In 1980, when the first encyclopaedia of this type was published by Monaghan, there were the stirrings of a feminist revival in the Western World.
Motivated by the increasing shadow of nuclear annihilation, the bra-burning, hippy-centric movement of the 1960s matured into the powerful and politically-astute groups of anti-war and nuclear disarmament movements.
These were highly successful political forces who, over the following decade, managed to over-turn a great deal of American and European foreign policy. It was an era in which women not only found their voices but also regained an awareness of their own inner feminine power and strengths.
Thus, Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines appeared at a time when women and men were starting to openly question the historic role that the worship of the goddess had actually played in formulating many ancient societies.
The book was re-published on a few occasions since 1980 and its earlier editions have been updated so that it includes more than 1,000 goddesses and heroines drawn from every religious, spiritual and mystical tradition imaginable.
Organized into separate sections by continents and countries, this exhaustive survey of feminine veneration within anthropology, archaeology, mythology, art-history and religious studies. Each entry includes a look at the historical context as well as the function of the deity—its impact and importance during its lifetime.
The encyclopaedia contains no pictorial content but does include an extensive reference section and superb index which will help any researcher wishing to cross-reference entries where they appear in connection with multiple deities, heroines or goddesses.
Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines offers its reader a remarkable depth of insight into a hidden side to our anthropological and folklore histories.
It is often said that our current understanding of history is only the result of those who, through brute-force and violence, gained control over less aggressive societies. This being the case then the research that the late Patricia Monaghan has presented in this impressive publication proves the fact that ‘might’ does not equal ‘right’.
Whilst it is not a book that one would read from cover to cover this is an important reference which dipping into never fails to reveal some fascinating information and insight into a world not centered upon domination and exploitation.
Whilst some of the goddesses contained in the encyclopaedia are well-known to us many are not and it enhances all of our lives to find that their existence and in the case of heroines, their work, is recalled and celebrated in our current age.
Of course, the stories that are woven by and around these important women are not just historical but also occasionally touch upon much deeper psycho-spiritual themes. Many of these are only local to an area or community but many others are more universal and expansive in their influence. Together they combine to weave a very rich tapestry which enriches our lives.
As a result, we owe much to Patricia Monaghan for her outstanding Wicca/Pagan research as well as her important contribution to the cause of the sacred feminine.
Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines demonstrates that history can be re-written and recorded in a more honest and less-patriarchal way.