By Zan Fraser
“Evidence originating from one end of Europe to the other, in the course of one thousand years, has led us to identify the features of a primarily female ecstatic religion, dominated by a nocturnal goddess with many names. In this figure we have recognized a hybrid, belated descendant of the Celtic divinities.” —Carlo Ginzburg
Throughout the literature of the Middle Ages, references are made to mysterious folk-traditions, concerning night-travels and pagan goddesses. These accounts are so uniform, so cross-referential, so widely dispersed over region and time, they cannot possibly be accidental or anomalous. They must indicate a wide-spread, well-fixed mythology. The origins of this belief-system clearly lie in a pre-Christian, pagan world-view.
A great goddess sits at the head of this immense nexus of beliefs. She is given a bewildering number of names, but remains essentially the same wherever she is found. This goddess is a combination of the old mother-goddesses of Europe, who were not forgotten by fickle worshippers after the introduction of Christianity, but who continued to be remembered and worshipped by the women of Europe for centuries after, and who, in return, continued to participate in her followers’ lives.
This book examines the Goddess, from Her native European origins through Her various medieval permutations. Chapters include: The Night-Flying Goddess; The Goddess in the Northern Realms; The Faery Queen.