Women as Goddesses
Tantra views all female human beings as goddesses, born of the earth and the sea. Women are seen as a powerful female energy force, creatures who embody all of the positive aspects of femininity. Women are believed to be in a divine state from the moment of their birth and throughout their entire lives. This status of a goddess is not related to status, class, race, or ethnicity. All women — rich or poor, married or single, young or old — are viewed as goddesses and should be treated that way.
Among other things, this means that Tantric teachings forbid a man from raising his hand to any woman, acting disrespectfully toward her, or mistreating her in any way. “Women's lib” was not an issue, as women were perceived to be equals (if not superiors) to men. This was an interesting paradox: Although admired for being the “softer” beings, women actually wielded the stronger power — just in a less obvious way.
It is well known that ancient civilizations placed great importance on worshipping gods in female form. These ancient people viewed goddesses as the source of life and nurturer of all living things. It is said that Cleopatra considered herself to be a goddess in human form. Most historians believe goddess worship peaked at least 5,000 years ago.
Like all goddesses, a woman is an all-powerful being, which is reflected in the many important roles she performs: mother, sister, lover, partner, friend, nurturer, giver of life.
There are many well-known goddesses in history and mythology. Eve is seen by many to have been the very first goddess to walk the earth. Perhaps the most famous goddesses are those of Greek and Roman origins, such as Venus, Nike, Aphrodite, and the Muses. Although not officially bestowed with a goddess title, Mary (mother of Christ) is also seen by many as an ultimate goddess figure.
Isis is an important Egyptian goddess because she was a symbol of love, sexuality, and healing. According to legend, Isis differed from most goddesses because she mingled with the mortal people, teaching women homemaking arts like cooking and sewing. She continues to be viewed as the ultimate embodiment of womanhood and femininity.
Hindu goddesses include Lakshmi, the goddess of good fortune and prosperity; Durga, the warrior goddess; and Kali, who symbolizes death and female empowerment and the transcendent aspects of sex.