Compare or contrast two major female fertility deities as to character, activities and role in the myth.
In the myths of the ancient world, a great deal of importance is placed on the rhythmical cycle of birth, maturity, death and rebirth. Ancient agrarian people observed the world around them, and from this observation they realized that their lives as well as every other living thing on this planet was a part of an intricate continuing cycle. Everything withered and died, but not before reproducing and continuing the cycle of life. Since female plants and animals were directly responsible for the birth of new life, people worshipped female deities to ensure that the earthly cycle of life was maintained in proper balance.
One such goddess can be found in Japanese mythology. The most ancient of Japanese deities, Amaterasu is the goddess of the sun. She is also the ruler of the gods and the universe. She is revered and given considerable praise, evidenced by the fact the Japanese imperial family traces its lineage directly to the Goddess Amaterasu. This reverence is understandable, given the sun’s extreme importance in the cycle of life. Without the sun, there would be no warmth, no plants, and certainly no hum
He has also committed an act of physical violence against one of her servants. In the myth of Amaterasu, her brother Susano-o-no-Mikoto has offended her by defiling her home and not respecting her. I think that this represents the fact female Goddesses, and women as a whole, need to be treated with respect and not simply as a means to an end. The time when she is in the Underworld represents the barren winter, and the when she is with her mother on Earth represents abundant spring and summer. In both myths it is also a women who is responsible for the return of the female fertility Goddesses to the world, Ame no Uzume in Amaterasu and Demeter in Persephone and Demeter. Persephone is finally allowed to return to her mother, but because Hades tricked her into eating a couple of pomegranate seeds she must go back to the Underworld for part of the year. The other Gods and Goddesses cheer so loudly in appreciation that Amaterasu becomes curious about why everybody is so happy. In both of these stories, especially in the latter, we see that a woman8217;s sexuality and fertility is something to be nurtured and respected, not plundered and exploited. It also represents the important role that women played in early Japanese culture, where they occupied the same social roles as men. Another similar fertility story is that of Demeter and Persephone from Greek mythology. Hades, God of the Underworld, wants Persephone for his bride and kidnaps her and takes her down to the Underworld. She comes out to satisfy her curiosity, and upon seeing herself in the mirror is so impressed that she returns to her position in the sky and life is renewed. Demeter and Persephone are two Goddesses, mother and daughter, who live together in a state of eternal abundance.