The Original Great Mother Tradition
Mother Worship

MatriTalks 42

GODDESSES

Questions & Answers
with
Han Marie Stiekema Sermes

Q. What do you think of recent interest in "Goddesses?". How do you explain their popularity?

A. We as men have no idea, what it is to live without Divine role models. We consider it as self-evident, that the entire pantheon is male-oriented. Women on the other hand, were deprived of this for several millennia. It is like living like a stranger in a foreign world.

Q.  Yeah, the only model left was Mary.

A. In the West, Catholic girls were forced to identify with a subordinate, serving, self-sacrificing and characterless figure. Not surprisingly thus, that many of them turned their back to traditional belief.

Q. Do you link the rise of the Goddesses to it?

A. I think the need for feminine "idols" is as old as history. It started with A Major One, after all. The memory of "ancient times" is deeply engraved in the mind of women (and not only them). The crucial factor is the collapse of patriarchal dominance e.g. the oppression of the church. Having reclaimed their own territory, the need for inspiring Deities grew accordingly.

Q. To suddenly find yourself in a new space, must be very exciting. However, I can imagine you may also feel lost in it.

A. That's right. Women used to be always objects. Suddenly they had to define themselves as subjects, finding their "true" identity. It is here, that Goddesses are fulfilling a role.

Q. So, what could possibly be the function of Goddesses in the life of modern women?

A. For that, we first have to go back to the past. As you know, originally there is the Great Mother, as the Omni-Present Reality of the universe. She is the Cosmic Womb embracing the entire existence. She "embodies" the primordial forces, consisting of death, preservation and rebirth. From my earlier remarks you will remember, that it is exactly those forces, from which males tried to escape. Hence, with the increase of the latter's power, the power of the Original Mother was disintegrating. Her awful Law of the Universe started to split into its various parts. Those parts or aspects became Goddesses.

Q. Please, go on.

A. Loss of power became compensated by availability. Aspects are more approachable than the Whole. This exactly suits the need of women of today. They are searching not for "getting rid" of their identity, but to build it up.

Q. So, there are two opposite forces, each with its own dynamics and logic.

A. If you suffer from ego-obsession, then you need to "empty yourself"; if on the other hand you need to empower yourself (your personality), you need something you can identify with.

Q. It almost seems, that the Mother is for men, while the Goddesses are for women. Am I right?

A. There is certainly some truth in it. Women have a tendency "to incorporate" things (persons), while men have a tendency of emptying themselves.  Biology could play a greater role, than we originally thought.

Q.  What are the aspects women especially need nowadays?

A. Everything that could strengthen their identity. Obviously, this is a very personal matter. The Goddesses' function is to (temporarily) fill up gaps. Once a particular need has been met, then the corresponding Goddess can "be dropped". She is revered as long as you need Her. After a while you feel the need of paying attention to another aspect of your personality. Thus, rather than "strength" you need "passion"; or instead of "security" you need "wildness". For every aspect you have to choose a different Goddess. That's why the Goddess "religion" is polytheistic.

Q. Isn't this exactly the criticism of representatives of monotheism? They say, Goddesses have nothing to do with religion. They are just projections of the mind, serving the interest of your personality only.

A. They are right in a sense. However, what they overlook is, that after so many millennia of oppression (by them), it is the legitimate right of women to ask for help from the Divine (whatever it is), to reclaim their selfsame Self. It is up to them, what they want to choose. The danger is of course, that Goddesses only become tools, serving your self-centered aims and goals. Thus, the question "what for?" proves to be decisive. Does one uses the Goddess exclusively for the purpose of supporting her materialistic life, or will the latter have a function in a process of Transformation, as part of the striving to contribute to A Feminine World View? In the first case, She is degraded as a purely utilitarian "thing", a commodity, like all others; in the second case, She is really revered as a Deity, guiding you on your spiritual Path. Crucial is to all the time realize, that the Goddess is an aspect of the Mother. Putting the Goddess in the context of the Mother, the Mother is transferring Her Power through the Goddess to you. On the other hand, isolating the Goddess as "a separate phenomenon" the latter soon becomes powerless. She won't bring you lasting fulfillment.

Q. As always you amazes me with your original view on things.

A. Originality comes from the Origin.

Q. One more crucial question though. What in modern times could be the relationship between the Goddesses and the Great Mother?

A. By incorporating Goddesses as aspects of yourself, you work on "healing" the Original Mother (of course, what you actually heal is your perception of the Mother). It is a process of integration. After having restored your integrity - having incorporated many Goddesses - you may take the leap to the Mother once again. Again, the Path of women often proves to be opposite to that of men. Men have a tendency to directly approach the "Big Thing", while women like to build things bottom-up. Women are "weavers", while men are "conquerors" (If I may say....laughter).

Q. Thus, men and Goddesses do not attract each other very much?

A. No, you cannot say that. Men revere the Goddess as part of their healing process, as well. However, contrary to women, they are rebuilding only their feminine part ("anima"), while for women their entire identity is at stake.

Okay for today?

Don't forget the Mother.

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Last revising: 02/07/10