The Serpent and The Seed by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

I was so inspired by Judith Shaw’s blog post, “The Serpent and the Goddess” (Feb 26th) that I began to dust off my old notes on serpent imagery. I was reminded a concept that kept jumping out at me. In discussing the Kabbalah, Rabbi David A Cooper, writes that mystics describe the universe as the “the skin of the serpent.”[1] What a beautiful yet puzzling concept! I wanted to dig deeper.

The serpent’s connection to the Great Goddess has been an excellent place to begin this quest. Barbara Walker notes the etymological connection between the serpent, and the Great Goddess from the Bible whose name is Eve. Walker writes, “The names of Eve, the Serpent, and ‘Life’ are still derived from the same root in Arabic.”[2] But the Goddess connection is not the totality of the serpent’s magic. Continue reading “The Serpent and The Seed by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

Painting Tiamat/Tehom by Angela Yarber

angelaToday I am honored to give a lecture on “Queering Iconography: Holy Women Icons from Sappho to Pauli Murray” at the North Star LGBT Center in Winston-Salem, NC. So, I want to continue the theme of featuring some of my queer Holy Women Icons. Joining Virginia Woolf , the Shulamite, Mary Daly, Baby Suggs, Pachamama and Gaia, Frida Kahlo, Salome, Guadalupe and Mary, Fatima, Sojourner Truth, Saraswati, Jarena Lee, Isadora Duncan, Miriam, Lilith, Georgia O’Keeffe, Guanyin, Dorothy Day, Sappho, Jephthah’s daughter, Anna Julia Cooper, the Holy Woman Icon archetype, Maya Angelou, Martha Graham, Pauli Murray, La Negrita, and all my other Holy Women Icons with a folk feminist twist is the often overlooked and misunderstood primordial goddess of creation: tehom.

In Genesis 1 we read, “In beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.” It is the creation narrative held dear, formative, and meaningful for countless Jews and Christians. Interestingly, this word, deep, in Hebrew is tehom. Tehom translates as “deep or depths,” but it’s also a cognate for Tiamat, a Babylonian Goddess of creation. Out of the face of the deep, the world begins. Out of tehom, God creates. Out of Tiamat, the earth comes into being. This dancing Babylonian goddess syncretistically intermingles with the creation myth so pivotal to the faith of Christians and Jews in a way that could be terrifying, or beautiful, or—like the chaotic body of Tiamat that brings the world into being—both. Continue reading “Painting Tiamat/Tehom by Angela Yarber”

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