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Birth Goddesses

  • By: Julianna E. Thibodeaux
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Worship of the “goddess,” defined variously as a deity or divine figure, idol, or a spirit or supernatural being, has existed throughout recorded history in various forms. Prior to the period of patriarchal dominance, a goddess-centered religion existed that continued beyond the advent of Judaism, Christianity, and other religions that were centered on a male God as supreme creator. This all-powerful goddess that is represented in many prehistoric cultures, the evidence for which exists in the form of pottery remains and other artifacts, was a universal symbol, considered the single source of all life.

While it is difficult to distinguish a birth goddess from this figure of the Great Goddess, as cultures developed their own mythological stories, individual goddesses emerged to represent aspects of the life ...

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