The Great Goddess Spirit Shining in Heaven, this Japanese Sun Goddess ruled weaving and agriculture. Disgusted with her brother because of his violence toward women, Amaterasu enclosed herself in a cave and refused to come out. Eight hundred deities gathered outside her self-made isolation and tried to lure her out with a loud celebration. Hearing the loud commentaries on an erotic dance being performed by the crone Goddess Ame No Uzume, Amaterasu emerged, overcome with curiosity. Seeing her radiance reflected in a mirror that had been set up outside the entrance, she was amazed at her brilliance which she had never seen before. She returned to the world and life was renewed. The snake, draped on her arm, holds her brother's sword which she broke into 3 pieces that became Goddesses. She holds a haniwa (burial sculpture) of a female shaman from Tochigi Prefecture, late 5th - early 6th century. Design on vase from a 19th century woodcut by Utagawa Kunisada; mirror from the Yayoi period, 300 BCE-300 CE.

 31"x20" copyright 1996 oil on linen  


Aphrodite, the "Golden One", was the Greek Goddess of Love who was born from the foam of the sea. She was attended by the Hours and the Graces who made her even more beautiful before she set foot on shore. As she walked to meet the rest of the goddesses and gods for the first time, flowers sprang up at her feet. She fell in love with Adonis, a beautiful young man who, one day went hunting and was killed by a boar; she turned him into an anemone. As the vegetation god, he died and was reborn. Her origins can be traced back to Cyprus, where her temple was decorated with a star, a crescent moon and a dove, and further back to Mesopotamia in her form as Inanna-Ishtar where the myth of her consort Tammuz (Dumuzi) was similar to that of Adonis. The myth of Isis and Osiris was also similar. Before the classical period, Aphrodite's realm was Nature. It was only after the patriarchal takeover that she became the Goddess of Love in various forms: as Aphrodite Urania she represented ideal love. The statue of Aphrodite is from Myrina, 2nd century BCE; the "Birth of Aphrodite" on the shell is from the Ludovisi Throne, 470-60 BCE; the figurine of Aphrodite on a swan is from Boeotia, Greece, 6th century BCE. The necklace and earrings are Roman, early 3rd century and 3rd-4th century respectively.

 34"x20" copyright 1997 oil on linen  


Greek/Roman Goddess, called the "Mother of All Creatures" in her nurturing aspect, was represented as the "many-breasted" Diana. The spirit figure of Diana of Ephesus on the right is from Asia Minor, 2nd century CE. Her aspect as huntress stems from Neolithic times when her priestesses sacrificed any invaders to their shores. In Roman myth, as Diana, she was "Queen of Heaven" and was worshipped as a triple Goddess (Lunar Virgin, Mother of Creatures, and Huntress). Statue on left is Roman, 340 BCE; round representation in the center is from a silver plate found at Ephesus dating from the end of the 4th century CE.

 28"x24" copyright 1996 oil on linen  


Greek Goddess of culture, wisdom, laws, crafts, and political and military strategy. Her symbols included the owl (wisdom) and the snake (ancient symbol of female power). Patriarchal Greek mythology tells of Athena being born from Zeus's head after he swallowed her mother, Metis. However, Metis can be traced back to North Africa as Medusa whose snake hair symbolized female wisdom. Athena was the virgin form of the triple Gorgon Mother of Fate: Neith; Metis or Medusa; Anath or Ath-enna. Originally, it was said that she was born in Libya from the uterus of Lake Tritonis (3 Queens). Athena is wearing a helmet with two horses, symbolizing the belief that it was she who first tamed the horse and invented the bridle and chariot. The sculpture after Phidias is from the Parthenon, c. 447 BCE, Greece.

 34"x20" copyright 1996 oil on linen  


The image of the Black Madonna, who is said to have miraculous powers, can be traced back through the ages to Africa, Asia and the Middle East in the form of Isis, Tara, Sara-Kali and other dark Goddesses. They represented the fertile Earth as well as the great void. As Sara-Kali, she is worshipped by the gypsies and is said to have accompanied Mary Magdalen, two elderly Marys, Martha and Lazarus on a boat without oars or sails that landed at Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France in 43 CE. The icon of Czestochowa (Poland) was brought from Jerusalem in 1384; it was slashed in the cheek by marauders in 1430 and is said to have bled.

 30"x24" copyright 1997 oil on linen  


Celtic Goddess of smithcraft, poetry, inspiration, and healing, she was known as the "Bright Arrow" and was associated with fertility and the birth of lambs in the spring. She stands in front of a third century sculpture of the Goddess Brigantia from Scotland; her pendant shows a portrait of a woman from a cauldron found at Kraghede, Denmark, 1st century BCE; her torque is from Snettisham, Norfolk, England, 1st century, BCE; bracelet from Erstfeld, Switzerland, 4th century BCE.

 34"x20" copyright 1996 oil on linen  


Welsh Goddess of Death and Regeneration and keeper of the cauldron of inspiration; her totem was the pig. One day she asked Gwion to stir the cauldron, which contained boiling hot herbs; he accidentally burnt his fingers and put them in his mouth, taking in some of the mixture and instantly becoming brilliant. Angry that he had disobeyed her and took the gift she had been preparing for her own son, she chased him all over, both of them transforming themselves into various creatures: she became a greyhound and he became a hare; then a hawk and a bird; and finally she became a hen and he a seed of grain, which she ate. He grew inside of her for 9 months and she gave birth to Taliesin, who became the greatest poet of Wales. In the right foreground is the Gundestrop cauldron, 2nd-1st century BCE, Denmark; in the left foreground is a Celtic bronze boar, Hungary, 1st century BCE - 1st century CE; pig mask is Vinca culture, Macedonia, 4500-4000 BCE. She stands inside of a round megalithic stone, said to have healing powers, called Mên-an-tol, Cornwall, England, c. 2000 BCE; the front stone is from New Grange, Ireland, c. 3000 BCE.

 29"x24" copyright 1997 oil on linen  


Aztec Goddess of Rain and the Flowing Water. The Aztecs believed there were 4 prehistoric ages. The first was "4 Jaguar" during which the giants lived. At the end, the sun carrier Tezcatlipoca was turned into a jaguar who devoured them (north, black & red, 13x52 years, earth). During the second age, "4 Wind", Quetzalcoatl became the sun carrier but in the end was defeated by Tezcatlipoca and became a hurricane, taking many people. Those who remained became monkeys (east, yellow, 13x52 years, air). During the third age, "4 Rain", the sun carrier was Tlaloc, the rain god. In the end he was overcome by Quetzalcoatl and created a rain of fire (lightning) that changed people into turkeys (south, white, 7x52 years, fire). During the fourth age, "4 Water", Chalchihuitlicue carried the sun. She was known as She of the Robe of Green Jewels. Seeing much injustice in the world, she created a bridge to the 5th world for those whom she favored, the others were drowned in a deluge that lasted 52 years. When it was over, she calmed the wild waters and was thereafter remembered during the month of Etzaqualitzl when pilgrims came to ask for rain for the crops (west, blue-green, 6x52 years, water). Goddess figure from Tajin, 4th- 9th century CE; turkey from a Teotihuacan vessel 400-600 CE.

 30"x24" copyright 1996 oil on linen  


The worship of Cybele, called the great "Mountain Mother" , is believed to have originated in Phrygia, northern Anatolia. Cybele represented the fertile earth, and the death of her consort, Attis, represented the end of the growing season. She was celebrated in a great festival characterized by ecstatic dancing and drumming. The ceremony began with the entry of Attis (symbolized by a pine tree) into the city, followed by a day of mourning for him and fasting, and then a great festival of joy to celebrate the growing season. The Romans began to celebrate Cybele in 204 BCE when the Carthaginians were close to conquering the city. The Sibyl was consulted and the Romans were told to bring the black stone (a meteorite) from Asia Minor and place it in the Temple of Victoria, which they did. Thirteen years later, the Carthaginians were defeated. Cybele was usually portrayed with her lions, signifying her link to the images of the Mother Goddess giving birth between 2 felines at Neolithic Çatal Höyük. Cybele shrine from Piraeus, Greece, 5th - 4th century BCE; bracelet from a diadem of Cybele and Attis originally worn by a priestess of Cybele, 1st century BCE; necklace and bracelet after Roman pieces from 1st - 2nd century CE.

 30"x24" copyright 1998 oil on linen  
 30"x28" copyright 1998 oil on linen


Demeter is the Goddess of the harvest, the fertile ploughed earth, the Corn Mother; Persephone, the Corn Maiden, is the seed planted underground. Around the 15th century BCE, the Mycenaens brought Demeter from Crete to Eleusis, the place where she found her daughter and where the initiation of women into the Great Mysteries was performed. Classical Greek myth tells of Persephone having been abducted by Hades to become Queen of the Underworld. Her mother, Demeter, implored the deities to let her daughter return to earth. They consented but, in the meantime, Persephone had eaten a seed from a pomegranate, forcing her to remain in the underworld. As a compromise, it was agreed that she would inhabit the earth for part of the year and the underworld during the other part, a metaphor for the growing season and non-growing season. However, long before the mythical Hades was ever conceived, in more ancient, pre-patriarchal times, Persephone was Queen of the Underworld and was another form of Hecate. Originally, the Triple Goddess was represented by Kore, the virgin; Demeter, the mother preserver; and Hecate or Persephone, the destroyer. In later years, Kore and Persephone became the same Goddess. The pomegranate was an ancient symbol of female fertility; the souls of the underworld ate pomegranates so that they could be reborn. They are standing in front of a bas-relief of their reunion from Eleusis, Greece, early 5th century BCE and are holding Boetian figures used in the Demeter and Persephone rites from the mid 6th century BCE. Demeter's ribbed seed necklace is from Kourion, 400-300 BCE; her earring is part of a pendant with 2 bees from Mallia, Middle Minoan, 1700-1550 BCE. Persephone's pomegranate pendant is from Enkomi, Cyprus, 1400-1300 BCE; her earring is from Mycenae, 1550-1500 BCE; her bracelet from Thessaly, 8th century BCE.



Great warrior Goddess from India. When the other gods could no longer fight the asuras (demons), they called Durga from her mountain home to help. She came, golden like the sun, with her tigers, and vanquished the asuras who symbolized oppression and ignorance. This myth is from the Puranic texts. She is in front of a stone representation of herself from the Orissa state, India.

 60"x48" copyright 1994-5 oil on linen  


Ancient Celtic Goddess of Abundance who cared for all horses. She was the daughter of a mare and a man and was able to assume human or equine form. Her legend spread from Gaul throughout all the lands and was even adopted by the Romans. She is riding in front of a wall with an ancient stone carving of herself found in Beihingen, Germany.

 30"x40" copyright 1994 oil on linen