Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity

Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity


By (author) Marguerite Rigoglioso

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  • Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
  • Format: Paperback | 280 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 216mm x 15mm | 318g
  • Publication date: 28 December 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Basingstoke
  • ISBN 10: 113729342X
  • ISBN 13: 9781137293428
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 981,975

Product description

Various goddesses of the ancient Mediterranean world were once understood to be Virgin Mothers - creators who birthed the entire cosmos without need of a male consort. This is the first book to explore evidence of the original parthenogenetic power of deities such as Athena, Hera, Artemis, Gaia, Demeter, Persephone, and the Gnostic Sophia. It provides stunning feminist insights about the deeper meaning of related stories, such as the judgment of Paris, the labors of Heracles, and the exploits of the Amazons. It also roots the Thesmophoria and Eleusinian Mysteries in female parthenogenetic power, thereby providing what is at long last a coherent understanding of these mysterious rites.

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Author information

MARGUERITE RIGOGLIOSO is an Adjunct Instructor at the Dominican University of California, USA and the author of the The Cult of Divine Birth in Ancient Greece (Palgrave).

Review quote

"Rigoglioso explores the power of virgin birth, or parthenogenesis, as the primal creative process. The clarity of her analysis reveals how pervasive and influential this motif and its rites were in the ancient world. Most interesting is her remarkable explication of the Eleusinian Mysteries, where - by her application of the 'missing piece' of virgin birth - she makes sense of much that has been passed over or ignored in the ancient texts. This is an original piece of scholarship that dares to imagine traditions at the foundation of Western culture in an entirely new light. As with any paradigm-shifting theory, some may challenge Rigoglioso's interpretations, but all readers will recognize that parthenogenesis, as a symbol of profound spiritual perception, could not have received a more articulate spokesperson. One feels in reading her work that she is writing from inside a tradition that we didn't even know existed, and the authenticity of her writing makes it all the more accessible and inviting." - Gregory Shaw, Professor of Religious Studies, Stonehill College and author of "Theurgy and the Soul: The Neoplatonism of Iamblichus""With this study, Rigoglioso has substantively corrected the common perception that 'a few' of the Greek goddesses have an inconsequential association with parthenogenesis. Her insightful explication of the parthenogenetic motif in the attributes of all the pre-Greek goddesses, as well as in the Thesmophoria and the Eleusinian Mysteries, establishes the generative powers of the Virgin Mother goddesses as a central dynamic in the pre-Greek substratum of Western religion." - Charlene Spretnak, author of "Lost Goddesses of Early Greece"

Table of contents

In the Beginning: Chaos, Nyx and Ge/Gaia Athena/Neith/Metis: Primordial Creatrix of Self-Replication Artemis: Mother of the Wild, Patron of Amazons Hera: Queen of Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld Demeter and Kore/Persephone: Double Goddesses of Parthenogenesis Isis: Meri/Beloved and Mother of Horus Sophia: Divine Generative Force Conclusion