Aren’t We All Divine Children? by Janet MaiKa’i Rudolph

Consider the following four birth stories:

  1. A high priestess became pregnant in a manner that was forbidden in her society. She gave birth to a baby boy. Fearing for her child’s life, she fashioned a basket of rushes and cast him into a river. He was retrieved by a man named Akki whose name means “the drawer of water.” Akki raised the boy.
  2. A son was born to a young princess who had been forced to keep her pregnancy a secret because it was forbidden. When her son was born, she placed him in a basket and floated him down the river. He was found and raised by foster parents. He grew up to become a noted warrior, speaker and eventually a king. 
  3. A young boy accidentally ingested some drops of star-studded wisdom from the cauldron of a goddess and, in this manner, was suddenly awakened to divine knowledge. The goddess grew furious that her divine wisdom was stolen. Desperate to escape her life-threatening wrath, a wild chase ensued. The boy turned himself into a rabbit, but the goddess turned herself into a dog to chase him down. The boy turned himself into a fish to swim away but the goddess became an otter to continue the chase. The boy then turned himself into a bird, but the goddess became a hawk. Finally, the boy turned himself into a seed and hid in a large pile of grain. The goddess turned herself into a hen and ate up all the grain including the boy-as-seed. In this manner she found herself pregnant. She planned to kill the baby when he was born, but when she saw him, he was so beautiful that she fell in love and she could not bring herself to do so. The goddess sewed the baby into a leather sack and threw him into the river. He was retrieved by a man named Elphin who renamed and raised him.
  4. A woman of the priestly caste of her tribe gave birth to a baby boy. At the time, all boys born to her tribe were under a decree of death. To save her son’s life, she created a basket of reeds and floated him down the river. He was found by a royal princess who retrieved him from the water, gave him a new name and raised him to adulthood.

The first story is that of an Akkadian hero king named Sargon I or Sargon the Great who lived circa 23rd – 24th centuries BCE. He is best known for conquering much of Mesopotamia, the same general area of Biblical events, albeit much earlier. He is credited with introducing the concept of an empire and was lauded as the founder of a dynasty of kings throughout the region.

The second story is Karna’s birth tale from the Hindu Mahabharata. His father was the Hindu sun deity, Surya. His mother was a princess who later became a queen. His foster parents named him Vasusena. It is said that the boy had the feet of his mother and glowed with the illumination of his father.

The third story is the birth legend of Taliesin, the bard/poet/shaman of Britain. Taliesin was said to have lived in the 6th century CE.

The fourth story is the biblical tale of Moses.

Even though the four birth stories span cultures thousands of miles apart and time periods of over thousands of years, there are a myriad of common mythic themes here.

The mother in each case was a princess, priestess or a goddess, each with a connection to the divine. Sargon was the son of the high priestess. Jochebed, Moses’s mother was a Levite, a member of the priestly caste, potentially a priestess in her own right. Taliesin’s second birth mother was Cerridwen, known as the goddess of Britain. In Karna’s case, his mother was a princess who coupled with a deity.  

All four were floated down a river in a basket or a sack to escape from life-threatening danger. All were retrieved and raised by their rescuers. At least three of them were given new names upon their retrieval. The Celtic boy was originally named Gwion and became Taliesin. The pharaoh’s daughter gave her adoptee the name Moses. The name in ancient Egyptian means “son.”

In short, each of our heroes had two birth experiences: The first through the watery amniotic fluid of their physical mothers and the second in their traversing watery passages in reed or leather baskets. Metaphorically through the birth passage of the Great Goddess.

Moses is sometimes treated as a historical character. He might be, but there is no extra-Biblical source that mentions him. Perhaps he, like so many ancient “heroes,” is a mythic character brought to human size and human experience for the purpose of storytelling.

And perhaps the most pertinent, especially in relation to this Feminism and Religion site, is the echoing of the theme of the son or it’s more likely roots – “child.”  The sacred “child” became “son” because these stories were written in patriarchal times. We find more female heroes in fairy tales which can be traced to older traditions.

The overarching theme becomes a special child who was born and derived power from the Great Mother Goddess.

There is a lot written about the mythic archetype of the “son of the sun.” I am proposing that the original template of hero/prophets/spiritual leaders would be the archetype of “the child of the Great Goddess.” In other words, this is a template that embodies each and every one of us. Just as Moses was a child of the Great Goddess, so, too, are we.

And don’t we all have two birth lineages as well? It could be said that our physical bodies are birthed from our physical mothers and represent our earthly lineage. It could also be said that our soul or spirit is birthed directly from the Great Goddess and represent our heavenly or royal lineage.  We all have access to walk the royal path in our own lives.


Janet Maika’i Rudolph. “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE QUEST.” I have walked the spirit path for over 25 years traveling to sacred sites around the world including Israel to do an Ulpan (Hebrew language studies while working on a Kibbutz), Eleusis and Delphi in Greece, Avebury and Glastonbury in England, Brodgar in Scotland, Machu Picchu in Peru, Teotihuacan in Mexico, and Giza in Egypt. Within these travels, I have participated in numerous shamanic rites and rituals, attended a mystery school based on the ancient Greek model, and studied with shamans around the world. I am twice initiated. The first as a shaman practitioner of a pathway known as Divine Humanity. The second ordination in 2016 was as an Alaka’i (a Hawaiian spiritual guide with Aloha International). I have written three books: When Moses Was a ShamanWhen Eve Was a Goddess, (now available in Spanish, Cuando Eva era una Diosa), and One GodsIn Ardor and Adventure, available in Spanish.  Cuando Eva era una Diosa

Categories: Bible, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, General, Goddess, Goddess feminism, Myth, Shamanism

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

23 replies

  1. What a great post, Janet. Thank you for clearly demonstrating that stories (or “truth” according to some) don’t appear out of nowhere. They are passed down from one generation to the next and subsequently tweaked to fit the needs of the people who inhabit those stories.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Well put Esther, I agree. Stories become “truth” when they are repeated over and over and used in different contexts. I think of them as underlying paradigms and truly we can’t deal with them unless we look at them carefully because the lessons they teach are so often unconscious, just part of the background noise of our beliefs. I feel that only by looking at them carefully and re-working them can we begin to build new and more nurturing, more functional stories.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful thoughtful post. I love the way you bring the mythic themes together so eloquently – what’s important about these stories is that we see the great goddess as a birther of the child – perhaps the child of creativity?

    Patriarchy has distorted these stories again and again – but we see through them don’t we?

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Very interesting. I like the idea that these four stories in some way describe us all and that we’re all divine children. If only young mothers were treated more like princesses,,,,,,,but in this patriarchal, often misogynistic world?? How likely is that?? And let’s celebrate daughters as much as we celebrate sons. It’s past time for the Goddess to rise again and take care of all Her children. Bright blessings!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. A really insightful post! I had never thought of the connection between those stories or to daughters and goddesses and I appreciate this new perspective! The channel for the rebirth being the river is interesting because rivers are so often associated with goddesses, or are the goddess, such as many rivers in Celtic lands, the Ganges, and others. Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Carolyn. And thank you for pointing out about how often rivers are connected with goddesses. I love that about rivers. There is also the Nile in Egypt and the Amazon in South America. Even the Jordan in Israel. The one I probably know the most about is the Nile and there were temples all up and down the river all focused on rites of passage, birth and transformation.


  5. Fascinating to see these stories from different times and cultured laid alongside each other this way. So interesting that fairy and folk tales give us more female protagonists. Subject for another post?

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Thanks, Janet, for this interesting post. Seeing mythical parallels in such different cultures is fascinating. As you mention, all of the cultures are patriarchal, a fact that results in a male child. I would ask if the double birthing is also a patriarchal artifact, since the first birth — namely from a woman — in each of the stories is not sufficient to create a hero. Nancy Jay writes about this with respect to the need for sacrifice in her book _Throughout Your Generations Forever: Sacrifice, Religion, and Paternity_. She demonstrates that religouns that sacrifice (and that includes Christianity) do so as the remedy for having been born of woman. And many feminist scholars of Hinduism note the “second birth” of boys when becoming Brahmins., overcoming the first birth from a female. It makes me wonder.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Really interesting concept Nancy. Here is my take and before I give it, I just want to say that even if my take has basis for spiritual truth, that doesn’t negate other takes on this. So for example, a thread of this complicated tapestry that views sacrifice as a “remedy” for birth can also have merit esp as the theme has grown in different cultures – some more or less functional that others.

      In my own spiritual work, I have come to see our two births are one from our human mother and one from the Great Goddess herself. Our human mother gives us our human ancestry and our human body birth and ultimately the Great Goddess gives us the birth of our souls or spirits, our divine lineage. In some cultures we are considered the “rainbow bridge” – the place where human and divine meet. We become manifest meaning that it is in our human lives that we are all actually divine humans. In my work, a 2nd birth isn’t a “remedy” but is a reflection of our dual origins. Am I making sense?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understand what you’re saying, and it makes sense to me, but I’m a member of this culture, where women as well as men are agents of patriarchy. We need a second birth if our birth mother hasn’t been able to give us the lineage(or connection) to the divine. Within a Christocentric culture, that is only beginning to change, since women can now be ministers, but of course, not priests.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It is amazing how these and so many other birth/creation stories and are in a way similar at their core. And yet so disturbing that we’ve been conditioned to forget the Mother god(dess)

    Love your post..and your quest.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. i totally agree with you. time to retell them that way, as we do here — past time! i love the light you shine on these stories!

    Liked by 1 person


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