From Venus to Madonna

About Dr Annine E.G. van der Meer : historian of religion and PhD in theology. Specialisation: Jewish Christianity, gnosticism, early and medieval Christianity,  women studies (world religions). She received her Doctorate in 1989 under Professor Dr. Gilles Quispel. As an expert on gnosis and gnosticism, he was the one, who already at the beginning of her study, acquainted her with Sophia, the wife of God in gnosticism. She has done a post doctorate research on Sophia and the female side of God in Judaism and Christianity. From this period on her research goes back in time. She has travelled widely to retrace the track of the hidden Mother in her images and symbols. She gives regular talks, lectures and courses. She is founder and president of the Academie PanSophia, where she also teaches. The Academie PanSophia is a knowledge centre for matriarchy and oneness awareness whose focus includes the rediscovery of the female side of God, female values and the contribution of women in old and contemporary cultures. 

She published four books:

1 Dissertation. In search of purification. Origin and development of the enkratitic asceticism from the beginning of Christianity till the beginning of the 13th century. Hilversum, 1989, ISBN 9065502238.

From Venus to Madonna. A hidden History.

Did you know that we have long since forgotten that God was once married? Even more surprising, he still is; yet, we don't know it! Once, there was a Mrs God, his wife. Historically, it seems that she was much more ancient than her husband. She manifested herself  in the Stone Age as the primordial Mother, in all her glory, as evidenced by the numerous Venus statues from the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and later periods. It is summer.

Autumn approaches. God the Mother who had manifested herself as the Mother Goddess is now past her prime. We follow her through Egypt, Mesopotamia, Syria, Canaan and Greece, as she is depicted in the various sources. God the Mother gives birth to a son, who gradually grows in stature, finally overshadowing his mother.

Winter approaches. It heralds the downfall of God the Mother. Attention decidedly turns towards her son and her husband. The father gods are on their way! In many cultures, however, the many and various eventually fuse into the one and only, omnipotent God. In Christianity he becomes God the Father. The worship of God the Mother is forbidden and she is erased from the texts. In the goddesses Ashera and Eve she is murdered and demonized. In her daughter Sophia she is degraded and transformed into one of the qualities of God: his wisdom. In her earthly daughter Mary Magdalene she is despised as a prostitute.

Spring approaches. Many images of God the Mother are excavated. In several sciences, such as archaeology, anthropology, theology, psychology and the arts, she begins to attract attention. It appears that God the Mother is hidden in her own images and symbols. In fact, she has never left us; we just didn't recognize her symbols anymore. We stopped  speaking the symbolic language of the Mother.

Now it is time to remember. Let us welcome our ancient Mother, the hidden one. Let us welcome the wife of God, Mrs God. For more than three thousand years she has remained in obscurity. Today, she seems to have been reborn. She is back again!

From Venus to Madonna makes you recognize the symbols of the hidden Mother and her daughters. The language of the Mother softens your heart, which has been hardened by the harsh and exteriorized cultures of the fathers. It enables you to put this phase of the development of human consciousness in a historical and symbolic perspective. At last you will come home. There you will find your Father and your Mother in your deepest and most godly Self.

From Venus to Madonna: A Hidden History.The Hague, 2006. 2e ed.

Website of the book with several appendixes and images: http://venus.synthese.ws/

3. From Sophia to Mary. The Renaissance of the hidden Mother in de 21e century.

The God of the Jews and the Christians also has - and has always had - a female side. Her name is Sophia. At one point she built her own temple where she prepared men and women to be aware of the divine nature within themselves. But Sophia was driven out of the temple and God's female half, with all her cosmic knowledge, was eradicated. In this book theologian and historian of religion Annine van der Meer returns Sophia into the equation. Using myths, symbols, holy texts (canonical and apocryphal) and the experiences of mystics who have been in contact with Sophia, the author shows that the oldest image of God held by the Jews is male-female. This inclusive monotheism was familiar to Jesus and the first Jewish Christians, but later disappeared from their traditions.
Currently Maria is assuming a Sophia-like form and is developing into a female co-redeemer, mediator and intercessor. She is building a bridge between Protestants and Catholics, between Eastern and Western Christians, Jews and Moslems. This book can help to restore our lost image of God, man and the world and provide a foundation upon which a new image of God, man and the world can be developed.

478 pages with several full colour images, ISBN 978 90 77408551, 29.50 euro.

4 Venus is geen vamp. Het vrouwbeeld in 35.000 jaar venuskunst.

The book Venus is geen vamp [Venus is no vamp] is innovatory because of: 

1. its revelation of the spiritual character of the Venus culture with its basic themes of life, death and rebirth;  

2. the standard model developed by Annine van der Meer for the Venus culture from 35,000 to 10,000 BC as presented in the axle of feminine iconography over a distance of 8000 kilometres from France and Spain via Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Central Russia right as far as Eastern Siberia; 

3. the standard model she has developed for the Venus culture from 10,000 BC onwards which enables a connection to be made between art from the early Stone Age (35,000-10,000 BC) and art from the new Stone Age onwards (after 10,000 BC), and countless analogies which are apparent over 35,000 years;   

4. the sub-classification of feminine sacral art from 10,000 BC onwards into two main groups (naturalistic and abstract) and various sub-groups. The abstract images - which previously were seen as genderless and not described as feminine - are now also featured. One of the sub-groups is the special classification androgynes; 

5. the fact that Annine van der Meer uses the characteristic symbols of the standard model to show that the Venus culture is to be found elsewhere in Europe as well as outside the Middle East and Europe. The hunter-gatherers and early farming cultures - both of which societies featured a strong feminine presence - spread this Venus culture across the world. Later this was to become eroticised and sexualised; 

6. the placing in a historical framework of developments within the Venus culture in the Middle East from 10,000 BC to the year 0. This shows that whereas at first the well-rounded sitting woman enjoys a respected position in society, during the Bronze and Iron Ages she is considerably slimmed down and loses her nakedness by being swathed in layers of clothing. This reveals how the position of the woman and the female image worsen against the backdrop of an increasingly complex society;  

7. the demonstration that from the Iron Age following 1000 BC a male system of symbols was superimposed over the female system, and that the emerging monotheistic culture labelled feminine art as fertility cults and idolatry (part 2);

8. the following of various themes and their associated symbols - such as water, island, garden, mountain, cave, mating animals, trees, plants, parts of the body, clothing, hairstyle, headwear and posture - right across cultures and in a chronological line. The expansion of the patriarchalism of the themes from 1000 BC onwards can also be followed here (part 2). 

456 pages, ca. 1000 images in colour and black and white € 49.50, ISBN 978 90 77408674

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