Until I started creating my latest e-course, The New Moon Goddess Mystery School, I might have thought these four goddesses had very little in common. I chose them (or they chose me) because of the New Moons occurring this summer: July 8th in Cancer, the watery, feeling sign of the Great Mother, suggested The Two Marys (The Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalen), archetypes and spiritual guides I am familiar with, who teach us about nurturing ourselves. August 6th in fiery Leo, the sign of the Amazon Queen, suggested the great lion-headed Egyptian goddess, Sekhmet, who teaches us about anger and passion. September 5th, earthy Virgo, the sign of the priestess/queen led me to Guinevere (or Gwynhwyfar in the Welsh spelling), who teaches us about the queen aspect missing from the triple goddess of maiden, mother, crone, and about the sacred marriage between the inner feminine and masculine, also known in the mystery schools as the hieros gamos.
The more I have explored and delved into the mysteries of these four archetypes from different times and cultures the more I have been blown away by what they share. Here are some similarities and overlap that I have discovered that you will learn more about in the Mystery School course over the next 3 moons:
They are all queens: The Virgin Mary is known as the Queen of Heaven and is often depicted sitting on her sky throne, the moon under her feet; as the wife of Jesus Christ, would-be King of Israel, Mary Magdalen would have been Queen through the sacred marriage, which in apocryphal lore, was arranged to unite two royal families and end the Roman rule of Jerusalem; Sekhmet is both a goddess and queen, shown on her throne, holding a sceptor and an ankh, ruling over two warring regions of Egypt that eventually made peace; Guinevere was the queen to King Arthur, who brought peace for some time to the warring tribes of Britannia.
They are all virgin goddesses: To be a virgin goddess, in the sense of the ancient mysteries, has nothing to do with sexual abstinence. It speaks to a goddess who is whole or sovereign unto Herself. While these goddesses may be related to masculine counterparts as consort, husband, or son, they have their own power and divinity, separate from them and do not derive their power from them.
Together they make a triple goddess: Guinevere is most often associated with the maiden of spring and rebirth; The Two Marys are both creator mother goddesses; and Sekhmet is most often associated with the crone and the destructive aspect.
Each one has triple goddess aspects: Mary Magdalen is the mother; her daughter, Sarah, is the maiden, and the Virgin Mary is the grandmother/crone; in the Egyptian tripartite goddess, Bastet, the playful cat goddess is the maiden, Hathor, the pleasure-loving cow goddess is the creative mother, and Sekhmet is the destroyer crone; Guinevere is the maiden of Beltane, the mother of Brittania who unites her people at the round table, and the crone who eventually brings the round table to an end.
Each goddess has twin aspects: The Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene are often seen as two aspects of the one Mary: one divine, the other human; Sekhmet and Hathor are often seen as two sides of the same coin: one destroyer, the other creator; there was said to be a True Guinevere and a False Guinevere, not to mention Guinevere's dark other half, Morgaine. When we put these goddesses' two halves together they make a whole, multi-dimensional woman/goddess with light and shadow, human and divine, birth and death features.
Each of these goddesses had a sacred marriage: The Virgin Mary could be said to have had a sacred marriage to God or the Holy Spirit, although not in any worldly sense; Mary Magdalen had a sacred marriage with Jesus (both Marys are referred to as the Bride of Christ); Sekhmet with Ptah; and Guinevere with Arthur. The hieros gamos wedded man and woman with god and goddess in a holy rite that was widely practiced in the temples of the old world, as part of the ancient mysteries to bring about the sacred union. This not only united the feminine and masculine, but the human and divine, and the goddess to the land and its people (providing protection and fertility).
Each goddess has an association to the lion, an animal that denotes royalty: Jesus was known as the lion of Judah, one of the first tribes of Israel; the lion is a symbol of solar energy, connecting Jesus as the son (sun) of God; Sekhmet was the solar goddess of Egypt with her lioness head and female body; Guinevere was known as the "Lady of Lyonesse," where she was born, which was also the site of the final battle between Arthur and Mordred.
These are just a few of the commonalities I found between these goddesses and which you will discover, and much more too, when you take The New Moon Goddess Mystery School course now available for self-study. These are self-paced courses so you can start them any time and do them whenever it's convenient for you. You can also opt to take one, two, or all three New Moon courses.
I hope you will join us as we explore the mysteries of these feminine archetypes and learn how they have meaning for us today.