Women have not had the audacity (or self love) to refer to themselves as Goddesses for approximately 5000 years. This is perfectly understandable when we consider who our major role models have been.
Our first feminine role model is our Mum as the first seven years of our life we instinctively spend studying our Earth Mother, emulating and internalising her as our blueprint of feminine expression. This includes her strengths and weaknesses, as well as her eccentricities and mannerisms. It’s our Mum who teaches us how to take care of our emotional and physical needs from potty training to bee stings.
In the ancient world the Mother was honoured as the soul’s first spiritual teacher as she is the one who instills cyclic wisdom & ethics that uphold the values of a sustainable society.
For those of us who have grown up in the West, this role was hijacked by monotheistic male dominated religion. Within that doctrine the feminine spiritual role model has been Eve. Known in modern versions of the Bible as the first woman created as a partner for Adam, she was previously referred to as Pandora by the Ancient Greeks in their creation myth.
What is interesting as the common theme is that both girls were shamed by the patriarchs for not doing ‘what they were told to do’. The result being they were scapegoated and blamed for creating untold trouble for humanity. This anchored a justifiable need to punish and control women to avoid pain.
So the message to little girls growing up is a warning of the terrible consequences that will undoubtedly befall should we dare to think for ourselves.
(Fortunately Lisa Simpson and other female role models are changing the tide!)
The Myths of Pandora and Eve
Pandora is given a box by the Gods and told not to open it, but possessing a healthy curiosity, she does what any mammal with a thirst for knowledge would do and opens the box, the result being that pestilence and suffering is unleashed upon humanity. For this act she has been in grave need of a PR campaign ever since. It is however interesting to note that the name ‘Pandora’ means ‘All Gifts – the bad as well as the good’.
Eve has been depicted as the evil temptress for disobeying the command of God to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In her desire to know how an apple tasted, she inadvertently inflicted untold evil upon the world by accepting the serpent’s offer of an apple and enticed Adam to swap his diet of beasts for a more vegan alternative… a bite of the apple.
Consequently, with these women as our spiritual role models it’s understandable that women have been viewed as demanding troublemakers who shouldn’t be trusted by men. Redemption was offered to those not wanting to be an evil temptress. Yes, all your inherent sins as a female could be absolved away by simply opting for the career path of ‘Virgin Mother’ (easier said than done!) Life as a nun or a mother who suppressed her sexuality were as close as you could get to this ideal.
Today, one hundred years after the suffragettes first rallied for female voting rights and forty years after the feminists of the 1960s and 70s fought for our reproductive and economic rights, we still have fertile women en masse starving themselves to retain their pre-pubescent forms.
This is in part our collective subconscious attempt to forever remain the innocent maiden to retain approval by our patriarchal culture, and avoid the shame and disapproval placed on older women.
We don’t have to look far to see how Eve’s influence has been both far-reaching and insidious. There is even a range of douching products by the name of Eve, implying that vaginas are inherently dirty and should smell like the potpouri stuffed cane swans that graced domestic toilets in the 70s rather than their natural warm, musky scent.
The word ‘Eve’ is literally short for evening. Symbolically she fulfilled her destiny as suggested by her name in heralding our fall into night as a species. This ‘fall’ is necessary in the getting of wisdom and is a natural progression in the individuation process, as we explore the darker side of our psyche so we may learn through our experiences and evolve knowing ourselves in our own right.
This article is an excerpt from Tanishka’s first book, ʻThe Inner Goddess Makeoverʼ.
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