These are those very special, intimate and mysterious moment of every parent. At the same time it is also one of those realities which constitute the delicate archetypal substance of any true religion. In the Near Eastern bronze age pre-biblical myths and legends fathers counted lunar months of pregnancy, five and five, first five (most likely to the quickening) and second five to birth (KTU 1.17.ii.43-46; KTU 1.23.57) They also deeply revered goddesses of childbearing called Kotharot. This is their three thousand year old hymn:
I will sing of the goddesses, the Kotharoth
Daughters of Ellil, the Bright Ones
Daughters of Ellil, the lord of Crescent,
they descend to the nut-groves,
and among the olive-gardens.
Lo, in my mouth is their number,
on my lips is their count:
Wedding-Gift and Dowry,
Flame-of-Love and Womb-Opener,
First-Cry and Perpetually-Fruitful,
finally, Benefactress - the youngest of the Kotharoth.
Kotharot epithetic (characterizing) names are not unlike similar names of two famous and similarly respected Jewish midwives from Exodus 1.
This Sunday is the last one in Advent. The evangelist Luke will introduce and highlight this intimate, mysterious life fostering Motherly Religion into the formative moment of our Christian faith. Come to celebrate life with Elizabeth and Mary and hear their “Pregnancy Gospel of Luke”.
(By the way, among the evangelists, Luke is the cultivated Hellenistic person, he has a keen eye for medical observation and detail, and also he has the least patriarchal worldview - his female characters are numerous and developed with insight and understanding.)
|Terracotta figurines of pregnant and nursing women (goddesses?) from Iron Age Palestine.|