember that just because a goddess is a mother (as many are) does not mean she has to be a 'mother goddess' (or a particularly sexual one). Having been a mother doesn't make that her most important role, or necessarily her role as a goddess at all.

I'm having trouble thinking of specifically asexual, celibate, or hermaphroditic deities (although I'm quite certain that there are at least the latter of the three), especially because shapeshifters like Loki (was mostly a man afaik, had a baby as a mare) keep coming to mind. Despite being seen as a very sexual goddess, Aphrodite's birth was actually asexual (according to Hesiod), and I have seen people doing religious celibacy in relation to her, although I don't know enough about it to explain it- it just may be something to look into. Also, of course, there's Hermaphroditus (not a deity but since you used the phrase hermaphrodite it seemed weird not to mention it).

Because I'm not an expert on specific deities, I won't go into vengeful mother goddesses, because it wouldn't be any more helpful than you just looking up a list of mother goddesses and checking out their other traits.

That is very rambly, my apologies. No idea if helpful, but might give you some things to think about.

Also, haven't read this, very long and links to a lot of others, but it may be helpful as far as finding deities that reproduced in ways other than straight sex, and as far as hermaphroditic and intersex qualities.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_themes_in_mythology

Darkhawk

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 5028
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 931
    • View Profile
    • Suns in her Branches
  • Religion: An American Werewolf in the Akhet; Kemetic; Feri; Imaginary Baltic Heathen; Discordian; CoX; Etc.
  • Preferred Pronouns: any of he, she, they
Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2015, 10:43:56 pm »
Quote from: Zephyrine;183081
I was really wondering because the Pagans I have known adhere to this idea of the goddess


The duotheistic notion of "the goddess" is fairly popular in general paganism.

It is very much a minority theology here on the Cauldron, though; most people here who deal with divine powers are polytheistic, and thus have the reaction to "the goddess" of "Which one were you talking about then?  There are kind of a lot of them."

Quote
If the Goddess were trying powerful wouldn't she be a hermaphrodite or asexual -- meaning she could generate life from herself spontaneously.


There are theologies with parthenogenic goddesses in them, yes.

Quote
I know that there are angry and vengeful mother goddesses in world mythology, but I don't really hear much about them.

 
There are also plenty of warrior goddesses, mothers and otherwise.

But these things are not likely to be all that relevant to theologies that have a "the goddess", so when you are talking about "the goddess" you are unlikely to hear about them.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

SunflowerP

  • Host
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Calgary AB
  • Posts: 8948
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 408
  • Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs!
    • View Profile
    • If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough
  • Religion: Eclectic religious Witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: sie/hir/hirs/hirself
Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2015, 01:55:06 am »
Quote from: Zephyrine;183081
I was really wondering because the Pagans I have known adhere to this idea of the goddess with stereotypically typical motherly qualities -- almost passive.

 
IME, pagans who view the Mother aspect that way generally do so because they want a deity who is always sympathetic, agreeable, uncritical, and undemanding (the same folks, by contrast, often see the Crone aspect as scary and mean). As I say, that's my own experience, and might not apply to the pagans you've known.

Sunflower
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
I do so have a life; I just live part of it online!
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” - Oscar Wilde
"Nobody's good at anything until they practice." - Brina (Yewberry)
My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

SunflowerP

  • Host
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Calgary AB
  • Posts: 8948
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 408
  • Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs!
    • View Profile
    • If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough
  • Religion: Eclectic religious Witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: sie/hir/hirs/hirself
Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2015, 02:09:05 am »
Quote from: Scales;183084
Also, of course, there's Hermaphroditus (not a deity but since you used the phrase hermaphrodite it seemed weird not to mention it).

 
Do you have a source for that? Because Theoi.com says they are.

Sunflower
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
I do so have a life; I just live part of it online!
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” - Oscar Wilde
"Nobody's good at anything until they practice." - Brina (Yewberry)
My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

Louisvillian

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: May 2013
  • Posts: 394
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 53
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Syncretic religio romana/Hellenised Romano-British religion
  • Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his
Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2015, 03:27:24 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;182803
Two, the Gravesian Maiden-Mother-Crone is NOT a required belief in paganism...

And, from my understanding, isn't necessarily even how Graves himself viewed the White Goddess of his eponymous book; it was a lot more complicated, with other kinds of goddess triads featuring into his concept of the Triple Goddess, as well as four-fold and five-fold goddesses. Nor, if my information is correct, did Gardner (initially) interpret the goddess of his religion as the Gravesian concept. At some point in the very late 1950s to the middle of the 1960s, Graves' ideas filtered in but got condensed into the MMC idea.

None of which invalidates the concept, in my opinion. Not my cup of tea, even when I did practise Wicca, but everyone's entitled to their own feelings.

Scales

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Nov 2013
  • Location: BC
  • Posts: 376
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2015, 03:55:32 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;183090
Do you have a source for that? Because Theoi.com says they are.

Sunflower

 
I thought Hermaphroditus was nymph+human, but didn't gain deity status, but I very well could be mistaken.

Lionrhod

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2013
  • Posts: 167
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
    • http://www.lionrhod.com
Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2015, 05:40:54 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;183089
IME, pagans who view the Mother aspect that way generally do so because they want a deity who is always sympathetic, agreeable, uncritical, and undemanding (the same folks, by contrast, often see the Crone aspect as scary and mean). As I say, that's my own experience, and might not apply to the pagans you've known.

Sunflower

 
LOL!

My own mother is sympathetic much of the time. Agreeable, uncritical, and undemanding...maybe not, at least not when she feels I'm in the wrong.

All of those are great qualities when dealing with an infant or toddler, but not quite as much when dealing with older children and adults.

We pagans (at least those who venerate/utilize a Mother) are supposd to be her ADULT - or at least trying to be adult - children, and thus must deal with a slightly different variety of Mom. "I love you, but did you do your homework? And why are you waving that stick around near your brother's face? Isn't it your turn to do dishes? Sneaking off to hang out with Hades again? That's it, you're grounded!"

As far as gentle, a mamma bear/tiger/your mammal (and some other species) of choice when their babies are threatened...gentle isn't a word I'd use.

The Crone CAN be scary. Face it, the issues she deals with: Transformation, binding, seeing into the Unknown, making decisions, etc. may well be scary choices. I actually wrote a song about that years ago. http://www.lionrhod.net/poetry/scary_crone_song.html She asks us to take responsibility for our choices, and some fear that.

As Scales pointed out, not all goddesses who have babies in their mythology are Mother archetypes. I mentioned Arianrhod in an earlier post, and despite that she is the mother of Dylan  and Llew Law Gyffes, she is not a Mother figure to them, but is instead a Crone, forcing action, choices and decisions.

And as pointed out by others, the Gravesian system of Maiden/Mother/Crone isn't the only one out there, and the OP may or may not desire to work with that.

There are certainly hermaphroditic, asexual and gender indeterminate deities in lore. Although I don't work with Shiva and thus can't shed much light there, that might be one place to start.
When given a choice between black and white, choose purple.
SpellCraft Secrets: The Art of Creating Magic Spells Made Easy 2nd edition, revised
Dark Moon Gates - Pagan YA Fantasy
Nenfari - FREE Dark Sword & Sorcery
The Spider\'s Yule Gift - A Children\'s Folktale & Polish Pagan Holiday Traditions
My Website

Aubren

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: May 2014
  • Posts: 126
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2015, 02:11:36 am »
Quote from: Zephyrine;182778
I am a celibate, adult woman. I don't have an with the male and female deities, but I am very uncomfortable with the goddess being defined as pre-sexual, sexual, and post-sexual when I am none of these things (I am not asexual, but choose celibacy because it allows me to lead a lifestyle that suits me). I am more like Artemis or Athena that the "Earth Mother".

 
It sounds like you feel that many pagans have a rather misogynistic and sex-focused approach to goddesses, and this makes you uncomfortable. You'd like to see more people who follow goddesses without this notion, yes?
Wazhazhe

Merin

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2013
  • Posts: 206
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2015, 11:58:25 am »
Quote from: Zephyrine;182778
I am a celibate, adult woman. I don't have an with the male and female deities, but I am very uncomfortable with the goddess being defined as pre-sexual, sexual, and post-sexual when I am none of these things (I am not asexual, but choose celibacy because it allows me to lead a lifestyle that suits me). I am more like Artemis or Athena that the "Earth Mother".


 
I think the intention of this post is to basically get a sense of who is with you, right?  And I think that's great. :)  

For me, I do see the Goddess in the sexual/nurturing way, but my main Goddess - is nothing like that, to say the least.  As many have said in the thread - you don't have to ascribe to the belief that the Goddess fits into the triple goddess mold.  There are many ideas about the Goddess - many that would suit your needs.  As you've already stated - Artemis and Athena are good Deities for you to worship.  You *get* Them - on some level.  That is also great.  

And for what its worth - if you do want to keep the "Earth Mother idea" - remember that Nature has a darker side.  She is not *always* coddling, not *always* nurturing.  Sometimes She is downright destructive. Also, you probably know this already, but the Goddess is defined by more than Her Sexuality and Her ability to create.  She is a whole Deity with many, many aspects.  (Bias: I *do* identify as a polytheist)

But I think you are looking for a role model - and I think you've found Her.

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
0 Replies
4216 Views
Last post July 06, 2011, 01:58:16 pm
by veggiewolf
2 Replies
1229 Views
Last post November 13, 2013, 12:26:59 pm
by Altair
19 Replies
1849 Views
Last post September 04, 2015, 11:31:29 pm
by Kraken
7 Replies
1236 Views
Last post March 07, 2019, 02:05:39 pm
by Local Magpie
13 Replies
1555 Views
Last post January 03, 2021, 08:29:43 am
by PerditaPickle

Beginner Area

Warning: You are currently in a Beginner Friendly area of the message board.

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 27
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 0

There aren't any users online.

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* Shop & Support TC

The links below are affiliate links. When you click on one of these links you will go to the listed shopping site with The Cauldron's affiliate code. Any purchases you make during your visit will earn TC a tiny percentage of your purchase price at no extra cost to you.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Host:
Sunflower

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Darkhawk

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall

SimplePortal 2.3.6 © 2008-2014, SimplePortal