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MythA Biography of Belief$
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David Leeming

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195142884

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195142888.001.0001

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Deity

Deity

Myth and Gender

Chapter:
(p.67) Chapter III Deity
Source:
Myth
Author(s):

David Leeming

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195142888.003.0003

The concept of Deity is central to the way humans see themselves and their societies; a strong father god reflects one kind of culture while a nurturing mother goddess reflects another. The way we think and act as individuals and as national and cultural entities is directly affected by our myths of deity. The question of gender has always been crucial to humankind's understanding of itself as a species. The ancient Mother Goddess of agricultural cultures gradually lost power to the patriarchal god of more warlike societies but is today beginning to regain a position of importance in our mythic metaphors and, therefore, in the way we think and behave. The nature of the gender struggle in deity mythology is beautifully revealed in Ceremony, a novel by Leslie Marmon Silko, a woman of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico.

Keywords:   Ceremony, Deity, gender, goddesses, gods, Mother Goddess, myth, patriarchal God, Silko, Sky God

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