The Goddess–II, The Virgin
The Virgin is the first aspect of the Goddess that dates back to Grecian times. “Holy Virgin” was a title for temple prostitutes, a duty of the priestesses of Ishtar, Asherah, or Aphrodite. The title itself did not mean virginity, but it simply meant “unmarried.” The functions of these “holy virgins” was to give forth the Mother’s grace and love by sexual worship; to heal; to prophecy; to perform sacred dances; to wail for the dead; and to become Brides of God.
The Semites, and parthenioi by the Greeks called children born of such virgins bathur. Both terms mean virgin-born. According to the Protoevangelium, the Virgin Mary was a kadesha and perhaps was married to a member of the priesthood known as the “fathers of the gods.”
There is an analogy between Mary’s impregnation and that of Persephone’s. The latter, in her virgin guise, sat in a holy cave and began weaving the great tapestry of the universe, when Zeus, appearing as a phallic serpent, impregnated her with the savior Dionysus. Mary sat in a temple and began to spin a blood-red thread, representing Life in the tapestry of fate. The angel Gabriel came to Mary, telling her that the spirit of the Lord would over shadow her and she would be with child. (Luke 1:28-31) This child was Jesus Christ, who many call savior.
In the Hebrew Gospels the name Mary is designated by almah which means “young woman.” The reason that Mary is held to have remained a virgin by Catholics and some Christians is because Matthew in his gospel used the Greek word parthenos, meaning “virgin,” instead of almah when referring to the virgin birth of Jesus. Also almah was derived from Persian Al-Mah, the unmated Moon goddess. Another cognate of this term was the Latin alma, “living soul of the world,” which is essentially identical to the Greek psyche, and the Sanskrit shakti. So the ancient Holy Virgins, or temple-harlots, were “soul-teachers” or “soul- mothers.” Thus comes the term alma mater. A.G.H.
Walker, Barbara G., The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, New York, HarperCollins, 1983, pp. 1048-1051
Immanuel, Robert J.Hennessey, O.P., Albertus Magnus College, New Haven, CT, The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition, Danbury, CT, Grolier, 1987