The Council of Ephesus held in 431 proclaimed that Mary is the Mother of God (Theotokos). The council proclaimed this canon at the urging of a virgin empress, Pulcharia. Ephesus is a city of Goddess worship. For thousands of years the city held the largest shrine to Artemis (Diana) in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor was the birthplace of Goddess Worship.
So the Bishops replaced the name Artemis with Mary and converted the Temple into Mary's shrine. It is also believed that Mary died and ascended into Heaven from Ephesus and until 1923 when the Christians of Ephes the current city were expelled they celebrated this fact. That is five thousand years of Goddess worship in one place. I think that Mary is happy about this worship.
This week Playboy magazine 'apologized' for publishing and issue in Mexico which garbed a nude model as the Virgin and then 'apologized' after selling thousands of Magazines. Amid all the puritan outrage I have to say what is it about the Virgin, the Mother of God, (and another 200 names that were once used for the Goddess) that so motivates protection?
I do not think that Mary really cares and Playboy is read by old men who should know better anyway. I am sure that all the other sexism is Mexico is still there and maybe they should get outraged about that?? Mary was a young pregnant refugee and she became the object of Cathedrals there is something miraculous about that- something that a few girly pictures cannot hurt.
I have always loved the fact that in Catholic and Orthodox Christianity paganism is right below the surface. I have lived in many Catholic places where Mary and the local goddess (Pachamama, Yemanja or others) are melded into an wonderful organic mix of pagan and Christian and I am sure that Mary the Mother of God does not care about this melding. This melding is what makes us human and I think it connects us to thousands of years; back to those cave painting in France and the small art pieces made by the first Americans and it makes us human.
I have never understood the need to strip away these paganism and look for some pure religion. Even the Jews had to steal monotheism from Pharoah Akhenaten in the end. It is one big river and we are all flowing in it. Also, what could possibly be uglier than a modern mega church?
These austere stadiums with no mystery and no sensuality- this is vulgar and disgusting.
Compare those places to the great pagan Cathedrals like Chartres and then tell me where God dwells. I think he dwells in great beauty and does not care if you are born again out loud all frothing at the mouth- God just desires that you have a true Metanoia in your soul a real change of heart a real transformation that you are changed by the fact that God is with us and is one of us.
Good old fashioned paganism is ok with me and knowing that the Goddess whatever she is called has been praised for 5000 years gives me solace. So when you see an Icon of Mary, you know the one with the globe and the snake and the blue and white just remember that Artemis and Cybele were portrayed the same way and that it is in fact natural.
My people from northern Italy have been praying to the Goddess and various Gods forever. They carved their rock carvings in Val Camonica before Abraham, before Moses and Before Jesus and it is their blood and history that flows in my veins. I am a Catholic but I am also part of all of that and it is all valid and it is all organic to who we are a humans.
I celebrate the Incarnation, the bearing of God a live human being this week I continue a story that is older than I know and I keep a tradition alive- the one where God inseminates a woman- and creates something new yet also eternal.
That is what Christmas is about-- God with us-- God entering us and making us whole and new again.
God with Us