Although western religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam have tried to erase worship of the Goddess by instituting a monotheistic religion serving a male God, they haven't completely erased the Goddess from our thoughts and our souls.
Even in modern times within Christianity, many women practice the veneration of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This practice allows women to develop their unique blend of spirituality within the Christian faith. However, with as much as the church has done to persecute women for centuries, I would argue that the church isn't a safe place for women.
By finding our way back to the Goddess in modern times, women can find liberation from the slavery of the patriarchy that tries to hold us down. By finding a female face of the divine, we can find ourselves reflected in her. It allows us to see ourselves in a spirituality that is all our own.
History of Goddess religions
Throughout history, many religions have worshiped one or more Goddesses. Some of these religions had a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses, and some worshiped a Goddess as mother of all. This allowed for a female as well as male face of the divine within many cultures.
According to The Collector,
The first written reference to the Earth as a mother is traced back to ancient Greek writings. Gaia was the great goddess and mother of all creation for the ancient Greeks. The concept of Mother Earth or Mother Goddess was first recorded in the early 7th century BCE by the great Greek poet Hesiod in his Theogony. Hesiod records the story of the birth of the universe, when in the beginning it was only Chaos, Gaia, and Eros. The Earth was therefore a primal deity; she was revered as the mother of all gods and living creatures and symbolized the rejuvenating care of Mother Nature.
In addition to the Greeks, there were many other religions that venerated a Goddess as well. According to Learn Religions, you can find the worship of the Goddess in religions such as:
As you can see, there are many traditions that worshiped and celebrated the Goddess throughout history. In India, Hinduism still flourishes to this day, and in Japan people still practice Shintoism which worships Goddesses as well.
Many of these religions have a creation myth which celebrates a Goddess as the Mother of All, with creation happening through a blending of masculine and feminine power. This is an interesting contrast to patriarchal belief in a single deity that created the world. If you explore world creation stories, you can get an interesting insight into the way that ancient cultures viewed the masculine and feminine deities.
Goddess worship today
In addition to world religions such as Hinduism and Shintoism, you can find the reemergence of the Goddess in New Age religions like Wicca which celebrate the concept of the divine feminine.
According to The Conversation,
Of primary importance for many Neopagans is the triple goddess, a figure who encompasses the three aspects of maiden, mother and crone. Sometimes these goddess figures are based on specific ancient deities, such as Persephone, Demeter and Hekate, and sometimes they are worshipped more generally as representations of various phases of life.
Since there has been a resurgence of Goddess religion today, many religions allow women to celebrate themselves and the female version of the divine. This allows women to find a personal belief system that gives them greater freedom and autonomy than they find in Western traditions.
One of the most beautiful and widely-celebrated aspects of Wicca, particularly in comparison to almost every other religion to come out of the last few thousand years, is its equal emphasis on the feminine and masculine. This gender polarity is reflected in the Wiccan Goddess and God, with both deities having equal status. While individual covens and solitary practitioners may have specific names for their deities, these names are usually closely guarded secrets, and so it’s conventional to use “the God” and “the Goddess” when discussing the Wiccan deities generally.
By worshiping a God and Goddess equally, it promotes greater equality among men and women who practice Wicca, Neopaganism and other modern manifestations of ancient religions. Many of these harken back to the Celtic traditions of the Druids, or to the Greeks or Romans. This allows a new look at old traditions, and a sense of history within new religions of the modern age.
Since practitioners today still revere a Goddess within their personal spirituality, this shows the value of believing in a face of the divine that mirrors our own face. As we search through historical traditions and bring them into the modern day, it allows a greater sense of religious and spiritual freedom for many people.
Women search for healing in Goddess traditions
In the Western world, many women have found solace in new forms of Goddess religion. This allows us to find a version of the divine that helps us to see a vision of the divine that is more like ourselves than what can be found within the patriarchal religions that many of us grew up with.
Healing can be found within Goddess worship because it empowers women to find spirituality on their own terms, without a priest or minister gatekeeping their access to the divine. New forms of Goddess religion allow women to take spirituality into their own hands, and practice in a heart-centered way. This in many ways mirrors the mother-goddess traditions of the past that were practiced in ancient homes by many women before us.
In The Sage Journal,
I argue that female sexual healing is difficult to achieve in the context of Abrahamic religions, and, in response, unconsciously or purposely, Western women have been forced to create their own religion, moulded on a female God that can mirror their mental processes. Such women are resisting secularism and are connecting with the transcendental on their own terms, while seeking self-understanding and self-realisation in a gynocentric cosmology. From deifying female sexuality to revering the cosmos as the womb of an all-pervading Mother Goddess, the Goddess Movement encapsulates women’s defiant quest for wholeness.
In the feminist movement as well, Goddess spirituality has allowed many women to find wholeness through a spirituality all their own. When women are allowed to connect with the divine, it can provide a sense of connection not just in a spiritual sense, but a connection to a sisterhood of women as well.
According to Feminism and Religion,
When Goddess feminism emerged onto the scene early in the feminist movement, it had a political edge. It was about women affirming, as Meg Christian crooned in “Ode to a Gym Teacher,” that “being female means you still can be strong.” Goddess feminism arose in clear opposition to patriarchy and patriarchal religions. It was born of an explicit critique of societies organized around male domination, violence, and war; and of the male God or Gods of patriarchal religions as justifying domination, violence, and war.
Today, many women find solace within Goddess religion, because it offers them something that they have been denied in a patriarchal society. It allows women to be fully themselves in an unapologetic way. Women can free themselves from a male dominated spirituality and a male dominated society at once by practicing Goddess spirituality.
As more women become attracted to these beliefs which are both ancient and modern, they experience a change within and a sense of healing from past scars that have been inflicted for centuries by the patriarchy.