All love begins and ends there

venusThough my peek at ancient symbols could go on for a bit longer, my cabin fever restlessness bids  me move on. Before I delve into other symbols in the series, I have to touch upon Mom.

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.”
~Robert Browning

You might know Mom by her other names. Gaia  or Earth Mother are just two that come off the top of my head. Throughout ancient beliefs, and on into today’s neopaganism, this one female is the personification of all life. It makes sense that a mother figure would be revered given the role women play in perpetuating the species. Up until a little more than 2000 years ago she was worshiped without question and consequently a woman’s place was beside man, rather than so many steps behind.

The storyteller I am can clearly see she never really left the scene. Donning the clothes of each region, she simply modernized and became the Goddesses worshiped in ancient civilizations. These are aspects of the goddess — the enormity of all life condensed into human form. I can’t speak for those deities who gained their divinity through gifts like Medea in the Greek myths who was born mortal but became a goddess. And I’m not referring to those assorted females of old like Muses and Furies. I’m talking about the Earth Mother wearing her various hats. Think of the hats you wear in your life — husband/wife/brother/sister/father/mother/employee/scout leader/homemaker/breadwinner/etc. You’re you, but you wear a lot of hats.

Allow me to set up a thought. In much of life as we know it, plant life included, there is duality — two halves of the one. In our case the male and female duality of Homo Sapiens. This duality of life consists of male and female across species: man/woman, ram/ewe, cob/pen, buck/doe etc. Now imagine the four seasons. Each season is an aspect of earth as a whole. The earth has phases. Think of Earth Mother goddess aspects as personalities in season form — hats if you will. Aspects of the Earth Mother are her phases, her seasons, her personalities.

In Celtic beliefs these personalities show up as three phases of womanhood girl/woman/old woman a.k.a. maiden, mother, and crone. To give an example, I’ll stick with a few from the Greek myths because so many of their goddesses are known for specific things and illustrate exactly what I’m talking about.

Athena ~ personified these Earth Mother attributes: strength, wisdom, and domestic crafts.
Artemis ~ the hunt, nature and birth.
Demeter ~ the growing, preserving and harvesting of grain.
Hestia ~ the hearth and home.
Rhea ~fertility of the soil, women, and motherhood.
Themis ~ divine justice, order, and customs.

There you have it — many faces of woman, and not just any woman, the Magna Mater — The Great Mother. mother.max.dashu - Copy

Stepping back in time~

The Great Mother shows up in paleolithic and neolithic sites as symbolic triangles or almond shapes, both a stylized nod to female sexuality. When I imagine a primordial goddess, the first image that comes to mind is the Venus of Willendorf. Plumped by plenty and filled with fecundity, her wide hips and bountiful breasts declare her fertility and suggest her sustenance.

To date, hundreds of similar figures made of stone and bone and clay have been discovered all over the world. Unfortunately, we can only speculate on their exact purpose.  It’s interesting to note that the earliest Mother symbols are faceless. Such anonymity suggests she was beyond personification. Many wear the scars of motherhood on hips, belly, and breasts in acknowledgement of cycles – the cycles of life and birth – an undeniable  symbol of the earth itself.

These Great Mothers, reverently called the Venus figures, span both Paleolithic and Neolithic eras. Some, like the Hohle Fels mammoth-ivory Venus, date back more 30,000 years. Older still are those triangles, ovals, chevrons (zigzags, M, or V patterns) in 40,000-year-old Neanderthal artworks. Even more ancient, the 70,000 year old symbols found in Africa. All represent woman and they’re often depicted beside the wavy lines symbol for water. The birth waters.

~ Other information worth your time ~

Individual images with descriptions

A terrific poster

An interesting conversation with Constance Tippet regarding the Magna Mater and women in society.


Another 100 Things Blogging Challenge! For 100 days, I’ll post something from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 54 entries to come.

Here’s one for today:

celeripedean (adjective 1623-1656)



bee1I’m all over the web with satellite blogs this weekend. If two things are listed for one blog, that’s one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Scroll back to see what you’ve missed. 😀

Seductive Studs & Sirens & MFRW Valentine Hop
& Weekend Writing Warriors

Saturday’s After Dark Moments & Sneak Peek Sunday

My Sexy Saturday & Sexy Snippets

Set the Scene in Six – Promo opportunity for romance authors.
Stop by my group blog and leave your six!

4 Us iconToday is Author Fran Lee’s blog day.

The February contest is on Romance Books ‘4’ Us and it’s all about Cupid. Find the little cherub hidden all across the site to win. This month’s contest will have 2 winners who’ll each receive a $50 gift card for Amazon/B&N, then split the remaining prizes (randomly chosen by RB4U). Be sure to check all our pages for news about authors and their books, publishers and their books, and industry representatives.


Several promotional opportunities for romance authors can be found on my Exquisite Quills group blogs. Meet the founding authors and our guests.

Exquisite Quills Yahoo Group

Free to join in each week
Wash Line Monday ~ share your descriptions of clothing in your novel.
Tickle Us Tuesday ~ Share fun and funny snippets from your novel.
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.

Set the Scene in Six~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.

Book a spot
The Genesis of a Book ~ share the spark that ignited your novel.
Author Interviews ~
We’re booking late spring now.


all7books-smallLove Waits in Unexpected Places – Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

Sample my love stories for free!


Coming soon~



About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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12 Responses to All love begins and ends there

  1. Ray G says:

    Great blog. I have pics of all the goddesses you mentioned on my PC. Many are by Boris Vallejo. I have a statue of Themis on my hearth. I gave my daughter a statue of Artemis complete with a removable brass bow and arrow. The same store in Chania, Crete had a much larger statue of Artemis with her wolf companion. I recognize the earth mother pictured in your blog.

    I have heard two theories about Ancient Crete. One that it was a matriarchy and the other that there was equality of the sexes. It depends on who you read as to which is more credible.

    I am going to save this blog for future reference.

    • Thanks Ray. I can imagine those Vallejo goddesses. The man is an artist extraordinaire. I’ve read the same thing about Crete. My take on it was it was both.

      • Ray G says:

        I agree that it was probably both. One thing I read was that the Minoan women wore hoop skirts with a top that could be opened in warm weather baring the breasts. Iron hoops have been found that would appear to support that theory.

        I saw the disc of phoestes in the museum at Heraklean. I could not believe it was only as large as a large hand held mirror. To think it was a language translator from Linear A to Linear B.

        It was so strange that when I was in the Minoan Palace of Knossos that I blanked out the live people and saw the ancients. Vision or imagination, I am not sure. The most interesting event held at Knossos was bull leaping. Both female and male young people would grab the bull’s horns and leap over his back. Plays were held in a theater that had stone steps as seats.

        There was a bath tub for the Queen on the lower level with evidence the place had running water. I was fascinated with how except for electricity they were almost modern. I wouldno put it past them to have been able to produce solar owner had they not been destroyed by a tsunami brought on by a volcano on a nearby island.

      • Oh I envy you Ray! Crete in on my bucket list. I delve into the Minoans a bit in my magnum opus. fascinating. There are ancient batteries that run on vinegar by the way. Making electricity the same way those Potato or Citrus Clocks do.

  2. I agree, an excellent discussion of women as deity, earth mothers and matriarchs.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Jacqueline. 🙂 What a different world we’d have right now had we stayed on that path.

    • Ray G says:

      It has been misplaced, but I have a book describing the goddesses and the real women who were the source of the goddesses. I read the Celtic section, but then on one of my verse as voyages it disappeared before I returned home.

      • I hate that. I developed the habit of keeping an “idea book” with me at all times. You never know when a great nugget of info will comes your way, and it’s sad when they evaporate from your mind the minute your hand touched the doorknob.

  3. melissakeir says:

    The mother figure is so important and I love the three aspects which also tie into fate. As I approach the crone period of my life, I’m more reflective about the choices I’ve made. Wouldn’t change a thing because it put me where I am today, but I wonder how much of my threads were pulled and played with by fate.

    • Like most people, I do wish on occasion that I’d done this or that differently, or tried this path or that. The whole journey so far has made me who I am.

      My friends threw me a crone party. It was transformative. 🙂

  4. The goddess energy will soon be more honored again than it has been in thousands of years. The key to harmony is when goddess and god are blended and balanced. I wonder how long that will take? 🙂

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