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Avatars

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: January 28, 2006
Latest Update: January 29, 2006

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site "Knowingness, Gods and Goddesses,"
and Jonathan Lear's Open Minded

A Goddess sculpture, sketched by jeanne at one of the Seattle art museums (in a park ten years ago, at least). The sculpture was identified as having been done between 1800 and 400 B.C. Notice the similarities to the Venus of Willendorf, below.

jeanne's sketch of Japanese sculpture of Mother goddess dated from somewhere between 1800 and 400 B.C.

Before you slip into the "arrogance of knowingness," check out on the last reference below what we really do "know" about such Goddess sculpture. That doesn't mean you can't fantasize as feminist religion, and "know" it really existed, just as jeanne "knows" her jaguars exist. Fantasy is therapeutic. But "knowingness" is something else. A certainty, one that Freire called "circles of certainty," one that scared him, for when we "know," we are no longer open to the affect of learnings.

References:

  • Adi Shakti's Descend.
    "The Meaning of Avatar:"

    "The term 'AVATAR' means one who was descended, but descended from where and to what? It means descended from Godliness to human form. Avatar means those who descended to Earth from the Spiritual world for the establishment of Dharma, preservation of the human race and promulgation of Sastra. Avatar means the person who descends, as a fully or partially empowered incarnation of Divine Mother Adhiparasakthi, from the spiritual realm for a particular mission. An Avatar is also called a Savior, that is a person who saves or rescues mankind from the danger of deterioration. When a savior appears on this Earth all are saved through his grace. [Emphasis added.]"

    . . .

    "The Avatar assumes various names and forms such as Rama, Krishna, Christ, etc at various places in various times, but all are the same Adhiparasakthi. All the Avatars that have come to this world are one and the same Adhiparasakthi. The Supreme personality of Godhead, Adhiparasakthi takes various incarnations and many sub-incarnations as well, but she is the original personality of Godhead known as Adhiparasakthi and She incarnates personally also."

    Photo of Venus of Willendorf from site below.
    Venus of Willendorf
    c.24,000-22,000 BCE
    Oolitic limestone
    43/8 inches (11.1 cm) high
    (Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna)

    For the long ages of the Paleolithic era, the Goddess reigned alone. She was the Origin, the Virgin Void out of which She was Self-created. She was present in all forms of life.

    From Adi Shakti's Descend. Scroll down about two and a quarter inches to find the quotes above.

  • Women in PreHistory, The Venus of Willendorf, by Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe. (Accessed on January 29, 2006.)

  • Gods and Goddesses British Museum site. Egyptian. Good color and reproductions. Short descriptions.

  • Ancient Goddesses: The Myths and the Evidence. By Lucy Goodison, Christine Morris, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press and British Museum Press, 1999. Pp. 224. ISBN 0-299-16320-2. $22.95.
    Contributors: Ruth Tringham and Margaret Conkey, Lynn Meskell, Joan Goodnick Westenholz, Karel van der Toorn, Fekri A. Hassan, Lucy Goodison and Christine Morris, Mary E. Voyatzis, Caroline Malone, Elizabeth Shee Twohig, Miranda J. Green

    Reviewed by Mary R. Lefkowitz, Wellesley College (mlefkowitz@wellesley.edu). Bryn Mawr Classical Review 1999.10.03.

    Good review of the considerable literature on the meaning of these artifacts that we have tended to call Mother Goddesses. Good example to remind us of the arrogance of "knowingness." We don't have a clue, folks.

    "In what has been taken to be the authoritative book on the subject, Marija Gimbutas' The Language of the Goddess, the female figures are shown sitting or standing, sometimes alone and sometimes flanked by infants or animals, remote from the world of other gods or adult humans.1 The Goddess is distinguished in these images not for her wit or moral strength or vengeful anger, but for her prominent breasts, gaping mouth, and her swollen belly, as if she were synonymous with her reproductive organs."

    " . . .

    "But could a religion that so precisely met the needs of the twentieth century C.E. have existed in the twentieth century B.C.E.? Certainly not in the form that Gimbutas, Campbell, or any of their predecessors imagined it. The present book shows why. Editors Lucy Goodison (University College, London) and Christine Morris (Trinity College, Dublin) explain in a brief, but informative introduction that in reality the Goddess is a recent creation, not of women in the distant past, as many of her enthusiasts suppose, but of male academics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

    "By the 1960s archaeologists had begun to question the existence of the Goddess, in part because they saw what extravagant deductions were being made on the basis of a fragmentary body of material evidence. . . . There are many different kinds and types of goddesses, but no Goddess. Here is a brief account of the some of the significant material in this detailed and extensively documented book.

    " . . . the importance of context, and the difficulty of interpreting it. Why were so many houses burned in the Neolithic-Eneolithic period (5500-3500 B.C.E.)? Gimbutas blamed accident or invasion; but ritual may offer a more plausible explanation, signifying a symbolic destruction or even preservation of the house and the people, especially women, represented by figurines buried within it.

    " . . . Although Mellaart identified female figurines as representations of the Goddess, he did not deduce from animal figurines that there were animal gods, or postulate from the many male figures found on the site that there was a "Great Father God". Nor did he try to account for some puzzling combinations, both of animals and genders, including the famous seventh millennium B.C.E. female figurine often identified as the "Great Mother". Her protuberant "breasts" may actually be animal heads. Meskell concludes that because of all these uncertainties, interpretations of Çatalhöyük probably tell us more about ourselves than about the past."

    From Ancient Goddesses: The Myths and the Evidence, reviewed by Mary R. Lefkowitz, Wellesley College (mlefkowitz@wellesley.edu). in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 1999.10.03. Accessed on January 29, 2006.



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