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Excerpt from "The Healing Power of the Sacred Woman"

Milk and Motherhood: The History and Mythology of the Sacred Breast

by Dr. Christine Page

Many of the feminine figurines from 4,000 to 30,000 years ago show that there was no need for breast augmentation in those days, as there was an emphasis on an abundant flow of fertility and nourishment. Indeed, several of the archetypal images of the Great Goddess show her supporting her ample breasts with her hands, as if sending out an invitation to come and enjoy her exquisite milk. This is certainly true of figurines found in the Mesopotamian region, which portray such goddesses as Inanna, Ishtar, and Astarte in this way. When depicted in their breast-offering pose, these goddesses were called Mother of the Fruitful Breast, Creator of People, Mother of Deities, and River of Life—names that highlight their role as the provider of endless fertility. Could this be the hidden interpretation behind the seductively “forward” pose of female models who adorn the pages of modern magazines?

Egypt was ruled by the great goddesses Hathor and Isis. Both were known as the Great Mother Cow and were usually portrayed wearing a headdress shaped as a throne, clearly indicating that it was through their grace that the pharaoh received his power and strength. To the Egyptians, the milk of the Goddess provided more than mere physical sustenance; it promised a continuous connection to immortal or eternal life. Such was the value placed on the Great Mother’s gift that images of Isis often show a proportionally smaller pharaoh sitting in her lap, receiving milk from her breasts. The size of the pharaoh doesn’t change, even though the statues symbolize him in different stages of his life— birth, coronation, and death; this indicates his continual reverence for the Great Goddess, despite his powerful position as head of the society.

Such a reverence for the Great Mother’s love extended beyond history and mythology and into the very shape and forms we find in nature.

Hence, many cultures considered mountain peaks as places where the Great Mother poured her milk of immortality into the breasts of Mother Earth, to nurture and feed her people. Such mammary peaks are described as holy mountains; they include Mashu, in the Epic of Gilgamesh; Ninhursag, in Sumerian legends; the Breasts of Anu, in Irish tradition; and Gaea Olympia, in Greece. This awareness of the powerful feminine nature of Mount Olympus, as being an expression of Mother Earth herself, was lost when the Greek pantheon took control of mythology and denigrated the mountain to the status of residence of their masculine gods.

One of the reasons why ancient people honored many of the mightiest mountains as the milk-giving Goddess is because the glacial water that flows from them commonly appears milky in color. This explains the sacred name of the tallest mountain in the world, which was renamed for the climber Sir George Everest. The actual name of this mountain is Chomo-Lung-Ma, which means “Goddess Mother of the Universe,” referring to one of the oldest Tibetan deities. Another beautiful Himalayan peak is Annapurna, whose name means “Great Breast Full of Nourishment.”

I will never forget the sublime peace and contentment I felt when trekking in Annapurna’s foothills, as if there was nothing I needed but to be in her presence. The goddess Annapurna is the Hindu deity of food and cooking, capable of supplying unlimited sustenance. She is one of the incarnations of the Hindu goddess Parvati (aka Shakti), the wife of Shiva. Temple art in India often depicts Lord Shiva with his begging bowl, respectfully asking the goddess to nourish him so that he may achieve knowledge and enlightenment.

Our ancestors understood the delicate and yet fundamental balance which exists between humanity and the source of both spiritual and physical nourishment. They knew that only by approaching the Great Mother with respect and humility would we be allowed to suckle at her breasts and experience the abundance which is readily available. As a culture who often believes that everything on this Earth is it’s by right, this is a good time to re-establish respectful and loving bonds not only with each other but with Mother Earth, the source of our future sustenance.

The Healing Power of the Sacred Woman by Christine R. Page, M.D. © 2013 Bear & Company. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International.

Dr. Christine Page has over 30 years of experience in the caring professions as doctor, homeopath and “one who sees.” She now focuses her attention on education, sharing her intuitive insights, deep wisdom and knowledge through workshops, inspirational keynotes and individual sessions. She is the author of 7 books, including Frontiers of Health and her most recent, the Healing Power of the Sacred Woman. She sees herself as a bridge builder between modalities of health care and levels of consciousness. www.christinepage.com

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