I want to look at a process were a Religious tradition of young girls at around the age of 12, the onset of adolescence, would be given and dedicated
to serve within the Temple of a Goddess, and how over time these became the playthings of Royalty, before eventually being thrown to the dogs of the
How Temples of the Goddess in effect became the most disreputable whore houses within the City, and how this therefore accelerated the decline of such
cults into obscurity and as far as the good people were concerned good riddance.
This tradition still continues in India, during May thousands of girls will be dedicated to Temples and they will earn their keep through
Herodotus was aware that the Temple (of Ishtar) in Babylon was famous for the number of Prostitutes within it's precincts;
The foulest Babylonian custom is that which compels every woman of the land to sit in the temple of Aphrodite and have intercourse with some
stranger once in her life. Many women who are rich and proud and disdain to mingle with the rest, drive to the temple in covered carriages drawn by
teams, and stand there with a great retinue of attendants. But most sit down in the sacred plot of Aphrodite, with crowns of cord on their heads;
there is a great multitude of women coming and going; passages marked by line run every way through the crowd, by which the men pass and make their
choice. Once a woman has taken her place there, she does not go away to her home before some stranger has cast money into her lap, and had intercourse
with her outside the temple; but while he casts the money, he must say, “I invite you in the name of Mylitta” (that is the Assyrian name for
Aphrodite). It does not matter what sum the money is; the woman will never refuse, for that would be a sin, the money being by this act made sacred.
So she follows the first man who casts it and rejects no one. After their intercourse, having discharged her sacred duty to the goddess, she goes away
to her home; and thereafter there is no bribe however great that will get her. So then the women that are fair and tall are soon free to depart, but
the uncomely have long to wait because they cannot fulfil the law; for some of them remain for three years, or four.
He takes the opportunity to indulge in some dark humour, he was however seemingly unaware that thousands of women would have been dedicated to the
Temple as girls, that at a period the religion of Zoroaster had been adopted the cult of Ishtar was approaching its end and was in lowly degraded
In effect though this would have been well known to him, as the exact same circumstances prevailed in Greece...
“The temple of Aphrodite was so rich that it employed more than a thousand hetairas,whom both men and women had given to the goddess. Many
people visisted the town on account of them, and thus these hetairas contributed to the riches of the town
In 464 BCE, a man named Xenophon, a citizen of Corinth who was an acclaimed runner and winner of pentathlon at the Olympic Games, dedicated one
hundred young girls to the temple of the goddess as a sign of thanksgiving.
Herodotus was taking out of context a tradition he would have understood perfectly well in effect to denigrate greater Babylonian society.
The entire process is best seen from the Inidan perspective;
In Hinduism, a devadasi (Sanskrit: servant of deva or devi (god)) is a girl “married” to a deity and dedicated to worship and service of
the deity or a temple for the rest of her life. Originally, in addition to taking care of the temple and performing rituals, these women learned and
practiced Sadir (Bharatanatya), Odissi and other classical Indian artistic traditions and enjoyed a high social status as dance and music were
essential part of temple worship.
During British rule in the Indian subcontinent, kings who were the patrons of temples and temple arts became powerless. As a result, devadasis were
left without their traditional means of support and patronage.
Sleeping with the Goddess
This simple word, 'devadasi' says Dr. I.S. Gilada, one of India's most prominent AIDS activists and an honorary secretary of the Indian Health
Organization, "is a label which condemns 5,000 to 10,000 girls every year into a life of sexual servitude (concubinage) and subsequently into
Durgamma walks up to the temple where a priest puts a glittering string of red and white beads strung on saffron colored thread around her neck. No
groom, however, comes to meet this bride. Instead Durgamma is wed to the temple goddess, and her life will be spent as a devadasi, a temple
References to devadasis, which literally means "god's servants," are found in Hindu scriptures dating back 4,000 years. Then, devadasis cleaned the
temples, kept the temple bells, and performed ritual dances to appease the gods and goddesses. The earliest devadasis were virgins who pledged to
remain celibate, but over the years the state began supporting devadasis, and the girls became mistresses to the kings.
One finds that the first step in their exploitation was in becoming the property of the King, the 'sacred marriage' tradition, in which the King
feels himself worthy to unite with the Goddess.
Though this is seem by many Neo-Pagans as an important aspect of ancient Goddess tradition, it was in reality the first step into decline and
degradation, a violation of sanctity...from this point the 'whore of Babylon' was inevitable
An "improbable percentage of the population [of Mesopotamia and Syria-Canaan] must have been either secular or religious prostitutes of some
sort," wrote Beatrice Brooks in 1941 She was drawing conclusions from the writings of predominantly male scholars who accepted without question the
concept of "sacred, cult, or temple prostitutes." Female temple functionaries, they maintained, regularly engaged in sexual intercourse in return for
a payment to their temples.
Female devotees of Inanna/Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of sexuality and love, were "immediately" suspect of such behavior
Tragically," says one contemporary scholar, "scholarship suffered from scholars being unable to imagine any cultic role for women in antiquity that
did not involve sexual intercourse"
It's a very tragic story really, and one that continues to this day as seen, the general solution tends to be remove all aspects of Goddess worship
from greater society, but were does the real scandal lie....?
edit on 27-5-2013 by Kantzveldt because: (no reason given)