Queen of Heaven

Isis depicted with outstretched wings, wall painting, c. 1360 BCE. US public domain via wikimedia
Isis depicted with outstretched wings, wall painting, c. 1360 BCE. US public domain via wikimedia

In the Hebrew Bible, the ‘profit’ Jeremiah condemns the worship of the “Queen of Heaven”:

“The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. “(Jeremiah 7:18)

And

“Then all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, along with all the women who were present—a large assembly—and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt, said to Jeremiah, “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord! We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.”(Jeremiah 44:15-18).

With the spread of the Biblical tradition the mother Goddess as ‘Queen of Heaven’ was divested of her power and thrown. Who is this Queen of Heaven?

The Queen of Heaven is an archetypal form of the mother Goddess. She takes various forms such as Asherah, Innana, Anat, Isis, Hera, the Virgin Mary and the Hindu Devi.

In the image above, we see the goddess Isis, long worshiped as the ‘Queen of Heaven’. The image is from a wall painting of Isis found in the tomb of Seti I, in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt. The image dates back to 1360.

Metamorphoses, written around 8 CE speaks of Queen of Heaven. The character Apuleius finds salvation in Queen Isis:

“Behold, I, moved by thy prayers, am present with thee; I, who am Nature, the parent of things, the queen of all the elements, the primordial progeny of ages, the supreme of Divinities, the sovereign of the spirits of the dead, the first of the celestials, and the uniform resemblance of Gods and Goddesses. I, who rule by my nod the luminous summits of the heavens, the salubrious breezes of the sea, and the deplorable silences of the realms beneath, and whose one divinity the whole orb of the earth venerates under a manifold form, by different rites and a variety of appellations. Hence the primogenial Phrygians call me Pessinuntica, the mother of the Gods, the Attic Aborigines, Cecropian Minerva; the floating Cyprians, Paphian Venus; the arrow-bearing Cretans, Diana Dictynna; the three-tongued Sicilians, Stygian Proserpine; and the Eleusinians, the ancient Goddess Ceres. Some also call me Juno, others Bellona, others Hecate, and others Rhamnusia. And those who are illuminated by the incipient rays of that divinity the Sun, when he rises, viz. the Ethiopians, the Arii, and the Egyptians skilled in ancient learning, worshipping me by ceremonies perfectly appropriate, call me by my true name, Queen Isis.”

The Roman Plutarch (46 –120 A.D.) speaks of an inscription on the shrine in Sais. The inscription expresses the power of Queen Isis:

“I am all that hath been, and is, and shall be; and my veil no mortal has hitherto raised.

Later, Queen of Heaven emerges in the Christian tradition, in the form of the Virgin Mary. Hall says:

“She was known as the goddess with ten thousand appellations and was metamorphosed by Christianity into the Virgin Mary, for Isis, although she gave birth to all living things–chief among them the Sun–still remained a virgin, according to the legendary accounts.”

Regarding this transformation, Carl Jung notes:

“The Christian ‘Queen of Heaven’ has, obviously, shed all her Olympian qualities except for her brightness, goodness, and eternality; and even her human body, the thing most prone to gross material corruption, has put on an ethereal incorruptibility.” CW 9i, para 195)

Jung associates this transformation with the desouling of nature. Jung says:

[When] the Mother of God was divested of all the essential qualities of materiality, matter became completely desouled, and this at a time when physics is pushing forward to insights which, if they do not exactly “dematerialize” matter, at least endue it with properties of its own and make its relation to the psyche a problem that can no longer be shelved.” (ibid)

Note:

  1. The reshi Vishwamitra speaks of the Queen of Heaven: Having thrown away the cover of her breast there walks the glorious Dawn — the queen of Heaven

References:

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall [1928, copyright not renewed] Sacred-texts.com
  3. The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)
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