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This will enable travelers visiting these sites, or armchair travelers, to have a background for the locale as well as understand how the location relates within Goddess spirituality. Some of these sites were locations where God was also worshipped, such as Mecca. Other places some may say are imbued with male energetics, like Mesoamerica and Peru.

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Obviously sacred locales of both deity genders are not mutually exclusive and certainly energy work is very sub- jective and within the eye of the beholder. It should be remembered the focus of this book is the Divine Feminine and in doing so, there is little opportunity to also cover male deities.

Energy grids may run through many sacred sites but their locations have not influenced the selections. Herstory, tradition, and heart knowledge were more important considerations. When various Goddess- oriented subjects might have been relevant at a location, the author used per- sonal discretion in choosing subject matter, opting to introduce new information which would add further elements to this odyssey of discovery. As an example, certain places in Greece were chosen because they bring to the forefront some ideas why and how Goddess began to be perceived differently in the world.

Some sites in India were selected because they establish a living tradition alive today, provide insight into how these living traditions manifest, or give readers a window into the world of the priestess of long ago. A few sites were chosen to introduce the work of controversial archaeologist Marija Gimbutas.

Whether one agrees with her findings or not a goddess-oriented book should include her important theories. Also included are sites that establish a long timeline of Goddess worship. Sacred places were also chosen which embody the essence of the Divine Feminine today. Besides historical, spiritual, and cultural significance being criteria for choos- ing the sites, the physical richness of the site was also considered. Places that were in good physical condition were chosen so that travelers would be steered toward places with exciting visual elements. There is nothing more exhilarating than to walk onto a sacred landscape and be able to visualize what this place once looked like in the time Goddess was worshipped there.

That being said, if an archaeological site rep- resented an important ideologi- cal shift of a major Goddess it was not necessarily eliminated The ubiquitous "" reveals itself in everyday life. Sacred Pl aces of Goddess 20 because the site has not yet been fully restored. As previously stated, some of these sacred sites have been so for thousands of years and the accumulated energy there, as well as the history of the site, made inclusion necessary.

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Sites that have particular importance in our current culture also made the list, such as places where ancient and modern worship or different faiths honoring Goddess are housed under one roof. Sites where Goddess manifests in a non-traditional framework were also included in an effort to show the broad diversity and exclu- sivity of Goddess spirituality across continents.

And as an added bonus, a bit of lagniappe, or a little something extra has been thrown in. Sprinkled within these official sacred places are clues to other Goddess sites located within their general vicinity. The sites generally fell into five general categories, which occasionally overlapped: Goddess Remembered. This category includes archaeological sites where Goddess was formerly alive and worshipped in ancient times. Living Goddess. Here are sites where traditional Goddesses are still actively worshipped today, including Mary, the mother of Christ, Mary Magdalene, and the Black Madonnas.

Goddess Redefined. These are sites that have traditional and non-tradi- tional Goddess worship being reinvented or redefined in a modern context. It also includes places that embody the essence of the Goddess. Goddess as Nature. Whether built by human hands or a naturally occurring landform, these are Goddess sites within nature.

Goddess in Art. These are museums where Goddess is prominently rep- resented. It also includes Goddess as she is characterized within the context of ancient or modern art work. This category often overlaps with other categories. It should not be forgotten that worship of Goddess survived around the world with varying success. In most instances Christian or Muslim missionaries obliterated the existing cultures they found leaving little physical or cultural trace of the indigenous worship practices honoring Goddess.

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Scholarship, research, and excavations have also been more focused in certain parts of the world than others. As an example, much more informa- tion can be provided on the influence of Goddess in Europe than in Oceania. Another difficulty is what we know of a culture may not come directly from the indigenous people themselves, therefore the view we have might be a bit slanted as is the case of some of our information of Goddess in India.

Much of the historical information and context for the Goddess in India comes to us from the Greeks, whose ideas of Goddess and the female began to shift from authenticity, as is explained within the Europe chapter. Added to this sometimes lopsided or slanted availability of The Venus of Willendorf is over 22, years old.

Introducti on to Goddess 21 data is the issue of privacy of living cultures which must be honored. Case in point is the Aboriginal people of Australia. They retain a unique aspect of Goddess worship within their culture and this author feels a responsibility to uphold their rights to keep their locations of womans business private, therefore the sites indicated are only those which have already been made public in various domains.

There is also less research pertaining to Goddess in South and Central America. Obviously funding is needed by scholars to expand gender archaeology in these regions. It must be remembered this is foremost a travel guide written to introduce readers to a multitude of places throughout the world which are sacred to the Divine Feminine.

An attempt has been made to give an explanation about the Goddess and her cultural aspects of each site to enrich travel to these special locations. Occasionally material presented may seem to conflict. The reason is because scholars and authors do not always agree. Competing views at some sites can be very controversial. And as this book points out, new information is being discovered everyday. An attempt has also been made to include various viewpoints and interpretations not only of scholars, but Goddess advocates, and cultural dif- fusionists.

It is not within the scope of this book to discuss detailed or definitive theories on religion, archaeology, or anthropology. Some of these subjects are open to personal interpretation. It is up to the reader if they wish to delve deeper into any of the subjects introduced. What the author has attempted to do is open a window onto a beautiful garden where Goddess grows for the enjoyment of read- ers.

Tantalizing seeds have been planted and many varieties of flowers have taken root and are ready to bloom. It is up to readers if they choose to cultivate the garden and become an expert on any plant that grows there. A great place to start would be the work of the incredible scholars and authors found in the extensive bibliography at the back of the book. An anonymous writer once said, A wise person never thinks he has all the answers, instead he hopes he knows the right questions.

What About God? Countless books have been written over thousands of years extolling the characteristics and story of God, in all His many names. Sites designated sacred to Goddess may also be sacred to God.

Both the female and male face of divinity may have peacefully or not coexisted in any number of these sites at different times of history. Many books tell about these places in the context of patriarchal divinity, but few tell readers about what has been lost the sacred feminine. That is the scope of this book and it is in no way meant to diminish belief in God. In fact, many goddess advocates perpetuate the belief in the need for a Mother and Father to restore balance in the world.

Many cultures have retained the female face of god over humankinds long history, alongside and equal to their male face of god. One beautiful quote which reflects this philosophy comes from Abdul-Baha , "The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly.

Most chapters will include Gaia Alerts which are notices of ongo- ing or impending ecological or cultural devastation. These alerts are sprinkled throughout each chapter to raise awareness of environmental concerns or the need for action to protect sacred sites within that particular part of the world. As Goddess is synonymous with Mother Earth, readers are challenged to become more knowledgeable about forces which endanger the planet.

Gaia Alerts encourage the reader to reconnect with nature and not take for granted the air Sacred Pl aces of Goddess 22 we breathe, the water we drink, and all life Mother Earth sustains. If priorities do not change, life as we know it may cease to exist on this planet. Animals that once thrived might only be seen in zoos or books.

Every day species disappear and cultures begin to fade.

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Every day we lose precious natural resources that cannot be replaced. We are all the stewards of the planet and protectors of the creatures that inhabit it. This is not an issue that can continue to be put on the backburner of life. Everyone must take more seriously their personal role in society as it relates to honoring nature and those crea- tures which fly, walk, slither, and swim. Goddess Focus. These are side panels to enrich the sacred site entries within each chapter, often dispelling myths and explain- ing concepts and the contexts for life in earlier times which might be difficult to put into perspective using contemporary mores.

Modern themes are also explored which have an impact on the female gender within soci- ety as these issues directly or indirectly are the result of the subjugation of the Feminine Divine within todays culture.

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Scholars of Goddess themes are also highlighted. Language of the Goddess As with any emerging concept or belief, there might not be existing language which supports the new ideas, thoughts, or context, and Goddess Spirituality is no exception. That being said, a few new words or word usages are being introduced. To begin with, Goddess is capitalized and considered a proper noun just as God is. The history and worship of Goddess in earlier times until today will be loosely referred to as Goddess Spirituality. Within the ranks of the Goddess Spirituality movement certain names are recognized as proper names for Goddess.

Goddess has literally been called She of Ten Thousand Names, so a bit of latitude is being employed throughout the book when refer- ring to Goddess by name. Of course, when appropriate, she will be called by the name she was known in various times and by various cultures.