Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Yoni of the Arabian Goddess

The Islamic Holy of Holies
an except from the book The Yoni: Sacred Symbol of the Female Creative Power

The Goddesses Al'Uzza, Al'Lat, & Menat formed a triad on pre-Islamic Arabia
"In his work The Apology, the Arabian philosopher and alchemist al-Kindi (810-872) let the world of the ninth century know that it was the moon goddess Al'Uzza who was enshrined in the Kaaba, and it was her residence that made this site a sacred place.  It may be for this candidness as well as other writings that al-Kindi, once first among the Islamic philosophers, lost all influence on Muslim thinkers only a century after his death.  This is of great interest considering that the Kaaba at Mecca is the holy of holies of Islam, a truly monotheistic religion not especially friendly toward women and one that is centered on the male Allah as the Supreme Being, certainly not on a woman or a goddess.  However, the moon goddess identified by al-Kindi is now known to be one aspect of the Triple Goddess known as Al'Lat*, the Great Goddess of the nomadic peoples of Arabia.  In pre-Islamic times, it was she who was worshiped at the Kaaba.  Here at her sacred place, a great stone in the shape of her Yoni, Al'Lat was served by seven priestesses, and her worshipers-in total nudity-circumambulated the sacred black stone seven times, once for each of the seven ancient planets.**

The Goddess's Yoni or the hand of Allah?
"As with all triple goddesses, a religious concept found worldwide, Al'Lat has three manifestations, each one connected to a phase of the moon and simultaneously to a phase in a woman's life.  The waxing, crescent moon is represented by the maiden Q're or Qure, the young girl and virgin (the Greek Kore); Al'Uzza (A: "the strong one") is the full moon or mother aspect (the mature woman corresponding to the Greek Demeter); and Al'Menat is the waning moon or the crone, a wise old woman concerned with fate and skilled in prophecy and divination.

"The Goddess's sacred place, with its life-giving well next to it, attracted pilgrims and worshipers from all over the Arabic peninsula and its neighboring regions.  Here, with the sacred black stone as a symbol of her Yone and in an oasis of life-giving waters, the Goddess resided in her aspect of Earth Mother, creatrix of life and helper of women in childbirth.  To this image and gocus of energies people came to pray, to ask for offspring and protection, and to celebrate life.  It was to this place that the great patriarch Abraham (c.  1900 B.C.E.) came with his wife, Sarah, who was barren for many years.  He knowingly chose this place of the Goddess and her fertile powers as the place where he would like with Hagar, the young and beautiful Egyptian slave who was to bear his first son.  For millennia the Kaaba was a place of power where men and women worshiped the Goddess in the form of her Yoni.

The Goddess Al'Lat
"In the sixth century the male revolution in the form of Judaism and Christianity that was sweeping through the Near East and Europe reached the tribal peoples of the Arabian deserts.  With this revolution came Muhammad, a native-born prophet and the founder of Islam.  Muhammad was born in c. 570 as a member of the Quraysh, a tribe dedicated to the goddess Qure and the official guardians of the Kaaba.  Having lost his parents in early childhood, Muhammad grew up under the guidance of his uncle and his fellow camel herders. Muhammad somehow caught the attention of a rich woman who eventually employed himi; after he proved himself successful, she proceeded to educate him in her business affairs.  In due time he became a well-known trader in charge of the largest caravans.  At twenty-six he married his employer, who was fifteen years older than he.

"In 610, after fourteen years of marriage, Muhammad heard a voice speak to him; shortly thereafter he began to preach his newfound creed focusing on Allah and male dominion over nature and women.  After twelve years of antagonizing his fellow men and women with his heretical ideas, he was cast out from his tribe, leaving Mecca on June 15, 622, an occasion that marks the first day of the Islamic calendar  His teachings fell on receiving ears among the men of Medina and the surrounding vicinity; he returned to Mecca with an army of followers and conquered the city.  Apparently tired of having his life ruled by women and goddesses, Muhammad destroyed all "false idols" of the sacred shrines, with the exception of the most holy, the sacred black stone that had once fallen from heaven.

"Such pieces of meteorites that crashed through the atmosphere were regarded as true gifts from heaven, held in the highest esteem everywhere in the Near Eastern and Mediterranean cultures.  Above all other things, it was the precence of the sacred black stone that made Mecca the place of power it was at the time.

Al'Uzza the mother aspect of the triple Goddess
"By now a truly experience leader and accepted prophet, Muhammed changed the divine name of Al'Lat into Allah.***  By inventing his own history and mythology, he also transformed the Goddess's stone into a symbol of God-the right hand of Allah.  Such a transformation of the Goddess into a male god figure certainly must have been unwanted by the general population.

"There are those who claim that woman and the Goddess never had the exalted status in the Near East that I here state-scientists and scholars who simply cannot and will not admit that there has ever been a matriarchy in earlier human communities, and steadfastly state that goddesses have always played only a minor role in the human communities, and steadfastly state that goddesses have always played only a minor role in their respective pantheons.  However, even from within the ranks of patriarchal observers we have witnesses for our case.  An open and clear testimony to the fact that in pre-Islamic Arabia both the Goddess and women played a superior role can be found in the following statement by Omar, a faithful desciple of the prophet Muhammad.  Omar states, "When we came among the Helpers, they proved to be a people whose women dominated them, and our wives have come to copy the habits of the women of the Ansar."

Al'Uzza, the full moon or mother aspect
"After all this, what else can be said?  In fact there are a few more pieces of information to ponder.  Is it perhaps significant that the Koran is writen in Arabic as Qur'an, suggesting that the original title meant "the word of Qure"?  Is it a coincidence that the priests who serve the shrine are still today known as beni shaybah, the "sons of the Old Woman?"  Is it also a coincidence that Islamic pilgrims who visit the Kaaba during the hajj circle it seven times, just as did the nude worshipers of Al'Uzza?

"In the final analysis, no one except the pilgrims themselves can know what they see and feel when finally arriving at the stone, the Yoni of the Goddess or a Hand of God.  Whatever it may be, it is the most exalted aim of the pilgrimage to touch or kiss the black meteorite."

*The name Al'Lat simply means "goddess," similar to calling the Judeo-Christian god Jehovah, the Islamic got Allah, or both simply "God" or "the Lord."
**Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn-the planets visible to the unaided human eye
***This is agreed upon by most non-Islamic sounrces. Author M.JH. Vermaseren points out that, grammatically, the name Allah is simply the male version of Al'Lat.
****Helpers is the name of the Ansar tribe of Medina.


Rufus C.Camphausen - Inner Traditions - 1996

Full color picture of the Arabian triple goddess is from
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