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The Patriarch

This is going to be a series of articles concerning The Patriarch, which started with a series of articles written last week by various people.  One of which was by Paula Kirby who wrote an article titled “Religion Lies About Women”.  Exploring this subject is a bigger undertaking than I imagined, but I want to start at the beginning, further back than Kirby did. In Kirby’s article, she suggested there are two archetypes of women in the Bible, the handmaiden who is a perpetual virgin, despite having babies and the promiscuous women or prostitute.

In this case, Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene, of which I would like to correct.  Scholars have long since pointed out that Magdalene was not a prostitute, but rather a widowed woman with money in which to support Jesus’ ministry, of which she was still subservient.  There are also other theories about this mysterious woman, but regardless, she was not Jesus’ wife either, from what scholars can tell.

On the one hand we have Mary Magdalene – the prostitute. And on the other we have Mary the mother of Jesus – the virgin. To paraphrase the late Dorothy Parker, the New Testament’s view of women runs the full gamut from A to B. Prostitute or virgin: take your pick, ladies. The woman who engages in sex with multiple men is held up as the epitome of fallenness, brokenness, wickedness; as one so corrupt that Jesus’s willingness to forgive her is seen as bordering on the miraculous. And at the same time we are offered as our ideal, our aspiration, our role-model – the eternal virgin: sexless, locked forever in a childlike state; devoid of sexual passion or sensuality; obedient, self-sacrificing, selfless: a woman, in other words, from whom all that would make her fully human, let alone fully woman, has been stripped.

In my opinion, she did not go far enough back in the Bible and I wish to start with two more feminine archetypes found earlier than the two Marys, then move into the two Marys, and then finally to modern day issues related to women and the religion.  These two other women are found in earlier texts and supposedly, the two versions of creation in Genesis originated with other cultures and not with the Hebrews.  Lilith, who is not named in the Bible, developed from midrash, but she also has her roots in Egypt, Samaria, Babylonia, and Greece.  Lilith is attributed to being the one in Genesis 1:27 and Eve is attributed to being the one in Genesis 2:21-22, but her source dates back to an earlier period in mythological history.

Unfortunately, while I am talking about various archetypes from the Hebrew mythology, Barbra Streisand in "The Mirror Has Two Faces", is talking about romantic love in literature.  Even so, we are discussing the same thing, in a literary and mythological context. This is where I would like to introduce a completely different set of feminine archetypes, than either Kirby or Streisand, found in religious literature, and think they have a lot to do with women's lot today in relationship to religion.  To do this, I will start with the Old Testament and move forward into the New Testament.  It is my opinion that these archetypes relate to the Christian views on women today or rather why they suppress women and raise them to the level of baby making machines.

Lilith, Adam’s first wife and first woman, not found in Biblical canon, but is found in Hebrew mythology.  She was the first liberated woman who took control of her life, yet she was demonized for doing so.  This is where we see the first concerning circumcisism of both males and females in Abrahamic mythology.  It is also, where we see God condemn children by the hundreds on a daily basis, because this woman chose to be independent, rather than be subservient, especially when she was created in the same manner as Adam.  At the same time, Lilith had the power of calling on God’s actual name (sounds like Uv Vay Va Ay, and spelled יהוה ) and thought for herself, concerning her desires, as well as how to live her life.  She was the first woman not only to refuse to lie beneath a man, but to demand equality and refuse any missionary.

Rose Morgan: What, what? Yes, I have breasts. They cannot, however, be the subject of one of your papers.

She appears in the Sumerian story Gilgamesh prologue The Huluppu Tree.  Thus, you see her in various places before Hebrew literature about her was written.  She was probably one of the first women demonized for her sexuality and desire for equality.

Here is a basic comparison of the legends, as demonstrated below:

 

Lilith Lilith flees Eden from Adam’s bad behavior and threat of force. Lilith is elevated as the consort of God[4] Lilith lived in the Garden of Eden when God was in the Eden, before man had sinned. Lilith was created directly from God, not Adam’s rib. Astraea Astraea flees earth because of mankind’s wickedness. Astraea elevated herself into the constellations. Astraea lived with man during a "Golden Age" where the Gods lived with humans. Astraea was the daughter of Zeus and Themis

 

Here is a basic comparison of the legends, as demonstrated below:

 

Lilith Lilith seduces God, acquires his Divine name, and uses it to escape Adam’s sexual dominance[2] Lilith is elevated as the consort of God[4] Istahar/’Asterah Istahar/’Asterah tricks Shamhazai into giving her the ineffable Name of God, which she uses to escape his sexual dominance. [5] Istahar was elevated into the stars. [3]

There are also some similarities between Lilith and the myths of Innana/Ishtar and Ereshkigal, which reinforces the current theory that Lilith was created after Inanna/Ishtar’s darker side.

Lilith Demons clung to the left side of Adam when Lilith came from the abyss to join him.[7] Lilith began drinking blood after Adam attempted to sexually pressure her.[9] Lilith is said to look like a normal woman except with wings.[11] Lilith is associated with dragons in the form of Blind Dragon and Leviathan.[14] She is called the torturous serpent, implying suffering or vengeance.[15] Samael, Lilith’s consort is charge over seven heavenly spirits.[18] Lilith has an insatiable sexual appetite.[19] . Innana/Ishtar Demons clung to Ishtar’s left side as she ascended from the Underworld.[8] Innana turned water into blood after she was raped, making others drink blood.[10] Ishtar’s sister, Ereskrigal, has creatures that look human only clothed by wings.[12] Ishtar’s sister, Ereshkigal, was kidnapped by a dragon named Kur.[13] Ereshkigal appears to be torturous in the Underworld.[16] Ereshkigal has seven demons that are her throne bearers.[17] Ereshkigal also does not have her sexual appetite quenched by Nergal.[18]

Similar archetypes in the Old Testament are Asherah, Groves, Jezebel, and others.  This is the archetype the Patriarch fears most.

Eve, the prototype of all Abrahamic women, whose desire was for her husband and Adam was to rule over her (Genesis 3:16).  She is said to be “the Mother of All Living”.  She was to submit to him and had very little personality of her own, except that of a temptress, who a talking, trickster reptile influenced to disobey God. According to Barbara G. Walker, in her book The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (p. 288-291), Eve is known as the Jiva or Ieva, the Creatress of all manifested forms in Indian mythology.

In Assyrian scriptures, she was the Mother-Womb, Creatress of Destiny, who made male and female out of clay and Walker stated that the first of the two Creation myths in the Bible came from Assyrian mythology, changing “she” to “he” (Genesis 1:27).  Her spouse was a serpent and Walker goes on to state that in Gnostic texts, the Goddess often reprimanded and punished God for not remember a feminine power greater and older than himself. Walker continues and states that the Tetragrammation for God is not “yad-he-vau-he” or YHWH, but the actual “name power” comes from the HWH, meaning both “life” and “woman” or Eve in Latin.  If the power actually lies in the hands of the goddess, then it would seem The Patriarch has a lot to fear.

This power can not only create life, but destroy it and she exists in Hindu mythology, as well as other mythologies, and she not only created life, but also her own lover.  However, the reversal of the gods, according to Walker, resulted from “the Aryan patriarchs who called Brahma the primal male ancestor”.  Gnostic stories reverted to the older rendition of Eve creating Adam and the very soul within him, but the Book of Enoch, put the idea of sin back onto Eve and punished all of humanity for her sin.  Supposedly, if not for Eve, there would not be death and Walker stated that in 418 CE the Church council, who were all men, said it was hearsay to say death was a natural necessity rather than Eve’s fault and medieval theologians stated there was no forgiveness for Eve, as well as no peace for her daughters.  Persian patriarchs stated that there was no heaven for women, unless they were submissive to their husbands and worshipped them as gods. In 1 Timothy 2:14, Paul absolved Adam and blamed only Eve.

1 Tim 2:13-14 "For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

Thus, Eve and Paul are two of many sources of degrading, dehumanizing, and abusing women.  Maybe the primal instinct causes this refusal to accept responsibility for one’s own mistakes, but all too often, this mythical woman is blamed for many things.  At this point, we have the Divine all-powerful Divine Feminist and the Divine Mother of All Creation.  Neither one of them appear to be appreciated in Abrahamic tribal thinking.

Church Lady:  “Well isn’t that just special!”  Ladies, you’re goin’ to hell for not bowing like dogs and treating men like gods.  Apparently, all this insanity and abuse towards women started with these two women.

To be continued with two more archetypes in Part II.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
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