Goddess Mythology Assignments
“Myths are the stories of the human race that we dream onward.” (Joseph Campbell)
“The horizon behind us is littered with the rubble of civilizations which have failed to renew themselves, have failed a challenge to somehow transcend their opposites in something that will combine in balance both the masculine and the feminine, and in their union create something greater than the sum of their parts.” (Laurens van der Post)
1. The Sacred —
What opens the channel for energy to flow between humans and the divine? What are some of the practices, ceremonies/rituals, stories, visualizations, folk and fairy tales that connect us to the myths of the goddess, and to the earth? Their purpose is to re-unite the part with the whole — (the stubborn division of Zoe and Bios). “Re-linking” is the origin of the word “Religion”, and it is at the heart of the religious quest. It’s a process of drama and of transformation. These are the rituals that humanity has always used to regain balance, health, and our original state of connection and participation with The One. We pray to the unity of our once-whole consciousness to redeem us from our suffering. We ask forgiveness, give thanks and gratitude, and make requests. Prayer is that act of saying two simple things—Thank you, and Help me. All people have done this. Life was seen as sacred once, on Mother Earth, and in the myths of the Great Goddess, we connect to the Divine Feminine, and the cosmos—the “more-ness” of our existence. We seek the vision of life as a living unity. Humans have always known that this is a way to shatter the ego-self and to view the void. Our sacred consciousness is a way to feel the workings of nature and to join in. This is how we have always sought to close the distance. What do you do?
2. The Political —
What do these myths tell us about power and the control of societies and cultures? How have the myths been manipulated to serve the interests of the powerful, to legitimize their rules and their actions? What do these myths tell us about power, privilege, and oppression? What do they show us about the relationships between men and women, humans and nature, humans and the divine? How have they changed as power has shifted over time? What happened to the goddess image, and who exactly did those changes serve over vast eras of human time? Why and how does it serve them? How are our modern myths, chiefly Judeo-Christianity and Islam still control the cultural narrative? How are our modern institutions still mired in this myth? Now we see that another world is possible, because our assumptions about the natural warlike nature of humans is challenged by another view. What seemed inevitable and True is disrupted by the vision of the ecological wholeness of The Goddess. Now we see that we’ve always had a choice of perception and belief, and that myths are so powerful to humans. How has this great reversal happened, and what can happen now?
3. The Historical/ Research —
The research aspect of this material represents the continuous transmission of images through out history. It’s been described as “working with a giant jig-saw puzzle in which most of the pieces are lost or broken.” How do we translate the muteness of culture? How have we studied the ancient past; who tells the stories of history? What are the steps of artistic and archeological analysis, and the over-determination of symbols from a pre-literate time? Where/what are the biases of this vast interpreting—not of words—but of ideas, and emotions. Describe how these myths and cultures were translated for us, and what the meaning is behind different translations (well-funded patriarchal white male archeologists vs. Maria Gimbutas, for example). If our culture were mute, what would future beings see and interpret from our remains?
4. The Psychological —
What does it mean to be human? How do archetypes and symbols determine our psyches and our cultures? Myths are psychological maps that detail the evolution of human consciousness. They actualize abstract concepts, like Zoe and Bios, into goddesses and gods who carry those ideas into our consciousness as stories. Write about archetypes—those universal symbols that inhabit the consciousness of all people in all places, over all of human time. Think about the power of having access to a support system of female-and-earth validation, dedicated to revering nature. How different, psychologically, is the foundation of life-as-self-renewing from life-as-competitive-struggle-and-then-you-die? Our culture believes mostly in a straight line to death, and then a heaven-or-hell outcome for eternity. What does this fear-based myth do to our psyches and our spirits? In addition, psychologists today have discovered that our current polarity is evidence of a lower, less developed stage of cognitive and emotional development. Our wounds of opposition and separation are causing us to destroy all of life. How to explain this? And, knowing this, where do we go from here?
Goddess Class Imaginative Assignments
This assignment is to semester to write a fictional story about life as a woman when god was a woman—when the female was divine and all things came from her and we knew that. How did your life reflect this deep connection to the Earth and the Goddess?
- You can place yourself in the Stone Age as Paleolithic cave women who's never known war or patriarchy. In the honoring of elders, children, and of course, Nature, what are your days like there?
- OR, you can choose to be in the Neolithic, inventing agriculture, pottery, writing, textiles, everything, and tell what your days are like there. Crete, who’s art was so spectacular, and women so powerful that they leaped bulls, and they went everywhere bare-breasted, proud, and safe.
- You can alternatively write about living in matrilineal societies during the invasions, when the Mediterranean, Europe, The Fertile Crescent were being overwhelmed by patriarchal invaders. These wars of conquest went on for thousands of years, bringing new gods and unheard-of violence. Also, the older ways stayed for much of that time, adopted, changed—In the micro, how did that affect your daily life; in the macro, how did it change your culture?
- You can set your characters in the Bronze or Iron Ages. From this historical perspective, imagine you live in Ancient Greece and the rapes by Zeus and his sons, or you may choose to live in Sumeria when Marduk dis-membered Tiamat. You can fight back against the great inversion, or you can show how you play along to be safe. Or imagine how you, as male or female in this turbulent time, could be convinced to let go of your traditions.
- Or set yourself up in The Middle Ages, where the Inquisition took women and the Goddess down to the level of Satan for the sake of science, religion, capitalism—all the infant institutions of patriarchy. How did so many women fight back, practice midwifery, or go into hiding? How did you practice your ancient outlawed rituals in secrecy, with all the powers lined up against you?
- Or you can write about NOW, coming back today—2018—under Donald Trump from millennia of domination, and growing more aware of patriarchy as an enveloping system. How have women continued to hold in our hearts Sacred Nature and The Goddess? What has our journey of rising entailed, and our surviving, as we take the many and various actions to deny patriarchy any more power, and to lift us all up to our rightful place as equals in the world? Is this another epoch of the evolution of human consciousness as we abandon the stuckness and despair of our current time?
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