Part 1 was posted yesterday. You can read it here.
Arriving in Heraklion on Crete, I was enlivened by the sea air and the informal “island” vibration. My sister and I made our way through its labyrinthine streets, following Daedalus, a pedestrian street named after the legendary creator of the labyrinth at Knossos, the prototype of the artist, who Joyce names as his stand-in in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. Our hotel was on Theotokopolous Street. (They’d call you El Greco too if your name was Domenikus Theotokopolous.) Nikos Kazantzakis was also from Heraklion, a city noted for its artists.
Knossos was a small, contained place circled by pine trees, unlike the sprawling sun-drenched expanse of a typical archeological site. There were restored ocher columns, four storeys to the palace, open courtyards for bull leaping, and cisterns that had been used for self-purification. Its red clay and turquoise frescoes were so familiar to me, with their vivid colors and playful lines that Matisse could have envied. No wonder it was the prototype of a work of art!
Continue reading “TRAVELOGUE INTO HISTORY: MY BIG FAT GREEK ODYSSEY (Part 2) by Sally Mansfield Abbott”
Queen Maya, the Mother of the Buddha of our age, who before his Enlightenment was known as Siddhartha Gautama, died shortly after his birth. So the future Buddha was raised by his aunt and stepmother. It is said that the womb of the Buddha’s Mother needed to remain unsullied by further pregnancies. This is similar to the belief that Mary Mother of Christ did not bear any more children after Jesus, which is held by some Christian traditions.
In addition, the Buddha’s conception and birth were both miraculous, according to the legend and some Mahayana texts (such as the 44th chapter of the Gandavyuha Sutra). The Buddha was conceived when a white elephant entered Queen Maya’s right side, or, in the Sutra, light entered the Queen’s body. The Buddha was born from his Mother’s right side. The light was emanating from every pore of the body of the Bodhisattva Buddha, while he resided in the Tusita (joyous) heaven before descending to earth. This light reminds us of the golden rain form that Zeus took to reach Danaë in her cell to conceive Perseus, and links these two Indo-European patriarchal discourses. Continue reading “Mother of All Buddhas by Oxana Poberejnaia”
In the Jewish and Christian traditions, Wisdom (Hochma in Hebrew, Sophia in Greek) is a female figure who is an aspect of deity. This has been forgotten for many years, but people are beginning to re-discover Her.
There was a time when Power and Good counsel walked hand in hand. That was the springtime of the world. In those days men and women honoured each other and honoured also the living world. The sun, moon and stars, the winds, the waters, and even the rocks themselves were known to be alive. In those days Death was no enemy, but a friend to be welcomed when She made the invitation to visit Her country.
But Good Counsel became pregnant, and Power began to be afraid. He feared first that the coming child would take Good Counsel away from him. And then he feared that their child would so well combine the features of the two of them that it would in due course put him down from his place.
Power devised a plan. He opened his mouth to its widest, and pushed Good Counsel in, swallowing her whole. He now felt free of his fears. He began to claim that all the good counsel in the world now belonged to him, and so he declared that it was only fitting he should rule all the world. Though many opposed his claim, he persuaded, and sometimes bullied, others into believing that this opposition was due to bad counsel. And so, though many grumbled and secretly worshipped elsewhere, he set himself up as ruler of the world. Continue reading “OF POWER, GOOD COUNSEL, AND WISDOM by Daniel Cohen”
A man in the group leaned forward and asked, “But how did the Goddess get overcome?” So I told him. Young “warrior heroes” came galloping out of the Russian steppes and the Caucasus Mountains, including Afghanistan, which no one (not even Alexander the so-called Great) has ever conquered. The boys were carrying their thunder-solar-sky gods with them.
I attended a book club at a beautiful metaphysical bookstore a few weeks ago where we discussed the conquest of matrilineal civilizations by the patriarchy. A man in the group leaned forward and asked, “But how did the Goddess get overcome?” So I told him. As my friend Miriam Robbins Dexter writes in her essay in The Rule of Mars, young “warrior heroes” came galloping out of the Russian steppes and the Caucasus Mountains, including Afghanistan, which no one (not even Alexander the so-called Great) has ever conquered. The boys were carrying their thunder-solar-sky gods with them. Those gods included Jehovah, Zeus, Jupiter, and Ares. (Allah arrived later.) Some of these young “heroes” were outlaws “who live[d] at the edge of society and are connected in legend and myth to wolves, dogs, or other animals.” Dexter does not use the term “biker gangs,” but that’s what they were. Testosterone-crazed invaders out to have a good time. They ran over every goddess and temple in their path, and to make themselves seem more legitimate, they “married” former Great Goddesses (like Hera) to their thunder gods (Zeus). Their gods are famous for hurling lightning bolts, enticing their generals to invade peaceful, Goddess-worshipping lands (like Canaan), and populating their new turf via rape, which is how the innumerable sons of Zeus were conceived. More recently, during the last two or three millennia, one of those gods has inspired his prophets and preachers to roar about sin and hell and idol-worship and punishment. The new gods and their carriers thus planted the seeds of warfare in society and its literature. I describe one such invasion in the prologue of Secret Lives, where after a horrific vision that causes her the blind herself, the shaman sends her people out into the world to escape the coming hooligans on their horses and become the secretive, dark “little people” of Europe. Continue reading “Where Did the Gods Come From? by Barbara Ardinger”