Mother of Christ

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The notion of Christianity as a ‘patriarchal religion’ might need a rethink in the light of the Virgin Mary’s culture-power and her ongoing influence on how we conceptualize women. I’m reminded of an interview with Joseph Campbell1 (perhaps the most famous expert on religions) who suggested Mary became a paramount influence from the medieval culture scheme forward. Here’s a snippet of the interview:

Mary shirts4

MOYERS: There are women today who say that the spirit of the Goddess has been in exile for five thousand years, since the…. 

CAMPBELL: You can’t put it that far back, five thousand years. She was a very potent figure in Hellenistic times in the Mediterranean, and she came back with the Virgin in the Roman Catholic tradition. You don’t have a tradition with the Goddess celebrated any more beautifully and marvelously than in the twelfth- and thirteenth-century French cathedrals, every one of which is called Notre Dame.

MOYERS: Yes, but all of those motifs and themes were controlled by males — priests, bishops — who excluded women, so whatever the form might have meant to the believer, for the purpose of power the image was in the hands of the dominant male figure.

CAMPBELL: You can put an accent on it that way, but I think it’s a little too strong because there were the great female saints. Hildegarde of Bingen — she was a match for Innocent III. And Eleanor of Aquitaine — I don’t think there is anybody in the Middle Ages who has the stature to match hers. One now can look back and quarrel with the whole situation, but the situation of women was not that bad by any means.

MOYERS: No, but none of those saints would ever become pope.

CAMPBELL: Becoming pope, that’s not much of a job, really. That’s a business position. None of the popes could ever have become the mother of Christ. There are different roles to play. It was the male’s job to protect the women.

[1] Joseph Campbell in discussion with Bill Moyers: The Power of Myth

See Also:
– Mariolatry and Gyneolatry
Auguste Comte’s Cult of Woman

One thought on “Mother of Christ

  1. Catholics do worship Mother Mary. They claim not to and use minor details to differentiate worshipping from prayer or whatever else that say they do regarding Mother Mary.

    That being said, by definition, patriarchy:
    “of or relating to a patriarch, the male head of a family, tribe, community, church, order, etc.:
    my father’s conservative, patriarchal ways.”

    There’s no denying Christian religion is head up by men. Even though believers worship Mother Mary, Jesus is certainly the main figure of worship. And then starting at the Pope and moving down, men are predominately in control.

    It is becoming evident that the there is a great transition in progress away from the traditional patriarchal dominated religions to a new nature based religion. The worship of Gaia, mother Earth.
    quite apropos

    The ancient Sumerians believed that the rain was the semen of god which impregnated ‘mother Earth’, giving birth to all life. And so god naturally was male, and the Earth female. God is often pictured among the clouds and in the heavens. This makes sense from macrocosmic perspective and flies in the face of feminists who claim god must be female.

    Gynocracy it would seem has no limits, not even the skys the limit.