Cover image for The great goddess : reverence of the divine feminine from the paleolithic to the present
The great goddess : reverence of the divine feminine from the paleolithic to the present
Markale, Jean.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Grande déesse. English
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Rochester, Vt. : Inner Traditions, [1999]

Physical Description:
266 pages : maps ; 23 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL325.M6 M37513 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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* A study of the primordial figure of the Great Goddess and her continued worship through time as shown by the myths, shrines, and sanctuaries around the world that honor this powerful symbol of creation.

* A noted historian on pre-Christian societies provides an extensive worldwide listing of sites and sanctuaries associated with goddess worship.

* Explores goddess worship in cultures around the world, including Native American, Egyptian, Indian, and Oriental civilizations.

* Demonstrates that although her worship has sometimes been forced underground it has never disappeared.

In ancient Babylon she was Anat, in Egypt, Isis and Hathor, Dana in Celtic Ireland, Rhea and Demeter in Greece, and in India, Anapurna the Provider. She is the Great Goddess, the Goddess of Beginnings, the symbol of Earth and the giver of life, the Vast Mother, who represents all the powers and mysteries of creation for early humanity.

Shifting her solar association onto masculine deities and blackening those of her symbols that, like the serpent, could not be assimilated, patriarchal societies forced the preeminent power of the feminine into an obscure and subservient position. Yet, as shown by noted scholar Jean Markale, the Goddess did not simply disappear when her position was usurped, and the power she represents has been the source of continuous religious devotion from ancient times through the Middle Ages up to the present day.

In looking at the plethora of myths, sites, and sanctuaries devoted to this powerful figure, The Great Goddess provides abundant evidence of the extraordinary permanence of her worship--even at the heart of those religions that tried to destroy her.

Author Notes

Poet, philosopher, historian, and storyteller, Jean Markale has spent a lifetime researching pre-Christian civilizations. A specialist in Celtic studies at the Sorbonne, he lives in the Brittany region of France.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Vast Motherp. 1
Part 1 Images and Sanctuaries of the Goddess
1. Our Lady of the Beginnings: The Paleolithic Periodp. 48
2. Our Lady Under Ground: The Megalithic Epochp. 61
3. The Eclipsed Virgin: The Bronze Age, the Celts, and the Gallo-Romansp. 80
4. The Triumph of the Mother: The Christian Middle Agesp. 104
5. The Eternal Return of the Divine Woman: The Sixteenth to Twentieth Centuriesp. 123
6. The Sacred Places of Our Ladyp. 133
Part 2 Our Lady in All Things
Introductionp. 166
7. The Indian Subcontinent, the Far East, and the Americasp. 171
8. Ancient Egypt and the Near Eastp. 180
9. Greece and the Aegean Seap. 191
10. Continental Europep. 207
11. Far Western Europep. 220
Notesp. 234
Index of Sites, Museums, Sanctuaries, and Pilgrimagesp. 241
Indexp. 259