Our Basic Beliefs
Our Basic Beliefs
The following is a brief outline of the basic beliefs which most modern followers of the Goddess share. It should be noted, however, that there are many different Goddess groups in existence today, and of course I can't speak for them all.
One fundamental premise of our religion is that the primordial Goddess has been recognized instinctively in Neolithic cultures throughout the world, and those early cultures were peaceful and egalitarian in nature.
Following the Kurgan invasion, a violent male war-god was introduced, and the primordial Goddess was reduced to a secondary status. Over time, many additional deities were created, and although some of them descended from the primordial Goddess, they were frequently corrupted by the patriarchal values of the post-Kurgan societies in which they evolved.
Modern followers of the Goddess strongly reject the war-god archetype, as well as recognizing the inherent flaws of the many deities descended from the Goddess in post-Kurgan societies. Consequently, most modern followers of the Goddess usually seek to encounter Her in a pure form, which is free from historical baggage, and is essentially monotheistic.
Critics of modern Goddess religion have sometimes said that our view of Goddess cultures in pre-history is overly idealistic. That may be true, but it must be remembered that our practice is not intended to be a mere revival of some Neolithic tradition. It is technically a brand-new and fully modern religion, which embodies the most enlightened contemporary social values.
One of the most significant aspects of our religion is that it is perceived instinctively, and does not need to be taught to people from a book, or by some member of a clergy. Therefore, while most other religions depend on indoctrination or "brainwashing", we find such practices to be highly unethical, and believe that they demonstrate the artificial and fraudulent nature of those religions.
In addition, history clearly shows that widespread belief in such religions places a tremendous amount of political power in the hands of their leaders, who may manipulate and dispense their artificial spiritual "truth" in whatever ways they wish. This has been the cause of tremendous human suffering and injustice, to say nothing of preventing millions of people from attaining genuine spirituality in their lives.
As followers of the Goddess, we place great value on direct personal experiences with Her... and therefore, we encourage our members to study various techniques that will facilitate such experiences. In this way, they may perceive for themselves the reality of Her existence.
Of course, we believe that life is a precious gift... and therefore we posses a deep respect for animals, nature, and the Earth. Many of us are vegetarians and environmentalists. Our chosen days of celebration are usually the solstices and equinoxes, which mark the cycles of nature that link us to our planet, and to our heritage and ancestors.
We typically prefer not to assert things which we do not know to be true. For example, the Goddess has made Herself known to us, to our satisfaction, but She has never stated that Her power is unlimited, or that She is the creator of the universe. We therefore make no claims regarding such things.
In general, we demonstrate our reverence for the Goddess through proper daily actions. We strive to lead an honorable life, to treat others with respect, and to engage in reasonable behavior, such as healthy eating, moderate drinking, and safe and responsible sex.
Finally, it seems apparent that the Goddess does not interfere in the affairs of the world, and is not directly responsible for events, either good or bad, which occur here. We therefore do not pray to the Goddess for miracles, or blame natural disasters on Her.
Our understanding of the Goddess is that She exists in a metaphysical dimension of the universe, which we may have contact with, in certain specific ways. For example, She may provide guidance to us, through prophetic dreams or visions, or manifest Herself to us during certain rituals. For that reason, we often have an altar or a small shrine in our home, where we can perform such rituals.
A typical modern altar
Perhaps one of the most important functions the Goddess is known to perform is to accept the spirits of people at the time of their death. I have witnessed this on many occasions. For now, let me simply say that spirit energies play a very important role in a greater cause, which goes far beyond the scope of our present discussion.