Thursday, 12 April 2012

Divine Women: Hidden History of Women in Religion

I thought the first episode of Divine Women - a BBC documentary about goddesses - was very good indeed and worth watching if you are a pagan or interested in history. It was on BBC 2 yesterday at 9pm. Programmes on BBC TV Channels are usually available to watch on iPlayer for at least a week after they are shown:

In the first episode, called Divine Women - When God Was a Girl, historian Bettany Hughes looked at the world's most ancient civilisations and found that rather than worshipping male gods, most worshipped goddesses or at least revered women. Bettany argued that these fertility goddesses were often supplanted by male gods of battle as society became more warlike. This is quite a controversial subject, but I thought it was handled extremely well in the documentary.

The next episode is on BBC 2 next Wednesday evening and is called Handmaids of the Gods. It examines the lost era of the priestess, from the ancient Greeks to early Christianity.

You can also order a free 16-page booklet called Divine Women from the Open University. It explores five controversial areas around women and religion and you can order a copy via the OU website here:  I have sent off for my copy and hope it arrives soon.

Link and previous post


Heddwen said...

I thought that the show was excellent

vivienne said...

I do like Bettany Hughes but really jealous of all the interesting places she gets to go too!!
I was watching it on catch up last night--but feel asleep half way through as I had a very busy day at work,but thank goddess for I-player!!
thank you for the info about the free booklet xx

Antony said...

Yes I watched it, after hearing about it on your blog. I really enjoyed it too. Especially how the goddess developed historically.

A x

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I did not see the program, but I have seen the possibility to watch it anyway, which I will!
But I would recommend 2 books, one I have for about 40 years in my library, and the 2nd I bought in a secondhand shop! But both books contain the same subject: "Woman and Power" by 4 scientists, Richard Fester, paleolinguist, Marie König confirmed the thesis of women-hegemony (about 5 million!! years) in the early history of mankind; she rejected the general known explanation of art from caves (in France, Spain) as magic art of hunting and she proved from examples of cult statues the symbolic equalization of 'woman' and 'moon' and herewith the cultural raising of the woman as medium of the myth of re-birth.
From visions of evolutionbiology and antropology Doris F. and A.David Jonas concluded, that history of mankind essentially has been the history through women defined structures.
The other book is written by Merlin Stone, and this is really a shocking book! It contains historical facts that men have destroyed women hegemony, because of just sick ! jealousy! Women can give birth, men cannot....
The book is "once god was embodied as woman"
Read these books if you can!

martin said...

how wonderful to see a program about the goddess.everyone should be aware of the goddess'woderous beauty,bounty and eternal love and a male witch,i am overjoyed to see tv programs such as these..well done bbc..and keep these sorts of programs coming please!!!!!!!

Rache said...

This programme presented a good historical timeline of the Goddess from ancient times up until the present date where she is still revered and worshipped in India through the 9 day Durga festival. There should be more Goddess temples here in the UK where Goddess worshippers can go to honour her and all she does.

She has been harmed so much, and this programme highlighted this. It is heartbreaking to see how the statue of her has been hacked out of the sacred mountain. Its sacriledge. To not be honored and worshipped as the almighty, awsome giver, sustainer and destroyer of life is just so awful.

It was so wonderful to hear the name of the Divine Great Mother spoken on the TV. As the programme stated. She has been buried. Its time for her to rise up again and be worshipped, praised, respected and appreciated for the Great Goddess that she is.

We only have to look at how Mother Earth is treated to see how the respect for the Divine Great Mother has diminished through time. If we love her, respect her and worship her we are incapable of harming her. We therefore care for Mother Earth and are thankful for everything that she gives us in abundance. Her beauty of nature, her bountiful and vuluptuous fruits and grains. The breath she so generously gives us all each and every moment. She has been forgotten. I hope this programme helps others to remember her..... so her lost children can come home to her loving bossom and feel her comforting embrace.

steve h said...

crackin' programme, love the sexy presenter but content so interesting she almost paled into the background.

Anonymous said...

Engrossing, exciting and enlightening, thank you to Bettany and all the team.

Jules Farrer said...

What an excellent programme series. Cudos to Bettany Hughes and the programme producers for making this information accessible to so many. What has been deliberately obfuscated for so long can now be examined by a wider audience.

Eve Maria said...

great programe, really detailed - would have eaten this sort of thing up when I was at school studying RE!- I'm looking forward to the episode tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

A truly inspirational series, thank you Bettany. As a former student of religious studies I watched with great interest. Hope there will be a book to follow


Nicole Burgum said...

Divine Women is a great programme. Having watched the prog a couple of weeks ago I with a couple of friends were inspired to visit the Catacombs of Priscila (not St. Priscilla as they were called in the prog) when we were in Rome last week. They were amazing and as Bettany said you really felt close to those early Christians. If in Rome don't miss them!

martin said...

The booklet that goes with this brilliant series is outstandingly superb is so wonderful to see pictures and information on the beautiful goddess Osun,one of my favourite of all goddesses,along with the beautiful goddesses Yemaya and Oya....come on,people of the world,wake up and know and worship the beautiful goddess,for she is all things beautiful,infinite and eternally loving.

Raven said...

I loved this series - its about time religious views on women and worship of the female were aired in a positive way.

I was impressed by Bettany's admission that at a young age, she found a small figurine of a Goddess to be fascinating and an inspiration to understand how the Goddess grew in importance within ancient civilisation.

Bettany gives the impression of being a strong but gentle follower and believer of the Goddess. She presented the series with a beautiful balance of historical fact (as currently understood) with personal enlightenment and joy. Compelling stuff.