Mary As Goddess: Mother

Mary As Goddess:
Mother

Blessed is the womb that bare thee

and the paps which thou has sucked.

–Luke 11:27

“The milk of sweetness

will overflow everywhere in a torrent.

–St. Bernard, Sermon 9, Cantica Canticarum


Life-Giver

Throughout the ages, the female divine has been venerated as “Life-Giver,” and Mary is no exception. Fertility and abundance are associated with The Mother who gives life from her womb and nourishment from her breasts. The Mother is the Provider of all life, for all life. As Mother, Mary is linked to Isis, Artemis,
Cybele, and Demeter.

Isis was one of the first Madonnas, frequently protrayed as nursing Horus, her Divine Son. She was highly venerated during the years of the early Christian church, and most scholars agree that the cult of Isis strongly influenced the cult of Mary.

“Our Lady of Light” was one of Isis’ many titles, and in one sacred story, she gave birth to the sun. It is no coincidence that Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Mary’s son, The Christ, is celebrated at the same time of year as Winter Solstice, the celebration of the re-birth of the sun, the return of the light.

Isis
from Sacred Source

The name Isis translates as “throne,” the seat
of power. The Divine Son, Horus gained authority from sitting on his
mother’s lap. Many statues of Isis and Horus in this posture were later
renamed and dedicated as Madonna and Child. (See
The Black Madonna
.) This is particularly true of statues which
name Mary as “Theotokos,” the God-Bearer.

Mary was named “Theotokos” at Ephesus, in
431, where she eventually took over the temples of Artemis,
the many-breasted Mother Goddess (also worshiped under the name, Diana).
Artemis was known as the Mother of Mercy, one of Mary’s titles. Mary’s
mercy was sometimes bestowed through her breasts, which figured in
many miracles and legends. It is said that milk from her breasts healed
St. Bernard and also St. Teresa.

Cybele, “The Mother of All,” is also clearly linked to Mary. Cybele is the dark Earth Mother, the Mother of Caves. Some of Mary’s most famous shrines and apparitions are located in caves. Originally worshiped in the form of a raw meteor, Cybele is also linked to the
Black Madonna
.

As Goddess of Grain, Demeter, freely loaned her attributes to Mary as well. The Earth Mother has always been responsible for protecting and ensuring the health of crops. As a Mother Goddess, this falls into Mary’s sphere. Grain miracles attributed to Mary decked many church walls and stained glass windows by the late Middle Ages. In one Christian legend, grain sprouted from a barren field that Mary passed during her flight into Egypt. Madonna del Spica in Italy holds sheaves of wheat in her arms, as does Our Lady of the Prairie in North Dakota.

Mother Mary provides — through her breasts, through the earth, through her words, miracles and appearances. As Goddess, she is World Mother, the Mother of us all.

Our Lady of The Prairie

Powers, North Dakota

20th Century

References


The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

By Barbara Walker


The Once and Future Goddess

By Elinor Gadon



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