Seminar: Myths and Symbols of Goddess Traditions - #60063
Instructor: Hea-Kyoung Koh, Ph.D.
Faculty Bio: Hea-Kyoung is originally from Taegu, Korea. She received a MS in Paleontology at Kyoungpook National University in Korea, an MA in Culture and Creation Spirituality at Holy Names College in Oakland, CA and an MA and a Ph.D in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. She has served as the Amnesty International press coordinator in the Korean section, and was an educational program developer and lecturer at the Environmental Group, Pulenpyonghwa, Korea. Currently she is teaching Korean Mythology and Korean Shamanism at Intercultural Institute of California in San Francisco, CA.
Course Description: An exploration of selected aspects of Goddess traditions. The class will begin with the findings and interpretations of Marija Gimbutas, the most significant contemporary reconstructionist of prehistoric Goddess tradition(s), and then examine the nature and functions of three goddessesDurga in India, Pre-Olympian Hera in ancient Greece, and Solmundae in Cheju Island, Korea. Specific attention will be given to myths and symbols in various goddess traditions, and abiding questions in the study of Goddess traditions will be discussed and analyzed in a seminar format.
Tues.: Hindu Goddess Durga, the goddess who has the name(s), whose worship has been continued in the context of the Hindu culture:
Wed.: Prehistoric Greek Goddess Hera
Thur.: The Cosmogonic Goddess of Cheju Island, Korea, Solmundae Halmang
Fri.: On the basis of the context of the above three goddesses the abiding questions involved in the study of goddess traditions will be examined. Specific discussions will be: god/goddess and androgyne; transcendent and immanent; gentle/fierce; creative/destructive; one/many; matriarchy/patriarchy; ancient/modern; plurality/monotheistic; harmony/control; matrifocal/matristic/gynocentric. Also the questions addressed on the pre-class assignment will be discussed.
* Materials on the Korean goddess and the pre-Olympian Hera will be available on the campus and/or distributed before the first class.
Choose one of the following questions and write a 3-5 page (1000-1500 words) reflective essay.
1. Why men need the goddess; why women need the goddess? Are they the same or different?
2. Merlin Stones famous phrase: In the beginning God was a woman. Do you remember? Is it true both psychologically and historically?
3. In retrospect, is the transition from goddess tradition(s) to god tradition(s) inevitable for the development of human consciousness or purely a loss of ideal history?
4. Does the contemporary myth of matrifocal, peaceful, and goddess-centered world help or hinder us?
5. What do the myths about pre-historical goddesses tell us about ourselves?
Post-Class Assignment: A well-written 10-15 page, double-spaced, research paper focusing on a particular goddess or a topic related to the course or a topic of your design discussed with the instructor on campus.
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