I finally feel that I can post my review on ‘Divine Women’ as the free booklet that I ordered to accompany the series has just arrived – woohoo! I ordered it the moment the first of the three-part series finished and have been waiting with anticipation and excitement since then (11th April seemed like such a long time ago!)
First of all, bare in mind that this show isn’t anti-church, anti-religion or anti-men…even though some people will probably regard it that way. It serves only (in my opinion) to document the sidelining of women in religion, how it came to pass, why, and what we can learn from it.
So…Divine Women…a three-part historical series produced by the BBC and the OU, presented by Bettany Hughes – one of my favourite historians. It made some really interesting points and I enjoyed much of it.
The three episodes, When God was a Girl, Handmaids of the Gods and War of the Words, charts the role of women in religion, the roles they played, and in some cases the roles they still maintain. Not only that, Divine Women shows that for much of human history, the majority of mankind has turned to a goddess, rather than a god, only recently (we are talking thousands of years here!) bucking the trend.
Throughout the series, goddesses and priestesses from different cultures are documented, including the Minoan Snake Goddess and Kali, not to mention the role of women in the early Christian church. Their roles, attributes and status of the chosen examples are discussed, in their historical and anthropological context, and will no doubt inspire you to think about the role of women in religion today, or in some cases, the lack of a role for women, depending on your background.
I have always been drawn to the academic side of pagan subjects, and it is the history of paganism that has probably fascinated me the most. So, needless to say, this programme was very enjoyable and left me with many thoughts that I am doing my best to quanitify and note down. If you too are interested in pagan academia and history, or you would like to learn about the role of women in religion / paganism, I would certainly recommend this series to you.