"From the earliest ages, the concept of the Great Goddess was
a trinity and a model for all subsequent trinities, female,
male, or mixed. "
--The Women's Encylopedia of
Myths & Secrets
The Holy Trinity
The Father-Son-and-Holy-Ghost is not the only Holy Trinity, nor even the
oldest trinity. Historically, Father-Mother-Child was a much more wide-spread
trinity, one that many still see in Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph today. Even
older still is the trinity of the Triple Goddess: Maiden-Mother-and-Crone.
Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Father, Mother and Child
Maiden, Mother and Crone
As recorded in the scriptures of early Christians,
the Gnostic scriptures, The Holy Ghost was envisioned as
Sophia, the Goddess of Wisdom (C *). The Holy Ghost's symbol, a dove,
is an ancient Goddess symbol, well-known in the days of early Christianity,
as was the concept of Wisdom as female, Sophia (B, C *). Sophia The Goddess
of Wisdom was popular not only with early Christians, but was also mentioned
numerous times in the Old Testament, as evidenced in these quotes from
Father, Son and Holy
The Christian doctrine of the trinity -- Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost -- was not formalized until the 4th or 5th century C. E.
(A), yet the historical concept of a triune deity is much older
than that, with evidence dating from the 7th millenium B.C.E.
(B). Even in early Christianity, this trinity had a female member,
the Holy Ghost.
""I Wisdom dwell with prudence, and find
out knowledge . . . . By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
. . . The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his
works of old. . . .I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning,
or ever the earth was. . . . When he gave to the sea his decree, that
the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations
of the earth: Then I was with him, as one brought up with him: and I
was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. . ."
Gnostics viewed Sophia as the
Bride of God, the female power which the Sky Gods (like Jehovah) needed
to validate their rule (B).
Asherah fulfilled a similar function as the Wife of Yahweh, in the
ancient (unorthodox) worship of the Hebrews (D, E *).
Father, Mother and Child
Father, Mother and Child (often a Savior-Son) is an ancient trinity, naturally
reflected in the world around us. Just as Mary is strongly linked to Isis,
so the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, is linked to the trinity of
Osiris, Isis and Horus. In Christianizing the pagan world, this family
trinity was familiar and, therefore, effective in encouraging conversion
to a religion that seemed so similar to native worship (F).
The hand gesture used in blessings-- middle
finger, index finger, and thumb extended-- is said to be a hold-over
from the Holy Family trinity. The tallest (middle) finger represents
the father, the next tallest (index), the mother, the small thumb,
Today, the Holy Family persists in popular worship as a Trinity, despite
it's marginal orthodoxy, mainly because the family is a real-life model
for everyday life, much more real and familiar that an all-male trinity
or an ephemeral Spirit.
Mary is linked to ancient Triple Goddesses through
much of the symbolism associated with her. The Protoevangelium of James,
which describes Mary's girlhood, portrays Mary as spinning in the Temple.
This links her with the triple Fates, the three Goddesses known as the
Moerae or "Marys" who spun out the destinies of those on earth. Cyril
of Jerusalem, in his Coptic Discourse, linked the three Marys at
the foot of the Cross (Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Mary Salome) with
these same triple Fates. A striking similarity occurs in Nordic mythology
where the three Fates stand at the foot of Odin's tree of sacrifice. Welsh
mythology links Mary with their triple White Goddess,
Brigit. Even today, Mary is called The White Mary (B*).
Maiden, Mother and
The oldest known trinity, although exclusively female, is also
based on real-life cycles: youth, the maiden; fullness of life,
the mother; elder years, the crone. This triple-goddess has appeared
in the history of virtually every known culture around the globe.
While Mary is venerated as
Virgin and as
Mother , she is not often held up as a model Crone. This is
reflective of the fear and hatred of Old Women that has imbued
cultural consciousness (East and West) for the last 2000 years.
Old Women are Wise Women, Powerful Women. Today, women are refocusing
on Mary as mature Mother (rather than pliant Virgin) and are even
speculating about her last years of life, since she is thought
to have been in her 50s when she was assumed into heaven (G, H).
The Black Madonna , whose worship has been growing tremendously,
can be said to reflect Mary's Crone aspect, as can Mary's personification
Our Lady of Sorrows.
from Sacred Source
Catholic Customs and Traditions: A Popular Guide
by Greg Dues
The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets
By Barbara Walker
The Gnostic Gospels
By Elaine Pagels
The Once and Future Goddess
By Elinor Gadon
A History of God
by Karen Armstrong
The Spiral Dance.
In Search of Mary: The Woman and the Symbol
by Sally Cunneen
365 Mary: A Daily Guide to Mary's Wisdom and Comfort
by Woodeene Koenig-Brick
( * ) And numerous other sources
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