This evening Ronald Hutton poses and answers the question of how and when the modern Western world came to have its most common image of what a goddess should be, as a divinity representing the natural world and the night sky in combination, often appearing in three forms, as maiden, mother and crone. He looks at the ancient sources for these concepts, and then at the way in which the image of the goddess in this form came to take over poetry and novels, and then visions of the prehistoric past of humanity. He goes on to consider the manner in which it became mixed up in feminist politics in the later twentieth century, with precisely opposite results among American and British radicals. Finally it asks what options, opportunities and personal choices this concept of the divine feminine provides for us.
Speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.