Goddesses in World Culture

by Patricia Monaghan, Editor


The Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, derives from an Aztec goddess, while the European folklore figure, Cinderella, derives via Egypt, from China. From classical Greek heroines to female archetypes in today's video games, from Native American divinities to Asian goddesses immortalized through landscape references, goddesses and their stories inform our history and fill our folklore.

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Cover image for Goddesses in World Culture

December 2010


Pages 934
Volumes 3
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Religion/Comparative
  • Award Winner!




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This collection of accessible essays relates the stories of individual goddesses from around the world, exploring their roles in the cultures from which they came, their histories and status today, and the controversies surrounding them.

Goddesses in World Culture brings readers the fascinating stories of close to 100 of the world's goddesses, ranging from the immediately recognizable to the obscure. These figures, many of whom derive from ancient cultures and civilizations, serve as points of departure for examining questions that go well beyond the role of women in religion and spirituality to include social organization, environmental awareness, historical developments, and psychological archetypes.

Each volume of this groundbreaking set is composed of 20–25 previously unpublished articles written by expert contributors from diverse disciplines. Volume one covers Asia and Africa, volume two covers the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe, and volume three covers Australia and the Americas. Goddesses from cultures often overlooked in texts on religion, such as those of the Australian Aborigines, Korea, Nepal, and the Caribbean, are included here. In addition, the work offers new translations of ancient texts, introduces little-known folklore, and suggests new approaches to contemporary religious practices.


  • 63 essays cover more than 100 goddesses and goddess-like figures from world culture, with volumes organized by geographic area
  • Many original translations of prayers, sagas, and other sources not otherwise readily available in English
  • 60 illustrations include ethnographic photographs, depictions of ancient artifacts, and original artwork
  • An extensive list of bibliography of sources about the figure and culture discussed accompanies each essay


  • Covers goddesses from around the world and from a wide variety of cultures, eras, and religious traditions, focusing on individual figures and their meanings and tackling the controversies surrounding various goddess traditions
  • Offers a sense of the depth and breadth of the world's images of feminine divinity
  • Takes an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating perspectives from the fields of folklore, classics, anthropology, religion, archaeology, literature, psychology, and feminist studies
  • Includes contributions from distinguished scholars, award-winning poets and fiction writers, therapists, translators, and practitioners of indigenous and contemporary religions
Author Info

Patricia Monaghan, PhD, is professor of interdisciplinary studies at DePaul University, Chicago, IL, and senior fellow of the Black Earth Institute, Black Earth, WI. She is the author of Praeger's The Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines as well as other books on women's spirituality, including The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog: The Landscape of Celtic Myth and Spirit and The Goddess Path: Myths, Invocations & Rituals. Monaghan has won the Pushcart Prize for literature and the Gruchow Award for nature writing.



"Given the array of topics, these volumes should appeal to readers in a variety of subject areas, including but not limited to religion, mythology, anthropology, and gender studies. . . . Recommended."Choice


2012 Winner of The Enheduanna Book Award — Institute for Transpersonal Psychology

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