Naomi Sherer reviews...
The Woman's Encyclopedia
Honored by the London Times Educational Supplement as 1986 "Book of the Year" this intriguing work stands in a class by itself among useful reference books. It brings together information of mythical figures in a most useful form indicating conflicting sources to demonstrate the universality of stories as bases of truths and morality in today's religions. Walker meticulously researched the material she describes, citing other authors' works from which she gleaned her wisdom. How often have you heard, or even used, the word hag? It is frequently used to describe an ugly woman, right? Let's look at the original documented meaning.
n Greece, Hecate was one of many names for the original feminine trinity, ruling heaven, earth, and the underworld. Her images guarded three-way crossroads for centuries. As a deity of magic and prophecy, she was invoked by those who set out on journeys, like the biblical king of Babylon, who "stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images (Ezekiel 21:21)."
n the Christian bible Hebrew "wisdom" (Proverbs 8) is Hokhmah Mother of Wisdom, law, and words of power. Greek and Roman cognate hagia meant holy, especially as applied to the principle of female wisdom, Hegia Sophia.
aint Sophia is a canonical adaptation of the Gnostic Great Mother: Latin Sapientia, Greek Sophia, the spirit of Female Wisdom. Symbolized by the Dove of Aphrodite (later transformed into a sign of the Holy Ghost), Sophia once represented God's female soul, source of his power, just as Kali-Shakti served to vitalize the Hindu gods.
n Israel, a haggiah was a holy day. Certain Jewish religious literature dating back to Israel's matriarchal period was probably written by wise-women, since it was called the Haggadah. Later patriarchal rabbis declared this material "not legal."
Quoted from: The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker, 1983
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