IMAGE: Judith Shaw

The Shrine of the Bird Goddess, in the late 80’s. The central piece, The Bird Goddess, is a very large painting – 6′ x 10′. The painting and installation was inspired by the work of Marija Gimbutas, amazing archaeologist who uncovered the ancient artifacts of a harmonious, pre-patriarchal Goddess-worshipping Neolithic Old Europe. [

Paul Friedrich, An Avian and Aphrodisian Reading of Homer's Odyssey, American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 99, No. 2 (Jun., 1997), pp. 306-320

 “THE MEANING, even the sheer presence, of birds in the Odyssey and in similar canonical, paradigmatic texts in other cultures is not obvious to many and has been ignored by all but a few of the legions of specialists. A similar statement could be made about an aphrodisian reading of the text. Yet Homer felt that birds were deeply significant, often as symbols of Aphrodite. To- day we can profitably explore these crucial and nuanced, albeit often subliminal or latent, meanings. Such exploration leads to unique understandings of essential, underlying values in Homeric culture and the cultures of the world generally”.

Lucy Goodison, Death, Women and The Sun: Symbolism of Regeneration In Early Aegean Religion, Bulletin Supplement (University of London. Institute of Classical Studies), No. 53, (1989), pp. iii, vii-xi, xiii-xix, 1-261.

Mythical Representations of ‘Mother Earth’ in Pictorial Media

Nikos Chausidis

[University of Skopje, Institute for History of Art & Archaeology, Macedonia.]

 Abstract. This paper summarizes our past researches of the pictorial representations of the Mother Earth myth and the separation of the basic iconographical types. Generally, the paper is not geographically cultural or chronologically limited. This means that we approach the phenomenon in its wider aspect, searching for its universal (transhistorical and transcultural) features. This is justified by the simple fact that the Mother Earth phenomenon itself possesses such a character, being universal for the bigger part of mankind. Yet, beside this principal openness, the focus of our research points toward the archaic cultures, i.e. those that had never, or not in a sufficient degree, entered the spheres of the cultures that are today regarded as civilizations. Here we have in mind the cultures of the Neolithic, the Age of Metals and the later centuries BC. We have divided the corpus of the pictorial representations of Mother Earth into several categories based not so much on the appearance but on the basic semiotic concept that generated them . . .

 From: Archaeology of Mother Earth Sites and Sanctuaries through the Ages. Rethinking symbols and images, art and artefacts from history and prehistory, Edited by G. Terence Meaden, BAR International Series 2389, 2012

Mardith K. Schuetz-Miller, Spider Grandmother and Other Avatars of the Moon Goddess in New World Sacred Architecture, Journal of the Southwest, Vol. 54, No. 2, New World Sacred Architecture (Summer 2012), pp. 283-293, 295-303, 305-347, 349-397, 399-421, 423-435

Sabrina Higgins, Divine Mothers: The Influence of Isis on the Virgin Mary in Egyptian Lactans-Iconography, Journal of the Canadian Society for Coptic Studies 3–4 — 2012


This article provides an overview of the scholarship on the relationship between depictions of Isis and Mary that show them breastfeeding or offering their breast (representations of the lactans-type) in Egypt. In particular, it questions the notion of a deliberate cultic continuity between the two holy women based on the similarity of their iconography. The evidence demonstrates that whereas Isis lactans can be documented in the Mediterranean from 700 BCE until the fourth century CE, Maria lactans-imagery only appears uncontested in Egypt from the seventh century CE onwards. This evidence, therefore, does not warrant a generalization that there was a deliberate continuity between the cult of Isis and that of Mary. Although the similarities between the Isis and Maria lactans-imagery are undeniable, they need to be understood within their respective cultural contexts.

“Ancient bisexual woman was inventor, scientist, builder, artist, healer, producer of craft and culture, shaman, ecstatic visionary warrior, and leader. This is our total potential, when our life energies are not divided against themselves, and against us, blocked and distorted by cultural and religious stereotypes. This is just the beginning of our potential, when our energies are able to flow out freely to create the world-as symbolized by the self-sustaining power of the gynandrous Great Mother. (70)


THE GREAT COSMIC MOTHER: REDISCOVERING THE RELIGION OF THE EARTH by Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor HarperCollins, 1991, p. 70.