Introducing Goddesses | Madhu Bazaz Wangu
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Introducing Goddesses

Introducing Goddesses

Dear Readers,

The last month’s Goddess Lecture Series at the Northland Public Library was well received. Thanks to all the participants for insightful questions and lively comments.

When I started the series I did not realize that the participants would not be familiar with Hindu goddesses. Their religious background is Judeo-Christian.

The Christian trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit are understood (for example in visual arts, poetry and literature) as males. There is no concept of goddess. The absence of goddesses has left an empty space in this religious worldview. The pious do hold the Virgin Mary in a place of high esteem but she doesn’t have the same level of holiness as the trinity. Theologians have left that space empty. There is a serious need to fill that gap because an empty goddess space at the highest sacred level echoes in the empty space in human hearts.

No wonder then that the participants of the goddess lectures enthusiastically participated and seemed keenly interested in the imagery, myths and energies of the major Hindu goddesses. Here are a few quotes from their comments:

“I found the idea of ‘churning the mind’ very interesting. That inspired me to think about the strengths inherent in me. I look forward to a future workshop.”

“It ‘began to jell’ by the fourth session when we started to understand that the goddesses are not merely mythic characters outside our grasp. They represent the many qualities and powers that we all have within us.”

“Four weeks is probably not enough time. They felt like a whirlwind pace to get a grip on the goddess concept. We need more sessions.”

“I always thought of goddesses as outside of myself (but after sitting in your lectures) it is as if a light switch has been flipped. This is an insight that will start a new direction in my growth.”

The next time I offer the lectures, I will add two extra sessions: an introductory session in which we will discuss the beginnings of goddesses and clearly position them within the pantheon of Hindu deities. At the end of the series I will add a workshop. The two extra sessions will help clarify some of the concepts and help participants further understand the subject matter. I invite all of you to join me in this endeavor.

The curiosity and interest in the goddesses has inspired me to post, starting this week, short writings about goddesses under the “Writings” page. This week I write about how I myself became aware of the goddesses when I first came to America.

Thank you Jane, Cathy, Theresa, Becky, Linda and all others for the feedback.

My special thanks to Ms. Jane Jubb of the Northland Library for organizing the series.

Madhu B. Wangu

  • How interesting! I’m not surprised that the workshop participants didn’t have the background information; we seem in the U.S. to focus so much on European traditions and culture, including religion. Your workshop series is valuable in spreading information and awareness.

    May 2, 2008 at 10:07 am
  • jane jubb

    Dear Madhu:

    As always, you spent much time in thought and preparation for your Goddesses series and then made it even better by sharing much of yourself as you described the influence the Goddesses have had on your own life. For most of us, I think, it was a totally different way of looking at our actions and our aspirations and how these mythical figures with all their attributes can inspire us.

    One of the most interesting aspects to me was the fact that these goddesses actually seemed more “human” than many of the Biblical figures most of us were taught to admire and emulate. The latter were almost always presented as almost “perfect” human beings whose perfections made us realize even more our own imperfections and the impossibility of ever reaching such perfection. The goddesses, on the other hand, represent all of our human characteristics and make us realize when we are too often acting as the warrior, Kali, when a more forgiving attitude would be appropriate…or when we are too passive and should take a stronger, more assertive position as many of the goddesses often did.

    Thank you again, dear Madhu, for making those Thursday evenings most enjoyable and something I looked forward to each week.

    With warm regards,


    May 4, 2008 at 5:53 pm

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