From Bastet to Artemis, throughout history, the presence of goddesses has been written into human lore and mythology. but what does a modern goddess mean to us today?
The modern goddess is often associated with wicca or paganism, but it’s important to hold on to her image very broadly. all goddesses are considered different reflections of the one divine mother. immobilizing the goddess is a challenge, as believers claim that she expresses herself in many different ways on the physical, mental, and spiritual planes.
according to wikipedia, some people in the goddess movement recognize multiple goddesses. some also include gods. while others honor what they refer to as “the goddess,” which is not necessarily seen as monotheistic, but is often understood as an inclusive term encompassing many goddesses in many different cultures. The term “the goddess” can also be understood to include a multiplicity of ways of viewing the personified deity as female, as a metaphor, or as a process. Other names she has include the One Goddess, the Divine Mother, the Great Mother, the Divine Feminine, and the One Energy (or Source). as other believers say, “she is the embodiment of the divine feminine. she is mother nature, the earth-gaia; she is fertility and the changing of the seasons. she is the cycle of birth, life, death and regeneration – or rebirth; she is the creator of all that is, was and will be. where the god is hard and unyielding, the goddess is soft and malleable, embracing individual and human diversity, allowing for growth and expansion.”
The concept of a goddess can sound very abstract, which is why using a guided meditation can be so important. believenet has an excellent one that is very heavy on display and yet offers excellent guidance. discover for yourself what this deity means to you:
1. Begin your meditation by sitting in a quiet place. Mentally surround yourself with a zone of silence as if you had drawn a veil between yourself and the world. Gradually begin to slow down your breathing. as you inhale, then exhale, let your breath take you deeper and deeper. As the distractions of everyday life fade away, let your awareness drop into the inner chamber of your heart.
2. Next, imagine that you are walking down a path that takes you further and further away from civilization and into the heart of a primeval forest. as you follow this trail imagine you are going around and around trees that are hundreds of years old. flowers cover the ground and birds sing. In the distance you can hear the muffled roar of the waves of the sea, rising and falling, rising and falling, like music. the beat of your heart, your breathing and the waves of the sea follow the rhythm of nature.
3. Soon, the path you’re on leads you to a tiny ruined stone shrine, a place so ancient and hidden that time had forgotten it. densely covered with vines and gnarled branches, it is clear that no one entered this chapel for centuries, perhaps even thousands of years. you intuitively sense that something mysterious yet deeply familiar lies within these ruins of a forgotten sanctuary. you slowly push the door and enter. when you open the door, something ancient and timeless also opens inside your soul.
4. once you cross the threshold, you find yourself immersed in an atmosphere that is sacred and holy. Vaulted ceilings arch over a rough stone altar in front. candles are burning, there is a smell of fragrant incense. On an altar is a statue of the female deity, the goddess. her face is so aged and dark with time, the lines of her body are so worn from the contact of praying hands that you can’t even tell what religion she belongs to. she is simply the mother, god as woman, to whom the world turns in all her pain and suffering. She is Sofia, Kwan Yin, Maria, Sarah, Fatima, White Buffalo Woman, Isis, Sita, Innanna, and Demeter. she is all the female faces of god, but she is more than that. she is the mother of life itself.
5. kneeling before her in reverence, you bow your head in prayer. you are immediately embraced by her being, and the cares and concerns of the world melt away, relieved in her loving acceptance of all your faults and human frailties. going even deeper into your meditation, the statue you are praying before suddenly comes to life as a real being and you now stand before the mystery of the living mother of all creation.
6. as it comes to life, the chapel fills with warm, golden light. now the old mother’s face brightens with feeling. sitting in front of her you look into her eyes. she penetrates your soul with a look that loves you to the depths of your being. emotions of gentleness, mercy and loving forgiveness emanate from her, flooding you in waves of bliss, healing all the parts of you that are wounded, broken and wounded. held in her arms, taken on her lap, you become like a little child with her mother. you touch her hair, her face with loving affection, and you feel her loving affection for you in return.
7. Going deeper into this experience, you begin to feel as if the body of the former mother is the gateway to the body of creation itself. going beyond the form of it, you enter into communion with the body of the earth: all the creatures of it, trees, oceans, rivers, mountains, cities and people. Going even beyond the earth, feel the ancient mother’s body expand into space, becoming the bodies of stars and planets and swirling galaxies that spread over the universe like a blanket of glittering jewels.
8. held in the womb of this mystery, you feel a powerful force, a sacred energy and the breath of life, the soul of the cosmos. feel the beat of your heart in time with the rhythm of life itself. slowly begin to bring your awareness back to your body, still sitting before the old mother in prayer. inhale deeply, taking in every cell of your body, every thought in your mind its nurturing loving love that sustains life. exhale, letting this energy flow from you like a river of grace that waters your life and the lives of all those you know and care for, with a torrent of blessings, happiness and well-being.
9. now close your meditation by bowing once more to the old mother. Get up and walk out of her humble little shrine, closing the door behind you. As you walk your way back to the life you left behind, remember that you carry a precious secret in your heart: faith in the goodness of life, the gift of love from the divine mother of the world.