The Dark Goddess in the Judeo-Christian Tradition
Every culture and religious/spiritual tradition has its dark goddess. There is Kali in the Hindu religion, Pele in the Hawaiian culture, the Celts have the Morrigan, the Sumerian’s had their goddess Erishkegal who ruled over the Underworld. Each of these dark goddesses had their own unique gifts and purposes within the mythologies of these ancient cultures. Some were creators, others destroyers, some held sway over dark magic and others presided over the transformational journey – both in life and in the time between. Whatever her gifts and her purpose, the dark goddesses’ presence was integral to the health and wellbeing of the culture.
The same can be said of the dark goddesses within the Judeo-Christian tradition, but unlike the pre-Christian cultures who speak openly about their dark goddesses, building altars in their honor, performing rituals and celebrations on their behalf, marking their feast days as an integral part of the cycle of the year, the Judeo-Christian dark goddesses remain in the shadows. She is known only by those (mostly) women who have dared to risk condemnation and banishment by acknowledging the presence of the dark goddess and speaking her names; for unlike her pre-Christian counterparts, the dark goddess of the Judeo-Christian tradition has been suppressed, even demonized, in favor of the patriarchal, hierarchical god.
The Goddess, whether of darkness or light, however, cannot remain in the shadows and will find her way out, making herself known in whatever way she wishes. As the Goddess in her light form has found her way out in the Christian Mother Mary, so too has the dark goddess made herself known in the pseudo-historical/mythological women who have played pivotal roles in Judeo-Christian his/herstory. These are the women who suffered condemnation under patriarchal rule and who were made scapegoat for the sins of the men who ruled. These were the women who were leaders in their own right, but were later condemned as witches, harlots or whores. These were the women who played the role of transformer, but were later judged as evil. These were the Goddesses who ruled as equal beside their masculine counterpart but who were later set aside in favor of a god who is only man.
Lilith – Adam’s “first wife,” made of the same substance as Adam.
Eve – The Mother of the Living
The Witch of Endor – Counsel to the King
Bathsheba – Mother of Wisdom
Asherah – Co-ruler with Yahweh
Jezebel – Priestess of Asherah
Chokhmah – Holy Wisdom
Mary Magdalene – Co-equal with Christ
Salome – Making the Way for Christ
The Whore of Babylon – Catalyst for Change
In all her forms, the Dark Goddess of the Judeo-Christian tradition performs one task, she presides over the process of transformation. In this role, she is the harbinger of death, a catalyst for change, the witness to the dying and midwife to new life. As is true of all Dark Goddesses, the Dark Goddess of the Judeo-Christian tradition in fierce. She dares the darkness of loss, suffers the unknown of the time in between and endures the pain that always comes in bringing forth new life. These are the gifts promised to those who give their allegiance to the Dark Goddess and the blessing imparted on those who simply find their way into her embrace through the challenges of their own life experience. For those with eyes to see, the Dark Goddess is alive and well in the Judeo-Christian tradition and lying in wait for those who seek after her blessings.
In this online course, you will have an opportunity to meet each of these Dark Goddesses of the Judeo-Christian tradition and through learning, meditation, creativity exercises and ritual, become attuned to their presence. With the support of the Dark Goddess, you will find the courage to move through the trials of life and be empowered, like her, to be a vehicle for transformative change.
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A note from Lauri on the Dark Goddess:
In the past several years, I have become more and more aware of my call to be a “shadow worker” (read my blog about shadow workers HERE). Having been raised Catholic and receiving the majority of my ministerial and counseling training through the Catholic Church, “shadow worker” was a phrase foreign to me, and admittedly brought up images of demons, the devil, and other evil things lurking in the shadows. What I have come to understand that shadow work is the Goddesses work, specifically, that of the Goddess in her “Dark” forms.
To me, the Dark Goddess is that which supports us in being present with that which others might avoid – fear, depression, melancholy, loneliness, evil, violence, disease and death. The Dark Goddess supports us in being present in and through these areas of “darkness” in our lives and this work is no less holy than holding someone in the light…in fact, it might be more holy. As I have reflected on this very real “shadow” experience in my life, I have come to understand that the Dark Goddess is not absent from the Catholic/Christian tradition in which I was raised, but is in fact, quite present. She is present for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear her voice which whispers to us through the words of the patriarchal agenda and the men who wrote the scriptural text. The Dark Goddess is where she should be found – hiding in plain sight….when we have the courage to look.
Click HERE to learn more and to register!