The Return of the Goddess

When the coalescence of events points in a single direction, it is worth paying attention. Goddesses, it seems, are once again on the move. Not Asherah this time, although she seldom sits still, but the creator goddesses. The notion that creation is a female prerogative seems only natural, and the concept is in the ascendant. In a local setting, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater troop is performing “Dancing Spirit,” a piece by Ronald K. Brown. The dance features a move that Brown attributes to Yemaya, the Yoruba goddess of creation.

WikiCommons' Yemaya

Now I have to confess to knowing little of Yemaya and Yoruba – African mythology beyond ancient Egypt has fallen outside my limited scope – but from the little I know I can see that she represents a fascination with feminine power. A dance to celebrate the power of the creatrix feels appropriate. Worlds created by masculine deities always go awry. Perhaps the power struggles built into images of strength and domination will always lead to conflict and suffering. The mother is here to protect.

Despite its flaws, Avatar also shares in this image of the protecting mother. Eywa may be a fictional deity devised to give the Na’vi a central focus, but her mythological profile is sound. It is the mother who gives life and protects that life. The father disciplines and starts wars. These are not universal archetypes, but rather coalescences. Religions involve worship and worship may derive from fear or from love. I suspect that the goddesses engender the latter. I suggest that we could learn much from the creator goddesses.

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