Goddesses in World Mythology

Goddesses in World Mythology

by Martha Ann, Dorothy Myers Imel
     
 

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"In the beginning people did not work, because the sky was so close to the Earth, they could just reach up and cut off a piece of it to eat. One day, Greedy Woman cut of an enormous chunk of the sky and, even with the help of the whole village, there was no way to finish it so she had to throw the remainder away. The sky was angry about this and rose high

Overview

"In the beginning people did not work, because the sky was so close to the Earth, they could just reach up and cut off a piece of it to eat. One day, Greedy Woman cut of an enormous chunk of the sky and, even with the help of the whole village, there was no way to finish it so she had to throw the remainder away. The sky was angry about this and rose high above the Earth so the people could no longer take pieces for food. Now people must work for their food." Greedy Woman, the Nigerian goddess responsible for humans having to work for their living is just one of the many thousands of women who populate world mythology. In every culture throughout the ages, women have played an intricate part in the mythical traditions that make up the voices of generations past. Yet, despite the rich diversity of these figures, researchers, archaeologists, and linguists have tended to give them short shrift.
Covering 30,000 years of goddess worship, this fascinating book is the first and most comprehensive biographical dictionary devoted exclusively to mythological women. Offering unprecedented access to information on over 11,000 goddesses, nymphs, demons, and deified women, this around the world journey explores hundreds of cultures that have worshiped female divinities. There are both the famous and the obscure—from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, and the Indian goddess Nari, creator of life, to Nermain, one of the five Irish war goddesses who provoke warriors to madness in battle, and Sodza, African goddess of thunder whose loud noise drives away evil spirits. Arranged alphabetically within fifteen geographical regions, including Egypt, the Far East, Oceania, North America, and the Himalayan region, each entry identifies the goddess by her most common anthropological, mythological, or religious name. It then identifies the culture recognizing that goddess, summarizies her powers or attributes, and often, provides a brief story characterizing her personality, motivations, powers, and attributes. Here are goddesses responsible for every aspect of daily life: we read of the agricultural attributes of the goddess Siduri, a Near Eastern goddess of wine and wisdom who encourages her followers to eat, drink, and be merry; we meet Lea, the Polynesian goddess of canoe makers, responsible for commerce and travel; and we are introduced to the Sjofn, the Scandinavian goddess of sexuality responsible for stirring human hearts to love. Included also are over 2,000 cross-references that guide the reader to other entries, showing the surprisingly intricate relationship of certain goddesses across cultures, regions, and time, as well as two indexes that divide the goddesses by name and attribute.
A unique and easy-to-use guide to female deities, Goddesses in World Mythology shows that goddessess were not just wives, sisters, mothers, or fertility deities, but supreme deities themselves. Ranging from Lennaxidaq, the Native American goddess of luck and wealth to gSum-brag-ma, Tibet's malevolent goddess of dysentery, this exhaustive work returns feminine sacredness to an honored place in the archives of humanity.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This excellent dictionary compiles information on 9500 female deities, deified women, female spirits, nymphs, and fairies. The entries are alphabetically listed under geographic locations: Africa, Central and Mesoamerican, Eastern Europe, Egypt, the Far East, the Greek and Roman empires, the Himalayas, the Indian subcontinent, the Near East, North America, Northern Europe, Oceana, Southeast Asia, and Western Europe. Each entry lists the name, country of origin, major attribute and characterization of the goddess in question, and entries marked with an icon relate succinctly a portion of her legend. A name index and an index by attribute are included, and an extensive bibliography provides an excellent resource for further scholarship. Highly recommended for any reference collection.-Gail Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology Lib., Alfred
Booknews
A massive compendium of goddesses in the mythologies of people throughout the world, including such far corners as the Himalayas and Oceania. The information includes the region and the people, attributes, the translation of the name, a description, often a story a few sentences long, synonymy, other names or spellings, cross-references, and bibliographic references. Indexed by name and attribute. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"This comprehensive guide is the first of its kind and covers 30,000 years of goddess worship. For academic and large public libraries." - Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195091991
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
07/13/1995
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
672
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 9.88(h) x 1.78(d)

Meet the Author

About the Authors:
Martha Ann is a doctoral candidate in Women's Religious Studies at the University of Colorado. Dorothy Myers Imel is a professional writer and editor.

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