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Judeo-Christian Women


Abba Amona
("Father, Mother") The supreme divine couple in the Cabala (Chockmah & Binah). Aramaic.

The wife of David (1 Samuel 25:3); the sister of David (1 Chronicles 2:16).

('earth') The personification of the earth as a female, as often used in the Talmud. Her Assyrian equivalent was Adamu.
Aeons, The
Aspects of the female embodiments of potency, the origin of all things. In the singular, Aeon, the total of these aspects, the Great Manifested Thought. According to Valentinus, there are eight principle Aeons and twenty two others. Simon Magus regarded his wife and working partner, Helen of Tyre, as an incarnation of the Aeon, and as several of the individual aspect Aeons, as 'that which has stood, stands and will stand'. Later Gnostics seem to have regarded this obviously remarkable woman in the same way.
('Tent in her') The female personification of Jerusalem. She may have been a wife of Jehovah. She was condemned in the Hebrew scripture as a voluptuous whore and sometimes a menstruating one.

(Ama)('Mother') The 'bright, fertile mother' who in the Cabalistic tradition hides in her bosom the stars, planets, angels - and other powers. She is one aspect of Binah.

('truth, reality') (Apt) A Gnostic Aeon; an angle of the square on which the Gnosis (knowledge) rests, the Truth of the Mysteries. She is represented as a beautiful naked woman, truth unveiled. She is marked with letter on every limb; starting with Alpha Omega on her head, followed by Beta, Psi, converging alphabetically as they progress down her body.

( "Mother") One half of the supreme divine couple in the Cabala.

Anne (St.)
In a Breton legend, St. Anne was a duchess who was turned out of doors by her cruel husband. She traveled in an angel-guided vessel to Jerusalem, and there gave birth to the Virgin Mary. She brought the Virgin up in ways of piety, and then returned to Breton.

Anatha Baetyl
A form of the Canaanite Anat. One of the two wives of Jehovah in his fifth century cult at Elephantine in Egypt, his other wife was Ashimah Baetyl. In Jerusalem, two goddess temples were built beside Jehovah's temple by Solomon.

Bat Kol
("Daughter of a voice") The sages taught that the Bat Kol, a voice from heaven, was frequently heard among the ancient Israelites. It became the only unequivocal means of communication between God and his people after prophecy ceased.

Befana , La
(La Strega, La Vecchia ) La Befana or St. Befana is an ugly but good-natured old hag who leaves presents in the stockings of children on the eve of the Epiphany (the Twelfth Night) in parts of Italy and Sicily. In Christian legend, the tree kings passed an old lady on their way to adore the Christ Child. They invited her to accompany them but she was too busy cleaning her house and did not come with them. Later, she attempted to follow, but became lost among the way and never saw the Holy Child. Every year she comes looking for him. She visits the children while they sleep and fills their stockings, giving the good ones candy and the bad ones stones or charcoal. The name is said to be a corruption of Epiphany (Epiphania), but parts of the legend predate Christian times.
Bernadette (St.)
Saint Bernadette was a French peasant girl named Bernadette Soubiros, who was born in Lourdes in 1844. At the age of 14 she claimed that she had experienced a number of visions of the Virgin Mary. Further more, the girl said that the Virgin had imparted miraculous powers of healing to the waters of a spring near a grotto in Lourdes. The Roman Catholic church declared her visions authentic, and the Lourdes grotto became a shrine for pilgrims. Bernadette joined the Sisters of Charity in 1866 and in 1877 she became a nun. She died two years later in 1879. She was beatified in 1925 and canonized in 1933. Her feast day is April 16.
The Hebrew name for the constellation Virgo, assigned by Rabbis to the tribe of Asher. She was associated with abundance at harvest time.
('Understanding') The Supernal Mother, the third Sephirah on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. She gives form and manifestation to the raw, directionless energy of Chokmah, the second Sephirah and Supernal Father. She is nourishing Aima, the 'Bright Mother', and constricting Ama, the 'Dark Mother'. She is the first Heh of the Tetragrammaton, in polarity with the Yod of Chokmah. She represents the female potency of the Universe, as Chokmah represents the male. Her Qabalistic symbols are the yoni, the kteis, the Vescia Piscis, the cup and the Outer Robe of Concealment. Her magical image is that of a mature woman.
Black Madonna
Her dark image appears across Europe and is passionately venerated in hundreds of locales. Actually, these ancient Ladies are the ineradicable face of the chthonic Great Goddess dating from Neolithic times. Often their shrines are associated with caves, wells or mountains, and her unvaryingly dark or black skin represents her under-earth or fallow winter aspect. Her shrine at Montserrat, near Barcelona, is very ancient; rich and colorful garments underscore her role as spiritual Mother-Queen of the Middle Ages.

Many Black Madonnas were not Christian images at all, but were venerated thousands of years prior to contact with the Christian faith. Unable to stamp out popular devotion to the mysterious Ladies, the Church renamed them "Madonna" simply to save face.

As Virgin and Mother, she incorporated the two faces of the ancient triple goddess (Virgin, Matron, Crone) which were least threatening to the church, but her continuity with archaic virgin goddesses is indisputable. As a later identity of Isis with Horus, she shows how papal and kingly thrones all hark back to the lap of Isis upon which sits enthroned the child-god. Each gave birth to savior gods who would die and be reborn in annual cycles (a parallel to the Demeter/Kore myth), and our modern festivals of Christmas and Easter re-celebrate this primeval human rite. Depicted as black virgin, this Madonna incorporates aspects of Kali. Medieval cathedrals (called in France "notre dame" -- literally, "our lady") are venerations of the ancient Great Goddess's majesty.
('Thought, Intention, Meaning') One of the Gnostic Aeons, the embodiment of the Word.
The Philistine woman who betrayed Samson into the hands of the Philistines.
A Hebrew goddess mentioned on the Moabite Stone, her name is suggested in a mother role.
('Power, Force') One of the Gnostic Aeons; the embodiment of Dynamism. Like Dianoia, she also embodies the Word.
Earthly Mother, the
The Essene personification of Nature, harmony with nature being the centre of their faith. Their cosmos consisted of the Heavenly Father with his six angels (Eternal Life, Creative Work, Peace, Power, Love and Wisdom) and the Earthly Mother with her six angels (Earth, Life, Joy, Sun, Water and Air). Mankind stood at the point of intersection between these complimentary forces, their goal was to be attuned to both.
(Ennoe) ('Thought, Intent') One of the Gnostic Aeons; the embodiment of Designing Thought. She is the generatrix of the angels of the lower worlds. According to Simon Magus, she taught him magic and how to communicate with these angels.
('Esteem') A Gnostic Aeon with similarities to Epinoia. She is said to be a daughter of Sophia.
('Power of Thought', 'Inventiveness') A Gnostic Aeon, one of the first female emanations. She is referred to as the 'Principle'.
The first woman. According to Genesis 1:27, both male and female were created in the image of God. In Genesis 2:22, Eve was formed from the rib of Adam. In the Garden of Eden she was seduced by the serpent to be disobedient to God and persuaded Adam to follow her example. Because of this, they were expelled from the Garden and Eve was condemned to labour in childbirth and to be subservient to her husband. Her story is a patriarchal revision of earlier Middle Eastern creation myths.

Fila Vocis
The Latin form of the Hebrew 'Daughter of a Voice', oracular transmitter of truth from Heaven. The daughter of Shekinah, she is frequently mentioned in the Talmud. Her words may be heard internally or as if spoken. A traditional Hebrew method of divination is to appeal to the Daughter of a Voice for a solution to a problem, and the next words heard will have oracular significance.
Hebrew. The second wife of Abraham and the mother of Ishmael. Christian and Rabbinic writings say she was Egyptian, Arabic tradition says that Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael came to what would become Mecca.
Holy Spirit, the
Regarded in Hebrew and Gnostic traditions as feminine. The word translated as 'spirit' in the Bible is often the Hebrew feminine noun Ruach, which is also related to Wisdom (Sophia).
(Jerah) The Hebrew goddess of the new moon, the Bride of the Sun. The Semitic moon was originally masculine, later becoming feminine. Jarah gave her name to the city of Jericho.
('Lioness') The Hebrew personification of Israel, the Mother of Israel as mentioned in Ezekiel xix.
A Chaldean or Hebrew name for the Moon goddess. The world used for 'moon' in the Song of Solomon vi:10 is the Hebrew form Lebanah: 'Who is she that looketh forth as morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?' According to Dion Fortune (The Sea Priestess, p.223) the Moon is called 'by the wise Levanah, for therein is contained the number of her name. She is the ruler of the tides of flux and reflux. The waters of the Great Sea answer unto her; likewise the waters of all earthly seas, and she ruleth the nature of woman.'
The Hebrew personification of the Pleiades, the name used in Job xxxviii:31. "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades?"
Biblical name of the Scythian Amazonian Goddess and her land in the north, home of the equestrian warriors greatly feared by the Semites. The magpie is her bird.
("The Kingdom") The Hebrew personification of Earth, of the Earth-Soul, the Goddess in actual manifestation. The tenth sephira of the Qabalistic Tree of Life known as the Bride, the Resplendent Intelligence. According to Dion Fortune (The Mystical Qabalah, p.275) 'No operation is completed until the process has been expressed in terms of Malkuth, or, in other words, has issued forth in action on the physical plane. If this is not done, the force that has been generated is not properly "earthed", and it is this loose force left flying around that causes the trouble in magical experiments. The Qabalistic symbols of Malkuth are the Altar of the Double Cube, The Equal-Armed Cross, the Magic Circle and the Triangle of Art. The magical image is of a young woman crowned and throned.
Virgin Mother of Jesus. Myrrh is sacred to Her. She may be considered a form of the Triple Goddess - Mary, Mary Magdalene, and the Black Madonna.
The daughter of the Baal Shem Tov and mother of several Tzaddikim (see: Lamed Vav). In Hasidic legend, Odel is regarded as the ideal type of woman. Israel.
Shabbat Hamalka
Among the goddesses representing either the female side of Yahweh or his consorts, such as Asherah, Shekhina, Anath, and Lilith, Shabbat Hamalka has a unique personality and origin. Her myth strongly influenced Jewish thought, and contributed to the strength of home and family that had improved the odds for physical and spiritual Jewish survival.
The name means Queen of the Sabbath, and the entity is the personification of the Jewish day of rest, Saturday. She still possesses a prominent position in Judaic mythology. For example, Israeli children, even in completely non religious surroundings, still sing songs to her every Friday afternoon (in Hebrew "Erev Shabatt" meaning the Sabbath Eve) before the Queen "descends" from Heaven to grace the world for twenty-four hours. When the Jews started their return to Palestine, long before the state of Israel was declared, new mythology had to be created or recreated. Shabbat Hamalka, prominent and romantic, was one of the first candidates.

Her origin is extremely ancient, and as the centuries rolled, Shabbat Hamalka acquired magical qualities, combining the character of Queen, Bride, and Goddess. In addition, she took on strong erotic/romantic and cosmic/spiritual significance. The usual Judaic connections to Akkadian myths exist in her image, because the word Shabbat resembles the name of the Akkadian feast of the full moon, Shabbatu. The Cabbalists, however, developed the myth to its full spiritual and romantic capacity and infused it with mystical, cosmic meaning. They started it as early as the 12th century, with a landmark treatise by the Spanish poet Abraham ibn Ezra entitled "Epistle of the Sabbath," and developed the myth until the 16th century. During this time, the gender of the Sabbath was debated, based on two verbs used in two versions of the Fourth Commandment. In Exodus, the Commandment declares "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." In Deuteronomy, the Commandment declares "Observe (or Keep, in some versions) the Sabbath day to keep it holy." The Zohar equates "Observe" with the female side of the Sabbath, and "Remember" with the male side, thus giving the Sabbath both genders. This is not as paradoxical as it sounds, if one compares it to the description of Shekhina, who is at the same time the female aspect of Yahweh Himself -- and his wife. Duplicate divine personas happen often in Judaism, because it combines a strong patriarchal outlook with an equally powerful presence of the Goddess. So the male side of the Sabbath came to be associated with "Yesod," the male principle of God in the Kabbalah, and the female side associated with Shekhina, who is Queen, representative of the Community of Israel, and Bride of God. This allowed Shabbat Hamalka to become the Bride of Yesod, or simply put, the Bride of God. It also intensified the distinctiveness of a glorious female entity, ready to be worshipped.

The female presence of God. The Indwelling One, the Shekhina is regarded as the feminine aspect of God, who dwells inside every individual, the Goddess Within, the female soul of God. In Hebrew, Sh'kina means "dwelling place" and like Her Tantric counterpart, the Shakti, the Sh'kina was the source of all "soul" in the universe.

The hexagram, which came to be known as the star of David, was introduced into Judaism in the Middle Ages via the Tantric influence on Medieval Jewish cabalists. Shekina is the Jewish Cabalist version of the Hindu Shakti, who when joined to Her male counterpart forms the perpetual sexual union believed to maintain life in the Universe. This reunion was symbolized by the Tantric mandala - Shakti (the downward pointing triangle) and Shiva (the upward pointing triangle).

The name Shekina does not appear in the Bible or in the Apocrypha, but is regarded as part of Hebrew lore, as described in the Talmud and the Cabala. The Shekina was often defined as God's "Glory" which, like "Holy Spirit" was another way of concealing the original Goddess relationship that gave Yahweh his powers. Sometimes Her name was simply omitted from scripture, and another word substituted in its place. The Targum of Onkilos, an Aramaic version dating from about A.D. 130, uses the word "Shekina" where later authors substituted the word "name," in Deuteronomy 12:5 "God shall choose that his Shekina may dwell there, unto the house of his Shekina shall you seek.

In the tradition of the Cabala, She is identified with the tenth Sephiroth, the Earth. Sometimes, She is described as the Mother of the whole Sephiroth (Ten qualities of the Mystical Tree). Kether, the Crown stood for a form of God that was never separated from his female aspect, the Shekina, representing androgynous wisdom.

Israel's sins caused the Shekina to leave the tabernacle, but some rabbis insisted that She returned when the second temple was built. It was God's loss of his Shekina that brought about all evils. As a man required his Shekina for enlightenment, so God required his Shekina for wisdom and creativity. He could not be perfect until he could be reunited with Her.

She is the radiance of God, The Bride of the Sabbath, the divine woman image who arrives like a bride every week on the Hebrew Sabbath, to restore the feeling of spiritual wholeness. Every Friday for centuries, Jewish women have celebrated the Goddess Shekina during the celebration called Shabat. The women light white candles and invite the Goddess, the Sacred Bride to enter their homes. She is also celebrated during the new moon, her presence is indicated by the sound of bells.

Rabbinic literature says the splendor of the Shakina feeds the angels. Gnostic Christians of the 4th century spoke of the Sh'kina as a "spirit of glory" in whom Beings of Light lived, as children in their mother's body or house. God required his Shekina for Wisdom and Creativity.

Sh'khinah was the feminine part of Yahweh, and the light that dwelt within everything. She lived at the root of the Tree of Life. It was said that she resided within the acacia, the tree that produces gum arabic, the glue that holds the world together. Although she was more extensively written about during the Middle Ages in the Kabbalah, her foundations can be traced back to the early Goddess imagery of Asherah and Astarte in Canaan.
Silence. Primal Creatress of Gnostics, who said Silence was the Mother of the Great Goddess Herself. Out of Her was born the first Word, the Logos of Creation.
(Ekhamoth) Early Greek Christians portrayed the feminine face of God as Hagia Sophia, or "Holy Female Wisdom." It was believed that Sophia's spirit entered Mary to conceive Jesus and, as a dove, entered Jesus at his baptism. She gave voice to the apostles at Pentecost.
It was believed that Sophia's spirit entered Mary to conceive Jesus and, as a dove, entered Jesus at his baptism. The resplendent 6th century shrine of this goddess at Constantinople (Istanbul) was called The Church of Holy Sophia. Gnostic Christianity, unlike the Roman patriarchal branch, honors the divine feminine. They saw Sophia as God's mother, identified with both Egyptian Isis and Aphrodite's dove of wisdom. In Jewish mysticism, Sophia was Wisdom, the Shekhina of God. Some sources identify her with Siduru sabaut, the Mesopotamian goddess of paradise. Her name survives in Arabic as Safiyya.



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