BET EMET MINISTRIES

Hebrew For "The House Of Truth"

Craig M. Lyons Ms.D., D.D., M.Div.

bennoah1@verizon.net

VIRGO, THE VIRGIN

Lost in antiquity and mythologically connected to Leo, the ancient goddess in the sky was probably part of the original six zodiac constellations (Norman J. Lockyer, The Dawn of Astronomy, Kila, MT: Kessinger, 1992), p. 404) and is considered by some astronomers (Jobes, Outer Space, p. 272) to be over 15,000 years old in human awareness (which was about the time the spring equinox occurred in this constellation). The earliest expression of Virgo was about 2,900 B.C.E. with the construction of the Egyptian sphinx, believed to be a celebration and adoration of the two zodiac signs through which the sun traveled at the time of summer and the harvest. The sphinx had the head of the great harvest goddess and the body of a lion (Jobes, Outer Space, , p. 274). However, Lockyer, in the late 19th century, implied that the sphinx may be far older than this date (Lockyer, Dawn of Astronomy, p. 83).

The Egyptians drew her on their Denderah zodiac, larger than she is now and with no wings but clearly a goddess. They saw virgo as the thousand-named goddess Isis, wife of the dead Osiris and mother of the god Horus (Allen, Star Names, p. 462). She was seen as holding a wheat sheaf in her hand, which she dropped to form the Milky Way. She ruled the summer solstice about 5,000 B.C.E., when time began for the human race (De Santillana and von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill; p. 59). The Golden Age was said to have ended when this goddess no longer governed the solstices, for the Egyptians saw this shift in the constellation of the summer solstices as a crisis: they believed the goddess had left the earth to return to heaven in distress at the behavior of the humans of the Silver Age. The Milky Way, which was formed by the wheat dropping from the sheaf in her hand, is a piece of mythology reflecting the early belief that the Milky Way was the burned out passage of the Sun, before humans discovered precession. For at that stage there was no reason to assume that the path of the precession of the equinox was defined by the ecliptic.

The early Arabs called her Al Adhra al Nathifah, the Innocent Maiden. She was also known as the Pure Virgin and the Chinese knew her as the Frigid Maiden, which seems to be an unkind literal translation from the Chinese. To the Greeks she was Demeter, goddess of the harvest, who withdrew herself and her seasons from the Earth when Pluto abducted her daughter. They also saw her as Erigone, a maiden who became so distressed at the ways of the human race that she hanged herself. By the time of{short description of image} Christianity she had become Mary holding the Child (Isis recast).

Whatever image is chosen from across time and cultures, what is contained in Virgo is the archetype of the harvest-bringing goddess, pure and good, independent of the masculine. She gives the four seasons and is the source of the fertile Earth. Her emphasis at the time of harvest linked her to the gifts of the harvest and the cycles of the Earth, rather than the more worldly pursuits of commerce and trade. Her purity was reflected in the concept of virginity. However, the earliest forms of this goddess are not "virginal" in the modern sense of the word. The older meaning of virgin was a woman who owned her own body and was therefore free to love whomever she desired. Virgo is a fruitful, fertile goddess, not a virginal, innocent adolescent.

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