Heavenly Mother

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In some religious traditions or movements Heavenly Mother (also referred to as Mother in Heaven or Sky Mother) is the wife or feminine counterpart of the Sky father or God the Father. Teachings about the Heavenly Mother are promulgated by various religious groups, to one degree or another.

Ancient Egypt[edit]

In Egyptian mythology, sky goddess Nut is sometimes called "Mother" because she bore stars and Sun god.

Nut was thought to draw the dead into her star-filled sky, and refresh them with food and wine.[1]

Ascended Master Teachings[edit]

In the Ascended Master Teachings, a group of religions based on Theosophy, the Heavenly Mother is called Omega.

Christianity[edit]

Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism[edit]

Main articles: Queen of Heaven and Theotokos

Orthodox Christians believe Mary received her resurrection early near after her death (see Dormition of the Mother of God), while Roman Catholics generally believe that Mary was assumed, body and soul without death or the need for resurrection, into Heaven, referred to as the Assumption of Mary. This could make her a "heavenly mother" of sorts, as she gave birth to Jesus, and was confirmed to bear the title Theotokos ("giver of birth to God") at the Council of Ephesus in AD 431. However, she is more often referred to as "Our Mother", since Christians alike refer to themselves as "Brothers and Sisters in Christ". There is a parallel in calling Mary "Our Mother" as calling God "Our Father", though there is a Pater Noster but no Mater Nostra. Mary is not considered the "Heavenly Mother", the same way that God the Father is referred to as the "Heavenly Father". In Roman Catholic belief Mary, although highly venerated as the first among the Saints, is never viewed on an equal status with God (cf. the Scholastic Catholic hyperdulia vs. latria distinction), rather she is viewed her as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix with Christ.

Mormonism[edit]

In the Latter Day Saint movement, particularly The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many adherents believe in a Heavenly Mother as the wife of God the Father. The theology varies, however, according to denomination. The only clear declaration regarding a Heavenly Mother figure is that she exists. Some off-shoot denominations disavow a belief in her, some do not make her a part of the official doctrine, and others openly acknowledge her.[2]

Collyridianism[edit]

Collyridianism was a heretical Christian sect. Collyridians worshipped the Virgin Mary as their Heavenly Mother and as a Goddess. The Catholic Church condemned the Collyridians of Marian Heresies, holding that Mary was to be venerated but not adored like God.[3] The Collyridian service was similar to that of the Catholic Mass, except that the sacramental bread was not considered Christ, or a sacrifice to God, but a sacrifice to the Virgin Mary. Epiphanius of Salamis wrote about the Collyridianism and their multiple heresies against the Catholic Church in his work entitled Panarion.

Unification Church[edit]

In the Unification Church some members occasionally address God as "Heavenly Mother" when emphasizing the divine attribute of femininity, but not indicating a distinct person. Unificationists consider God a unified being of masculine and feminine characteristics, but they nearly always address God (in prayer) using masculine references and refer to Him as "Father" or "Heavenly Father."

World Mission Society Church of God[edit]

The World Mission Society Church of God is a Korean group founded by Ahn Sahng-hong (안상홍, 安商洪). The church believes that a man, Ahn Sahng-hong is the second coming of Christ because of prophecies they see him as fulfilling. Korea is considered to be Zion (the new spiritual Jerusalem), and that a woman called Zahng Gil Jah is the female incarnation of God. They hoped to recruit 144,000 members as they predicted the world to end at the end of 2012, with prior predictions being 1967 and 1988. [4]

Hinduism[edit]

In the Hindu context, the worship of the Mother deity can be traced back to early Vedic culture, and perhaps even before. The Rigveda calls the divine female power Mahimata (R.V. 1.164.33), literally Great Mother and also called Mother Earth. In places, the Vedic literature alludes to her as Viraj, the universal mother, as Aditi, the mother of gods, and as Ambhrini, the one born of the Primeval Ocean. Durga, the wife of Shiva, is a warrior goddess who represents the empowering and protective nature of motherhood. An incarnation of Durga is Kali, who came from her forehead during war (as a means of defeating Durga's enemy, Mahishasura). Durga and her incarnations are particularly worshipped in Bengal.

Today, Devi is seen in manifold forms, all representing the creative force in the world, as Maya and prakṛti, the force that galvanizes the divine ground of existence into self-projection as the cosmos. She is not merely the Earth, though even this perspective is covered by Parvati (Durga's previous incarnation). All the various Hindu female entities are seen as forming many faces of the same female Divinity.

See also[edit]

Disambiguation[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Papyrus of Ani: Egyptian Book of the Dead", Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, NuVision Publications, page 57, 2007, ISBN 1-59547-914-7
  2. ^ "The Role of Women in the Church". Restoration Church of Jesus Christ. Retrieved 2006-07-17. 
  3. ^ http://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/COLLYRID.TXT
  4. ^ Turner, Ryan. "Introduction to the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG)". http://carm.org/. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 

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