We visit the ruins at Ephesus and the Ephesus Museum in Selcuk, Turkey. We see images and objects dated from the 9th century BC.
The earliest deities were goddesses among hunting/gatherer societies. Scholars note that male deities became more prevalent with the domestication of animals and agriculture. Farming includes defending your land if attacked. Large animals and warfare require upper body strength, making men feel valued — by male gods.
An exibit portrays three goddesses: Ana Tanrica (mother goddess — Paleolithic), Kubaba (9th cen. BC), and Kybele (6th cen. BC). There are universal features within goddess worship — woman magic, earth magic, fertility, childbirth.
We see examples and I gather information from the internet. One story describes Kubaba as a woman who brewed ale to sell commercially (such women existed.) The Sumarian King Marduk favored her and put her in charge of his empire. She did well. When she died, her son ruled and she was worshipped as a goddess, with shrines all over Mesopotamia. She is portrayed holding a hand drum, used to achieve trance to contact the spiritual world. In other words, she followed the inner way.
Kybele, or Cybele, was a Greek goddess who lived naked in the cliffs and bestowed blessings regarding hunting and nature. She is often portrayed with bow and arrow, dogs, and stag. The Kybele we saw in the museum was properly dressed, with two children beside her. She protects young women and grants fertility. She is also known as Artemis.
We visited the ruins of the Temple of Artemis (Artemesion). Originally constructed in 7th century BC, it was destroyed and reconstructed three times. The third reconstruction lasted 600 years and was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. In the photo above, you can see a small rock monument, the only remaining pillar of the Temple of Artemis, a mosque (left of pillar), the ruins of the Church of St. John (right of pillar), with fortress ruins behind the mosque — objects reflecting goddess worship (until 268 CE, when the Goths attacked), Christianity (beginning 54 CE), Islam (after Muslim conquest in the early 1300s), and warfare (spanning all eras). The introduction of “world religions” did not reduce warfare.
The Temple of Artemis (above) originally housed a large sculpture of the goddess (below). St. John exorcised demons in front of the temple and the silversmiths complained that St. Paul’s preaching reduced their sale of Artemis statues (Act 19: 23-41). People gathered to discuss the issue and a riot broke out.
Artemis has protuberances which might be extra breasts (symbolizing fertility), or perhaps bull testicles sacrificed to her, or, more likely, a kind of breast jewelry. She was served by women, who engaged in sacred sex as part of pilgrim worship. As you might guess, her temple attracted many pilgrims for hundreds of years.
We see the ruins of the theatre in Ephesus, site of a riot regarding St. Paul and the Artemis statues.
We see a museum video portraying the original theatre.
We walk toward the ruins of the library at Ephesus (people care for stray cats here.)
The library, completed in 120 CE, contained 12000 scrolls that were destroyed by an earthquake/fire in 262.
In the Ephesus Museum, we see a video portraying the Basilica of St. John, which we had visited before. The video shows the interior, with the tomb of St. John. At the conclusion, during the arial view, you can see a small building on the plain — that is the Temple of Artemis. Beyond it, and to the right, is Ephesus.
We remembered walking through the ruins, seeing the fortification, hearing the Muslim call to prayer, and visiting the tomb of St. John.
Governments come and go. Objects that seem permanent are not. Modern people live within systems where men compete with each other to attain power, creating religions with masculine bias.
Most people do not engage in warfare or farm with large animals. Do we need male gods?
Lao tsu wrote (chapter 59):
“For governing a country well
there is nothing better than moderation.
The mark of a moderate man
is freedom from his own ideas.
Tolerant like the sky,
all-pervading like sunlight,
firm like a mountain,
supple like a tree in the wind,
he has no destination in view
and makes use of anything
life happens to bring his way.
Nothing is impossible for him.
Because he has let go,
he can care for the people’s welfare
as a mother cares for her child.”
Lao tsu recognizes the need for motherly love within government. During modern times, men are discovering that women are their equals.
“That’s not true,” Karen says. “They are discovering that women are superior. Women are smarter and they smell better!”
Some women ponder modern representations of goddesses and use these images within rituals.
My daughters! I have advice for you!
My Sons! You can do these things also, making modifications!
The Greek goddess Cybele/Artemis is physically fit and spends her time hunting. She attracts men but finds most of them unsuitable. She loves Orion but problems come up. Another goddess has the hots for him, gets pissed off, and puts him in the sky. There are different versions to this story. Artemis may have killed him accidentally. These things happen. It is hard to get over a broken relationship.
I don’t think Cybele is a good role model.
Remember: It is important to dress professionally at work.
[Guys, it is difficult to think straight when they dress like that. Listen to them as best as you can. It will help you to get laid.]
Goddesses support sexuality but, as your father, I advise you not to waste arrows. Don’t sleep with men who have more problems than you do. Don’t get involved with alcoholics. Don’t get drunk among strangers.
Pay attention. Practice relaxing so that you can hit your target. In all areas of life, you become better with practice.
Seek wisdom. Become a wise woman. Then, as time passes, you will be happier, rather than sadder, as you age. Younger women and men will benefit from your knowledge.
The inner and outer worlds are One.
Here is a homework assignment: when you encounter a problem, go deep within yourself, relaxing every part of your body. Ask for advice from the goddess/wise woman within. Stay still and listen to what she says.
With practice, you become more skillful. You become the wise woman within.