Barbara G. Walker finished in 1983 a wonderful spiritual reference book: The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. The London Times Education Supplement honored it as its 1986 Book of the Year. I have owned it nearly that long, having started buying these sorts of books once I started on my conscious spiritual journey in 1985.
I like to just flip it open randomly and see what I learn. So I’m doing that right now…to the E’s. Saint Edmund is up first, named as the canonized form of the heathen deity worshipped at Bury St. Edmunds, where he was seasonally slain, like Shiva, in the shape of a white bull.
Then comes Egg, the mystical symbol of the Creatress, whose World Egg contained the universe in embryo. Next is Egg-and-Dart Frieze, a classical architectural decoration, using the magic circle and alternating the symbols for women and men. Too bad there’s not a drawing. Eide means ‘Goddess-within’, the Greek concept for the female soul, corresponding to the Latin Idea. Wow! Who knew?
Next is Eire (variation Erin), the Celtic name of Ireland – I knew those, of course. And finally, El, the general Semitic word or name for a deity, especially in combining forms, as Isra-el, Dani-el, El-ijah.
There’s a lot more information on each of these topics, and each one sheds light on women’s spirituality and on human belief systems down through the ages. Handy, too, when I’m teaching a class and we come up with a question needing research. It’s also super fun when we’re doing Goddess meditations, and good when Goddesses go by more than one name.
A great book to wander through from time to time. Barbara’s written several other good books, as well as a Tarot deck and an I Ching. Always interesting ideas and good thinking.