In celebration of Black History, we highlight the African Mother Goddess
Could modern western iconography be derived from a far more ancient tradition? Could Africa be the origin of the first divinity that we know? And is this first divinity feminine?
In the excerpt from her book “African Dark Mother – The Oldest Divinity We Know,” (which you can download at the end of this post,) Dr. Lucia Birnbaum, PhD reveals her perspective that the earliest origins of the Mother Goddess symbols were in Africa.
It is fascinating to join Dr. Birnbaum and trace the history and influence of what she terms the Black Mother Goddess and Black Madonna — as this historical figure traveling from Egypt throughout Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome and then on into Europe.
Dr. Birnbaum links the oldest deity of human culture, the African Mother Goddess, with Isis and the Black Madonnas of Europe and elsewhere. She also believes that the origin of the African Goddess as the first representation of the divine back to 60,000 BCE! The introduction of her article explains:
“In accord with the latest findings of anthropology, [Birnbaum] emphasizes the African origins of all humans and the legacy found on African migration — namely, the values of sharing and caring, justice with compassion, equality, and transformation, which were transmitted to all continents from 60,000 BCE to the present as part of the primordial tradition.” 1
Egypt, which is well-known for the prominence of the Goddess, is obviously in Africa. The women of Egypt were dark-skinned, and the Goddess of Egypt was dark-skinned. The Mother Goddess as Isis, the Queen of Heaven was a continuation of the Nubian goddess. “Nubia gave the dark mother Isis to Egypt, and the rest of the world” the excerpt says.
In ancient Egyptian sacred art, Isis is seen seated on her throne. The crown on her head symbolizes her connection to the Divine, and the Ues scepter in hand shows her ruling power on earth.
In this Egyptian carving below, we see Isis seated on her throne as King Seti I is offering incense to her as a sign of his reverence and respect. He is well to do so, as it is she who confers ruling authority on the king, endowing him with the Djed the symbol of stability which is attached to the top her scepter. 2
Also, take note of the ankh Isis is holding in her right hand as this symbol will show up much later in history with the Madonna. The ankh is the symbol of everlasting life stating that she also confers eternal life upon the king. These early depictions show that it is she, the Mother Goddess, who confers kingly power in the earthly world and everlasting life in the heavens.
Birnbaum believes that this conference of kingship by the goddess came from the Nubian tradition: “It was only through the royal women that Nubian rulers inherited the throne. All kings and queens had to be born to a queen, usually the ruler’s sister.” 3
The crown of the Queen and her scepter continue to be symbols held by royalty all throughout history and are also found on many medieval and modern Madonnas. The image below is a crown and scepter that once graced a statue of the Virgin Mary — statues that are commonly found presiding in older churches.
Many ancient astronaut theorists believe the scepter is actually an advanced technology that has multiple uses, including defense — such as Zeus’s thunderbolt, Poseidon’s spear, Thor’s hammer and the Tibetan dorje among other examples as discussed in television shows like Ancient Aliens in many different episodes.
Another image of the African Goddess that repeats over time is the goddess seated on her throne nursing her divine child. In the image to the left, we see Isis crowned and enthroned nursing her child Horus. She the life-giving, nurturing “Queen of Heaven”, nourishing and strengthening the future king.
She is also endowed with magical powers of healing and resurrection having brought her king husband, Osiris back to life. This power of resurrection was initially possessed by the goddess and only much later would be that of a male god.
Regarding the wearing of the crown stating rulership, esoteric scholars such as Manly P. Hall in books such as The Secret Teachings of All Ages, have argued that the crown is merely a physical representation of visible light around the heads of these great leaders that the people could see.
The African Mother Goddess, Isis, is also often seen standing behind her husband in a show of support. Her close proximity to him and her hand gestures suggest that she is conferring strength, power and protection to him. To the Egyptian women of the day, seeing the Mother Goddess this way served as a reminder and guide to the equally powerful role women played in the home, in rulership and in society.
Ancient images of the Mother Goddess are not isolated to Africa or Egypt. It is interesting to note that the Mesopotamian mother Goddess was also seen seated on her throne. The beautiful Lion-throned Goddess of Çatalhöyük from approx. 6,000 BCE reveals the regal stature of the regal feminine from that part of the world as well.
A fascinating recent discovery reveals the oldest known Goddess figurine was found in Germany. The “Venus of Hohle Fels” crafted some 35,000 years ago shows a voluptuous woman with clearly exaggerated reproductive parts. It is not surprising that our ancient ancestors of all races and places honored and revered the Great Mother and her role as birther, nurturer and leader.
No matter time or place, the Great Mother is ever-present in the spiritual life of humankind and yet, the similarities between the Egyptian Goddess Isis and many goddesses in Mesopotamia and Europe that came after her are easily seen. And, as Dr. Birnbaum points out, it seems clear that Isis was influenced by the much older Nubian mother goddess during the time when Nubians had a matrilineal society where women were deeply revered and played a key role in the leadership of the people.
Because the Egyptian civilization was one of the first to thrive, alongside the Sumerian culture, we have much more historical information from this time. Due to this mountain of temples, art and artifacts, we can trace the influence that this civilization has had on the rest of the world — and the influence of Isis and those that worshiped her clearly flowed into Mesopotamia and Europe.
Could the African Mother Goddess have influenced all the goddess figures throughout history — even the Madonna and Child of Christianity?
Thousands of years later in the Middle Ages, we see the Black Madonna and child in the medieval churches of England. She is wearing the crown. She is the Queen of Heaven and seated on her regal throne, with the divine child on her lap.
She continues to hold the ruling scepter and her skin is dark. Could the Black Madonna be a continuation of the Mother Goddess borne in Egypt, Queen of Heaven, Isis?
Could the Black Madonna and the Pale Madonna be hearkening back to the African Goddess who also wears the crown, holds the scepter and key to everlasting life?
These motifs of the mother goddess as she wears the crown stating her Divine connection and role as Queen of Heaven, while holding her ruling scepter showing her power on earth is carried on throughout history.
The Virgin Mary is likewise crowned and holding the scepter to the present day.
It is interesting to see the Madonna holding the earth surrounded by the cross — a statement of the Church’s worldwide rulership — which looks remarkably similar to the Egyptian Ankh, symbol of everlasting life, that Isis holds in her hand in the previous images.
Could it be that the ancient images of the African Mother Goddess Isis with her crown, ruling scepter and ankh of everlasting life continued to influence the depictions of the goddess all throughout time even the depictions of the Mother Mary?
Could it be that the title “Queen of Heaven” that was ascribed to Isis and Mesopotamian Inanna was conferred as time went on to the western Mother Mary?
Or could it be that there is always a role for the Queen of Heaven in every society, mysticism and religion and that her symbols are mystically ubiquitous? Famous psychologist Carl Jung strongly believed in Universal Consciousness and the ubiquitous Archetypes common to everyone regardless of physical location, race or language. Could the Divine Feminine Mother Goddess simply be speaking to every culture throughout time continuing to manifest herself as she is?
The history and mystery of the Goddess is rich and fascinating. In my own life, I have had a profound mystical experience with both Christ and the Mother Mary. When Mother Mary came to me, I was blessed to experience her presence in the mystic world in a real and tangible way. She brought with her the radiant light of God, which immediately conferred protection and immense peace and great relief in a time of need. Interestingly, Isis and the many expressions of the mother goddess in ancient times was described as “the one who rises and dispels darkness.” 4
This experience brought the Mother Mary from an idea or belief into personal reality. I have also had a profound experience with the Goddess, which was altogether different. The mystic world is a fascinating and at times, scary place. To have a mother goddess arrive to help a soul in the hour of need is a blessed an divine relief. Could it be that She has been helping humanity throughout all the ages and comes in the form that is understandable or most profound?
In my opinion, the Goddess is alive and well in various and real expressions. She is mother of all, Queen of Heaven and there are also many other Ascended beings that are devoted to helping humankind that are here to help. Spirituality and religion are borne from the mystic and in the world of the mystic, the goddess in whatever form she takes is a loving mother of all colors and creeds. Like most mothers, she quietly holds her children and her beloved in her protective arms conferring strength, blessings and protection.
Is the divine mother being resuscitated at this time to create the overwhelming changes in society that so many of these ancient traditions predicted would be happening?
In summary, Dr. Birnbaum’s conclusion that the African goddess is the first historical representation of the divine demonstrates the ongoing power of the goddess that may date back some 60,000 years! This fascinating and educational read by Dr. Lucia Birnbaum reveals more. You may download Lucia’s article here: African-dark-mother
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© Elizabeth Wilcock 2021 All Rights Reserved
1 Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, Ph.D, African Dark Mother — The Oldest Divinity We Know, from dark mother: african origins and godmothers, (originally published by Authors Choice Press 2001), 33.
3 Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, Ph.D, African Dark Mother — The Oldest Divinity We Know, from dark mother: african origins and godmothers, (originally published by Authors Choice Press 2001), 35 originally from William Y. Adams, “Ceramics,” in Africa in Antiquity: The Arts of Ancient Nubia and the Sudan (New York: The Brooklyn Museum, 1978), 127. making tools was under
4 Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, Ph.D, African Dark Mother — The Oldest Divinity We Know, from dark mother: african origins and godmothers, (originally published by Authors Choice Press 2001), 36.
Featured image by Candice Steele Collage and Design