Many years ago I decided to study the Bible....as in read it, and though I found it fascinating I was always left lacking(no offence intended). I wanted to know more about who wrote it, when and why.
Now answers to those questions tend to be "all you need to know is it is the word of God", never a good enough answer for me, sorry but it is not an answer!
So after reading lots of books, I settled my mind on the oldest "biblical" story that seemed to be universally accepted as historically proven, which is that Queen Semiramis of Babylon/Mesopotamia, was the 1st woman linked to the virgin birth story(said by some to cover the fact that she was a prostitute). She ruled for 102 years(allegedly, years then were different lengths to ours) around 4000 to 3500 BC. She declared herself a God, and is believed to be the root source of all other Goddesses, such as Venus , Aphrodite, Diana....dare I say Mary?
Branch Bearer(as in olive branch/bringer of peace)
Gift of the Sea(apparently where Nimrod met her)
Mother of Heaven/Bringer of the Seed(mother of the son of God), and one of her symbols is the wood pigeon, which has become the dove of peace and representative of the Holy Spirit.
She was also known as the protector of children and the elderly, and is called she who will smite the serpent in the head, and is often depicted with a headless snake.
I know there are lots more books I haven't read, and that by some she is seen as a murderous prostitute(generally people wanting to down grade her authority), but to me she is The Mother Goddess, protector of the helpless, builder and defender of walls. She was not ousted by her people, her successor was! And her "cult" has continued throughout history, under many different guises.
Did you know, that her official title was "Woman", the word Queen did not exist, and to be known as "Woman" was a great honour(as opposed to wife/mother/sister), as in A Woman in her own right!
My picture isn't finished yet....but I think there is enough to show :D