Friday, April 24, 2009

She: Goddess Imagery in the Bible & Elsewhere

Today I would like to share two articles by writer and book maker Cari Ferraro. The first is called The Goddess in the Bible. In this article, Ms Ferraro writes about a moving female image of Wisdom she finds in an illustrated Catholic Bible; a book she tells us frankly is not her sacred book but one which does contain within it's pages - especially the images produced for this particular edition - potent traces of the Goddess:

This image of Wisdom as seen in a mirror has an astonishing effect on me: when I look at it I see myself in these pages. As my Cherokee friend said when she saw it, "It's the Grandmother!" The revolutionary thing about this image of an old woman, framed by phases of the moon, is that it appears in a Bible. She is illustrating Wisdom as a manifestation of the Divine Feminine, as She appears in parts of the Old Testament. I capitalize all of these words as a mark of respect, and could wish that the words Wisdom and She were also capitalized in the book as I have written them here, but they are not, because this book is a Catholic Bible.
...Images open up the possibility of poetry in these texts and have drawn me into reading and discovering traces of the old Goddess worship woven throughout the pages.Wisdom is anciently referred to as feminine: in both Hebrew (Hokhmah) and Greek (Sophia) the gender of the noun is feminine. Historically Goddess is symbolized by the Tree of Life, which is beautifully shown in this book. And though the church fathers tried to reframe the Song of Solomon as a love story between God and his chosen people of Israel, I'm not fooled. This is a beautiful description of the Sacred Marriage, an ancient ritual going back to Egyptian and Babylonian times, when the king of the land and priestess of the Great Mother consecrated the fertility of the land with sacred sex. Yes, this really is erotic poetry!
Read the whole article - it's a beautiful piece.

I would also recommend another article by her titled Oh My Goddess which is about her encounter with goddess art at PantheaCon.



Related Articles:

13 Moons: Why 13 Is My Lucky Number

Recovering From Our Culture: Why Words Matter

Recommended Reading:

The Hebrew Goddess By Raphael Patai

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition To the Sacred Feminine by Sue Monk Kid


Wisdom from the St. Johns bible, Heritage Edition, found at Cari Ferraro: Views and Musings


(Egyptian figurine 1570 - 1293 BCE) by WitsEnd at flickr - used with permission

Update 4/30/09: Cari was kind enough to write this to me today:

The editor of the San Francisco calligraphy guild picked up on the post and asked to publish it in their quarterly journal, Alphabet, which is fairly well read in the calligraphy community. I expanded on the history paragraph and included some pictures from Erich Neumann's The Great Mother. So the article has taken on another life and will be in print soon...I learned later from my friend the illuminator (Suzanne Moore, who put the ancient goddesses in her picture) that she received an email from the St. John's people about my post the same day I published it, so word traveled very fast.
Great news, Cari! I very much look forward to seeing and reading more of your work in future.

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