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ANAHITA  September 1998

ANAHITA September 1998

Subject:

Re: Cyprus & Virgin Mary

From:

Margaret Hayon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 7 Sep 1998 08:01:50 +0200

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text/plain

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[log in to unmask] wrote:

> Hi Margaret and thanks for your message.
> I'm not heading in the directions you mentioned this time, but I will keep your message for future reference. I had read that Cyprus was the birthplace of Aphrodite, and so I was interested in going there, but I'm cramming quite a lot into 5 weeks as it is.
> What is the connection between the Virgin Mary and goddess cults?
> BTW: yes I am new to the list as well, first time I located the list, first posting, so I was very pleased to get a reply. thanks again for your message
> cheers, Kate
>

Hi Kate,  Thanks for your reply.

Re connection between Virgin Mary and goddess cults - I'm not a scholar in this field, only talking from my own general knowledge and guesswork (maybe there are others on the list who are more learned on this topic and can enlighten us both?)   According to my
very simple understanding - in pre-Christian times there were a lot of pagan cults around the Middle East, including goddess-cults  (Astarte - Ashtoreth - Asherah - Aphrodite - Isis and so on).  When Christianity started spreading and imposing itself, the
missionaries took over pre-Christian sites and rededicated them to Christian saints. (It happened in many other parts of the world too - like Celtic Britain; Mexico and South America; and undoubtedly other places.)  So the local pagans, after conversion to the
new religion, transferred to the new cult-figures the beliefs and devotions they had formerly offered to their old deities.  The priests of the new religion tried to suppress the old faiths, but they kind of carried on anyway in a new guise.  So, for instance,
where they had formerly worshipped Aphrodite, they redirected their prayers and devotions to the main female figure in the new religion, the Virgin Mary.
I've probably given a vast over-simplication here!  I am open to comment and correction from the scholars on the list.

I'm reading at present "When God was a Woman", by Merlin Stone - her theory of how the ancient goddess-religions of the Middle East became suppressed by patriarchal god-centred religions brought in by Indo-European invaders from further north.   Other books
that I have ordered from Amazon Books:  "The Hebrew Goddess" by Raphael Patai, and "Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom" by Caitlin Matthews.   Would anyone like to comment on these books, or suggest further reading on this theme?

Thanks,
Margaret

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