Isis is A Virgin Mother!
by Acharya S
15 August 2010
article represents my next installment in this series, which began
with my essay, "HORUS IS A SUN GOD!!!"
Here I provide the ancient
testimony and primary sources for the contention that Isis, the
mother of the Egyptian god Horus, was considered and deemed a virgin
long before Jesus was a twinkle in his Father's eye.
Firstly, it should be noted that the matter of pre-Christian and
non-Christian virgin mothers is not only well established, but it
also has its own field of academic studies relating to what is
called the "parthenos" in Greek. Indeed, numerous goddesses and
other figures - including gods such as Zeus, of all characters - were
deemed "parthenos" or virginal, despite whether or not they gave
birth once, twice or an infinite amount of times.
Included in these
virgin mothers are several in the ancient Indian text the
Mahabharata. (See the
ZEITGEIST Sourcebook for more on that
subject.) The virgin birth itself is called "parthenogenesis" within
In consideration of these facts, it would be astounding for one of
the most popular goddesses of the Roman Empire and all time not to
be classified in this parthenos category. As it turns out, we would
be completely wrong and utterly unscholarly to assert that Isis was
not a virgin, as so many have been doing around the internet and
The fact of Isis's perpetual virginity is demonstrated in the ZG
Sourcebook, where the information is carefully cited. It is repeated
here for the reader's ease of reference.
PROOF THAT ISIS WAS A VIRGIN MOTHER
...FROM PRIMARY SOURCES AND THE
WORKS OF HIGHLY CREDENTIALED AUTHORITIES
The virginity of Horus's mother, Isis, has been disputed, because in
one myth she is portrayed as impregnating herself with Osiris's
In depictions of Isis's impregnation, the goddess
conceives Horus "while she fluttered in the form of a hawk over the
corpse of her dead husband"... in an image from the tomb of Ramesses VI, Horus is born out of Osiris's corpse without Isis even
being in the picture.
In another tradition, Horus is conceived when
the water of the Nile - identified as Osiris - overflows the river's
banks, which are equated with Isis. The "phallus" in this latter
case is the "sharp star Sothis" or Sirius, the rising of which
signaled the Nile flood.
Hence, in discussing these myths we are not
dealing with "real people" who have body parts.
'Osiris... begetting a son by Isis, who hovers over him in the form
of a hawk.'
(Budge, On the Future Life: Egyptian Religion, 80)
As is often the case with mythical figures, despite the way she is
impregnated, Isis remained the "Great Virgin," as she is called in a
number of pre-Christian Egyptian writings.
As stated by Egyptologist
Dr. Reginald E. Witt, in
Isis in the Ancient World:
The Egyptian goddess who was equally "the Great Virgin" (hwnt) and
"Mother of the God" was the object of the very same praise bestowed
upon her successor [Mary, Virgin Mother of Jesus].
One of the inscriptions that calls Isis the "Great Virgin" appears
temple of Seti I at Abydos dating to the 13th century BCE.
stated by professor of Old Testament and Catholic Theology at the
University of Bonn Dr. G. Johannes Botterweck, in the
Dictionary of the Old Testament:
Pyramid Texts speak of "the great virgin" (hwn.t wr.t) three
times (682c, 728a, 2002a...); she is anonymous, appears as the
protectress of the king, and is explicitly called his mother once
(809c). It is interesting that Isis is addressed as hwn.t in a
sarcophagus oracle that deals with her mysterious pregnancy.
text in the Abydos Temple of Seti I, Isis herself declares:
the great virgin"...
It should be noted that the king or pharaoh, whose mother is called
"the great virgin," is also the living Horus; hence, his great
virgin mother would be Isis.
Also, in the temple of Neith and Isis at Sais was an ancient
inscription that depicted the virgin birth of the sun:
The present and the future and the past, I am. My undergarment no
one has uncovered. The fruit I brought forth, the sun came into
As Dr. Botterweck
In the Late Period [712-332 BCE] in particular, goddesses are
frequently called "(beautiful) virgins," especially Hathor, Isis,
During the Greco-Roman period, Isis was equated with the
constellation of Virgo, the Virgin, as I relate in Christ in Egypt:
...The identification of Isis with the Virgin...is made in an
ancient Greek text called The Katasterismoi, or Catasterismi,
allegedly written by the astronomer Eratosthenes (276-194 BCE), who
was for some 50 years the head librarian of the massive Library of
Although the original of this text has been lost, an
"epitome" credited to Eratosthenes in ancient times has been
attributed by modern scholars to an anonymous "Pseudo-Eratosthenes"
of the 1st to 2nd centuries AD/CE. In this book, the title of which
translates as "Placing Among the Stars," appear discussions of the
signs of the zodiac.
In his essay on the zodiacal sign of Virgo (ch.
9), under the heading of "Parthenos," the author includes the
goddess Isis, among others, such as Demeter, Atagartis and Tyche, as
identified with and as the constellation of the Virgin.
Myths of the Greeks and Romans, Dr. Theony Condos... translates the
pertinent passage from the chapter "Virgo" by Pseud-Eratosthenes
Hesiod in the Theogony says this figure is Dike, the daughter of
Zeus [Dios] and Themis... Some say it is Demeter because of the
sheaf of grain she holds, others say it is Isis, others Atagartis,
(For more information, including the original Greek, where the
father-god Zeus is termed Dios, meaning the "Divine One" or "God,"
Christ in Egypt)
Also, there exists at the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York an
ancient Carnelian ring stone from the Imperial period (1st
cents. AD/CE) that is an "adaptation" of a Greek artifact from the
fourth century BCE. The ring stone possesses an image of the
Greco-Egyptian hybrid god Serapis-Hades and Isis standing before him
holding an "ear of wheat and the
The Greek inscription
The phrase is translated as "The Lady Isis, Immaculate," the latter
word from the Greek verb agneuw, meaning "to be pure or chaste."
'The Lady Isis, Immaculate'; carnelian ring stone,
of Art; 1-2nd cents. AD/CE
In addition, according to early Church father
310-403), the virgin mother of the god Aion - also considered to be
Horus - brought him forth out of the manger each year.
This account is
verified earlier by Church father Hippolytus (c. 236), who, in
discussing the various Pagan mysteries (Refutation of All Heresies,
8.45), raises the idea of a "virgin spirit" and remarks:
"For she is
the virgin who is with child and conceives and bears a son, who is
not psychic, not bodily, but a blessed Aion of Aions."
Egyptologist Dr. Bojana Mojsov
As the redemptive figured of the Egyptian god [Osiris] loomed large
over the ancient world, Isis came to be worshipped as the Primordial
Virgin and their child as the Savior of the World.
Bojana also says:
The cult of Isis and Horus-the-Child was especially popular.
Hundreds of bronze figurines of Isis nursing her infant found in
temples and households became models for the Christian figures of
the Virgin and child. Steadily, the story of Osiris had spread
beyond Egypt and around the entire Mediterranean.
As we can see, despite her manner of impregnation Isis is clearly a
virgin mother, considered as such beginning many centuries before
the common era and continuing well into it.
Back to Contents
Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity
by Marguerite Rigoglioso, PhD
reviewed by D.M. Murdock/Acharya S
"The lack of commentary on the tremendous female power embedded in
some of our oldest religious stories has rendered virgin motherhood
essentially invisible from the start...
...a Virgin Mother [is one] who produced life from within herself
without a male consort."
Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso
Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity (15,
Whatever one takes away from Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity by
Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso, the book certainly is a tour de force.
Phrases like "parthenogenetic creator deity" and "virgin creatrix"
readily convey the concept of a virgin mother from remotest times,
like a splash of cold water waking up our long dormant female
spiritual traditions. There can be no doubt that the virgin-mother
concept did not originate with Christianity and that, in my opinion,
the idea of the Virgin Mary as a historical personage appears
unsupportable from this and much more evidence.
Suddenly, it all makes sense: Of course, the Great Creator of the
Universe has been viewed as a female - a goddess - during a
significant period of human culture. Evidence in many places points
to this idea of a self-generative - essentially virginal - female
creator preceding the development of a male counterpart.
For, if God
Yahweh is the creator, yet he has no consort,
according to Christian tradition, and is basically asexual, then he
too is virginal.
Like Isis and so many others, God the Father is the
Great Virgin. Nevertheless, like them he too begets. He is the
Virgin Father - a concept applied to the Greek god Zeus as well,
despite how many times he is said to procreate, since he is called
in antiquity "parthenos" or virgin.
As mythologist Robert Graves
"Thus the Orphic hymn celebrates Zeus as both Father and
Rigoglioso also discusses Zeus as
virgin creator, as in Orphic fragment 167:
Zeus's parthenogenetic capacity is expressed here in the idea that
all existence was "created anew" in the moment of his ingesting of
the older god [Phanes].
(Rigoglioso 2010, 46)
The role of Greek
influence in much important religious thought is also highlighted in
Dr. Rigoglioso's earlier work,
The Cult of the Divine Births in
Ancient Greece, which she frequently cites in her quest to show the
omnipresent divine Virgin Mother Goddess in pre-Christian religion
and mythology, dating back several thousand years.
In any event, the
various concepts predate their origin in Greece and can be found in
numerous other places in antiquity, such as Asia Minor and Egypt.
As Rigoglioso thoroughly demonstrates in Virgin Mother Goddesses,
ancient parthenogenetic female creators include:
Space does not permit me to recount all the remarkable evidence and
insights Rigoglioso provides; suffice it to say that my copy of
Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity is full of plastic sticky tabs
marking what seems to be every other paragraph.
Neith the Egyptian Prime Mover
While reading about the Egyptian virgin-mother goddess Neith, I was
struck once more with how spiritually and religiously sophisticated
were the Egyptians.
Their high culture as revealed in their social
structure and architecture is also expressed in their religion,
mythology and spirituality. In many ways, in the Egyptian culture we
are looking at an advanced level of civilization seldom reached
Regarding Neith, Rigoglioso relates:
As a divinity of the First Principle, Neith was an autogenetic
[self-begetting] goddess who, in the ultimate mystery, created
herself out of her own being... an inscription on a statue of Utchat-Heru, a high priest of Neith, relates that she,
"was the first
to give birth to anything, and that she had done so when nothing
else had been born, and that she had herself never been born."
Neith, Virgin Goddess, Form of Isis
After studying the attributes of
Neith as a 7,000-year-old Virgin Mother, the parthenogenetic or
virgin-birth capacity of other ancient goddesses becomes so
blatantly obvious and cosmologically sound that discussions of
whether or not a figure was "really a virgin" seem absurd.
nitpicking a certain term, as to whether or not it might mean
"virgin" or just a "maiden" who is fertile. The bottom line is that
we are discussing a cosmological ideal, not real women who possess
The idea of the self-generating creator is logically female, based
on observing nature - that is the virgin-mother concept in a
nutshell, and the childish and unsophisticated fairytales placing
this entity on Earth as a "real person" pale by comparison. These
myths are, in fact, foolish when taken literally.
"facts," they are also degrading to women's sexuality, as opposed to
the empowerment provided by the concept of the cosmic, formless and
transcendent Virgin Mother.
Hera and Heracles
Although I have been studying Greek religion and mythology for
decades, including in college and post-graduate studies in Greece
itself, I was nonetheless intrigued to review the evidence
concerning not only the antiquity of the pre-Olympian goddess Hera
as a virgin mother but also her primacy over the male gods, who
appear to be later interlopers and usurpers.
(Rigoglioso 2010, 69ff)
Indeed, the struggle reflected in the mythology between Hera and
Zeus, or the goddess and the god, in ancient Greece appears to have
begun around 1,000 BCE and may have lasted some 300 or so years,
before the Olympians finally ascended to the throne.
Before the Greeks as we know them existed, a series of invaders from
the east and northeast successively overran the Greek peninsula
throughout the second-millennium B.C.E. Such invasions culminated
with the Indo-European Dorians, who entered Greece about 1100 B.C.E.
and brought what became the language of Greece. They also brought a
patriarchal social structure and religion.
(Rigoglioso 2010, 11)
Marguerite further states:
Strong indicators that Hera was originally conceived as a
parthenogenetic goddess can be found in association with her cult on
the island of Samos, located off the coast of ancient Anatolia
On Samos, one of the primary and earliest seats of her
worship, she was known as Hera Parthenia, "Hera the Virgin"... Such
a title was apparently not uncommon in association with this
(Rigoglioso 2010, 69)
Renewing her virginity annually in a river, Hera was nonetheless the
mother who gave birth parthenogenetically to the Greek god of the
(Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio)
While Rigoglioso depicts the Greek hero and demigod Heracles
(Hercules) as an antagonist to parthenogenesis, I would have liked
to have seen a discussion of his own alleged virgin birth both from
the mortal woman Alcmene and from Hera herself, as suggested by an
older version of the myth that likewise reflects male domination of
the matrilineal hierarchy.
Speaking of Hera, Dr. Jane Ellen Harrison
"Her first husband, or rather consort, was Herakles."
(Harrison, 491; see also Jung, 539)
In this scenario, Hera and
Heracles take on the typical role as found around the Near East and
Asia Minor: The virgin-mother goddess and her consort-son.
myth of Zeus raping Alcmene, virgin daughter of Amphitryon, appears
to have been serve as yet another instance of the violent usurpation
of the virgin-mother goddess motif by the invasion of patriarchal
Also, whereas Rigoglioso (92ff) sees in Heracles's labors the same
male-dominant Olympians' overthrow of the goddess, the 12 tasks
clearly possess astronomical or astrotheological meanings; yet, her
thesis could help explain why these astrotheological events, rather
than being joyous events as is found in other myths, are labors in
this particular one.
It is precisely these sort of factors that
shape universal myths and make them culturally unique.
Celsus Library, Ephesus, Turkey; Photo: Radomil
concluding chapter, "The Gnostic Sophia: Divine Generative Virgin"
by Dr. Angeleen Campra, ties the subject together nicely by
providing a bridge between Paganism and Judeo-Christian tradition,
as it shows precisely how this ages-old concept of the divine
feminine as primordial creator was demoted, at precisely the same
time when Christianity was being formed, with its subordinate female
figure of the Virgin Mary.
Sophia rose out of a patriarchal worldview, but I argue that both
iterations - Hochma/Sophia of the Wisdom literature of the fifth to
first centuries B.C.E. and Sophia of the Valentinian Gnostic myth of
the first centuries C.E. - reveal the attributes of the more ancient
Virgin Mother deities from the areas neighboring West Asia.
Campra's extensive survey clearly reveals that parthenogenesis was
part of the enigmatic Gnostic doctrine, which brings this extremely
ancient concept right down to and into the Christian era, with its
evident remake of the Virgin Mother Goddess in Mary, whom I and many
others contend is a mythical not historical figure, largely based on
this widespread and ancient goddess concept.
The Great Matriarchy v. Patriarchy Debate
Rigoglioso's important study goes a long way in resurrecting the
works of Marija Gimbutas, Riane Eisler and Merlin Stone in the
"Great Matriarchy v. Patriarchy Debate," in which their thesis of
Goddess or female primacy has been assailed and claimed to be
"discredited," replaced with more oblique terminology describing
"partnership" versus "dominator" cultures.
Indeed, in this regard
Marguerite has come out in support of this earlier research (Rigoglioso
2002) and says in VMGA (9):
Critics of the theory that a matriarchal phase of human history
preceded patriarchy will no doubt deride the fact that I am even
considering such a concept as basis for this book. Haven't we
thoroughly trounced the notion and shown it to be archaeologically
and anthropologically untenable or unprovable, after all? Haven't we
shown, in fact that matriarchies never existed?
I would argue, no.
Concerning Gimbutas in specific, Rigoglioso also remarks:
Although controversy surrounds Gimbutas's methods and
conclusions..., the viewpoint I adopt is in accord with those of
archaeologists and other scholars who are verifying and expanding on
various aspects of Gimbutas's theories... I believe that, because
prominent classics scholars... independently held to similar
theoretical views, the assumption of an early matriarchal substratum
in Greece, upon which my analysis is based, is built on firm, if not
(Rigoglioso 2010, 210-11)
Riglioso even suggests that the derision of the opposition to the
matriarchal thesis represents,
In the same essay, Marguerite also says of this academic
debate, in which the goddess movement has been assailed:
So the attack has been particularly virulent - involving the even
more vicious tactic of professional discrediting when scorn alone
won't do - because we pose a threat to the reigning paradigm.
In the end, Rigoglioso's work also clearly shows the Goddess primacy
being overthrown by the male gods and patriarchy, demonstrated
through myths and religious, historical and cultural developments
over the centuries.
The Root of Female Oppression
It is not simply the solid evidence Rigoglioso puts together so
abundantly Patriarchy v. Matriarchy that delights, it is also her
very thesis itself that is enticing and refreshing.
enjoyed her conclusions, albeit they reflect a tragedy, a violent
usurpation riddled with sexism and misogyny that have led to
incalculable suffering worldwide over the past three millennia or
Yet, I was relieved to see this sensible explanation for female
oppression within religion and mythology coming to light, as I
always am when I read the writings of other writers such as
Indeed, Walker's fantastic work on women's spirituality
is beautifully complemented by Rigoglioso's undertaking.
endeavors go far in restoring dignity and respect to the female
aspect of creation, so badly derogated, abused, oppressed and
enslaved by the patriarchal Abrahamic and other religions the past
several thousand years.
Drawbacks and Omissions
The only serious criticism I have of the book is its price, which is
unfortunately that of an academic press and too great for the
average reader, who will thus miss out on all the fascinating and
As a publisher, I know I could make this tome
for far less and with many images to boot! Fortunately, it is likely
that the book will become available in paperback, as is the case
with Rigoglioso's previous work The Cult of Divine Birth.
Moreover, for the average reader this book may seem dense and, at
times, tedious, as well as challenging because of the academic style
of citation that includes the author, year and page number
parenthetically in the text, rather than as footnotes or endnotes.
Non-scholars may find the style initially distracting or
intimidating, but they may also get used to it in their quest to
pull out all the gems, which are plentiful.
At certain points, I felt as if the author was overreaching in her
conclusions, but such is always the case when one is seriously
attempting to prove a controversial thesis with as much evidence as
is possible - and it is my studied opinion that Rigliogoso has proved
her main thesis of the widespread presence of the virgin-mother
goddess concept in antiquity, as well as this mythological motif's
overthrow by the male-dominated cultus.
Artemis of Ephesus
In addition, as a scholar and enthusiast of the
astrotheological meaning of much religious doctrine and many
mythical motifs, I would like to have seen more of a discussion of
the virgin birth theme as reflecting characteristics of celestial
bodies or events, as well as their interaction with the earth and
In this regard, in ancient myths we find a theme of
the virgin and inviolable dawn goddess giving birth to the new,
Likewise, many parthenogenetic goddesses are equated
with the earth, moon, Venus and Virgo. In this regard, I was
interested in various brief references by Rigoglioso to the moon as
it related to certain goddesses, such as the African Nyame and the
Importantly, Marguerite and I differ substantially in our
conclusions as to what this evidence means in the overall scheme of
While she avers that the
Virgin Mary was a real person, I
evince in my numerous books and articles that these various
characters, including the Christian figures, represent mythical
motifs reflective of ancient nature worship, solar mythology and astrotheology.
In this regard, I am of the opinion that VMGA is one
of the great works to be used in proving
the mythicist position.
wit, while many of the ancients did indeed perceive certain figures
such as Hercules or Osiris to have been "real people" who "walked
the earth" in remote times - a notion explored most famously by the
Euhemerus (c. 330-260 BCE) - these characters were
in fact anthropomorphizations of very ancient, cosmic ideals and
As ancient writers attest and as we know from such simple
notions as the days of the week, many of our most important gods and
goddesses are unquestionably astrotheological in nature, including
the sun and moon gods and goddesses, as well as the various
iterations of the planets and constellations. In other words, the
personifications of the celestial bodies are clearly not real
people, whether or not divine.
Moreover, in the chapter on Demeter and Persephone, whom she
demonstrates were "originally conceived as Virgin Mothers", Rigoglioso goes into a lengthy discussion of the rape of the virgin
goddess and the ritual use of a phallus by initiates into the
Eleusinian Mysteries, both male and female.
This section is
important for historical purposes, but it may make some readers
uncomfortable in its frankness and graphic depictions.
From her style and thoroughness, Dr. Rigoglioso is clearly a
Yet, some of her thesis will undoubtedly be
uncomfortable for many, and if she had composed this work a century
ago based on those conclusions she may have been deemed "third rate"
by the Catholic Encyclopedia, for example, which disparages with
just such a moniker scholars of an earlier era who came to the same
Obviously, these facts are threatening to
dogma, showing that the virgin birth is unoriginal and firmly rooted
in mythology, not history.
As a passionate scholar of mythical motifs such as the virgin birth,
which I have been discussing for nearly 20 years, including in
The Christ Conspiracy in 1999, I can only
wish and hope for other professional scholars like Rigoglioso to
tackle all the other common mythical motifs in the same rigorous and
Another such effort that comes to mind is
Riddle of the Resurrection by Dr. Tryggve N.D. Mettinger, which
basically proves that the motif of a god or goddess resurrecting
from the dead is present in the religion and mythology of several
pre-Christian cultures, as we would logically expect it to be.
Although it is a scholarly work that may be difficult for some to
tackle, Virgin Mother Goddesses readily proves Rigoglioso's major
points, including and especially the existence in the human psyche,
religion and mythology extending back millennia of the concept of a
self-generating or parthenogenetic female divine creator.
of the author and my different opinions as to its overall
significance, I feel that Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity is an
indispensable resource for scholars and students of comparative
religion and mythology, as well as women's spirituality and goddess
studies, and I personally will be using it for years to come.
Graves, Robert. The White Goddess. New York: Farrar, Strauss and
Harrison, Jane Ellen. Epilegomena to the Study of Greek Religion.
Jung, Carl Gustav. Psychology of the Unconscious. New York: Moffat,
Yard and Co., 1916.
Rigoglioso, Marguerite. "Women's Spirituality Scholars Speak Out: A
Report on the 7th Annual Gender & Archeology Conference at Sonoma
State." belili.org/marija/rigoglioso.html, 2002.
- The Cult of the Divine Birth in Ancient Greece. New York: Palgrave
- Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity. New York: Palgrave
Back to Contents
Who is The Virgin Mary?
by Acharya S/D.M. Murdock
excerpted from 'Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and
Moon Mary - Queen of Heaven
"The goddesses have stories to tell. One such story - far too long
ignored - is that, in their original, unadulterated form, they were parthenogenetic. The word parthenogenesis comes from the Greek
parthenos, 'virgin' more or less, and gignesthai, 'to be born.' It
means, essentially, to be born of a virgin - that is, without the
participation of a male.
For a goddess to be 'parthenogenetic' thus
means that she stands as a primordial creatrix, who requires no male
partner to produce the cosmos, earth, life, matter and even other
gods out of her own essence.
Plentiful evidence shows that in their
earliest cults, before they were subsumed under patriarchal
pantheons as the wives, sisters and daughters of male gods, various
female deities of the ancient Mediterranean world were indeed
considered self-generating, virgin creatrixes."
Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso, Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity (1)
"There is but one god and goddess, but many are their powers and
names: Jupiter, Sol, Apollo, Moses, Christ, Luna, Ceres, Proserpinfa,
Tellus, Mary. But have a care in speaking these things. They should
be hidden in silence as are the Eleusinian mysteries; sacred things
must needs be wrapped in fable and enigma."
Konrad Muth (1471-1526)
Virgin Mary adored in heaven
As is the case with Jesus Christ
himself, the godman's parents, Joseph and Mary, never appear in the
contemporary historical record of the time they allegedly existed.
Nor are they mentioned in non-gospel Christian writings earlier than
the purported time of church father Ignatius (d. 107 CE).
enough, the Islamic sacred text, the Koran, places Jesus and
the same era as Moses, or the 13th century BCE. Arabs believed that
Jesus was Joshua, the Old Testament prophet, and that Joshua's
mother was "Mirzam," the Miriam of Exodus, sister of Moses and
Aaron. (Robertson, CM, 297)
In this regard, Joshua is Jesus in
Greek, and both Mirzam and Miriam are equivalent to Mariam or Mary.
As Strong's Concordance (Gk. 3137) relates:
"Mary or Miriam = 'their
The Persians likewise believed that Joshua's mother was
the Mosaic Miriam. Hence, according to Near Eastern tradition there
appeared a Jesus, son of Mary, over a thousand years prior to the
Moreover, like Jesus, who was called "Emmanuel" (Mt.
"Persian title of 'the god Immani,' or E-mani,' venerated
in Elam as a sacred king-martyr," the Persian savior Mani was said
to have been "born of a virgin named Mary."
The Virgin Goddess
In reality, the ancient world abounded with traditions, prophecies,
fables and myths of miraculous conceptions and births, long before
the Christian era, and the virgin-mother motif is common enough in
pre-Christian cultures to demonstrate its unoriginality and
non-historicity within Christianity.
In early Christian times, Mary
herself was believed to have been born of a virgin, which, if taken
literally, would represent a virgin [or miraculous] birth prior to
Christ, rendering his own nativity unoriginal and mundane, rather
than miraculous and divine.
One source of Mary's immaculate
conception was Christian writer and saint John of Damascus (c.
676-c. 754-787), who asserted that Mary's parents were,
purified by the Holy Ghost, and freed from sexual concupiscence."
Concerning this matter, the Catholic Encyclopedia ("Immaculate
Conception") states that "even the human element" of Mary's origin,
"the material of which she was formed, was pure and holy." In other
words, Roman Catholic doctrine dictates that, like Jesus, "the
Blessed Virgin Mary" was "conceived without sin."
order to maintain the "uniqueness" of Christ's virgin birth,
however, this contention regarding Mary is not taken seriously.
it proves, nonetheless, is that fabulous Christian claims are based
on pious speculation, not historical fact, speculation by the
faithful that changes from era to era, depending on the need.
Virgin Mary adored in heaven
As it turns out, the Virgin Mary is,
like Jesus Christ, a mythical character, founded upon older
Following on the heels of goddesses such as Aphrodite,
Astarte, Cybele, Demeter, Hathor, Inanna, Ishtar and Isis, Mary is,
"both virgin and mother, and, like many of them, she gives birth to
a half-human, half-divine child, who dies and is reborn."
Regarding the Great Mother Goddess, upon whom Mary is based and
whose names are legion, in Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity
(II, 45) Francis Legge says:
"Her most prominent characteristics show her to be a personification
of the Earth, the mother of all living, ever bringing forth and ever
In Pagan and Christian Creeds (159-161),
Edward Carpenter recites a
long list of virgin mothers:
Danae impregnated by Zeus as a golden shower
Greek Red Figure ware, c. 5th cent.
Zeus, Father of the gods, visited Semele… in the form of a
thunderstorm; and she gave birth to the great savior and deliverer
Zeus, again, impregnated Danae in a shower
of gold; and the child was Perseus… Devaki, the radiant Virgin of
the Hindu mythology, became the wife of the god Vishnu and bore
Krishna, the beloved hero and prototype of Christ.
With regard to
Buddha, St. Jerome says:
"It is handed down among the Gymnosophists
of India that Buddha, the founder of their system, was brought forth
by a Virgin from her side."
The Egyptian Isis, with the child Horus
on her knee, was honored centuries before the Christian era, and
worshipped under the names of "Our Lady," "Queen of Heaven," "Star
of the Sea," "Mother of God," and so forth.
Before her, Neith the
Virgin of the World, whose figure bends from the sky over the
earthly plains and the children of men, was acclaimed as mother of
the great god Osiris…
The old Teutonic goddess Hertha (the Earth) was a Virgin, but was
impregnated by the heavenly Spirit (the Sky); and her image with a
child in her arms was to be seen in the sacred groves of Germany.
The Scandinavian Frigga, in much the same way, being caught in the
embraces of Odin, the All-father, conceived and bore a son, the
blessed Balder, healer and savior of mankind.
(crucified) savior of the Aztecs, was the son of Chimalman, the
Virgin Queen of Heaven. Even the Chinese had a mother-goddess and
virgin with child in her arms; and the ancient Etruscans the same…
Black Madonna and Child, Anjony, France, c. 17th cent.
In addition to the omnipresent mother-and-child
imagery beginning at least five millennia ago are the black
virgin-mother statues found all over the Mediterranean and
especially in Italian churches, representing the very ancient
Egyptian goddess Isis, as well as the later Mary, having been
refigured or "baptized anew" as the Jewish Mother of God.
this development, in its article the "Virgin Birth of Christ" the
Catholic Encyclopedia ("CE")
"A first class of writers have recourse to pagan mythology in order
to account for the early Christian tradition concerning the virgin
birth of Jesus. Usener argues that the early Gentile Christians must
have attributed to Christ what their pagan ancestors had attributed
to their pagan heroes; hence the Divine sonship of Christ is a
product of the religious thought of Gentile Christians… Conrady
found in the Virgin Mary a Christian imitation of the Egyptian
goddess Isis, the mother of Horus…"
Concerning the usurpation of the Virgin Mother by Christianity,
which simply constituted the changing of the goddess from one
ethnicity to another, in The Paganism in Our Christianity apologist Sir Arthur Weigall observes:
Isis nursing her Divine Son, Horus…
"While the story of the death and
resurrection of Osiris may have influenced the thought of the
earliest Christians in regard to the death and resurrection of our
Lord, there can be no doubt that the myths of Isis had a direct
bearing upon the elevation of Mary, the mother of Jesus, to her
celestial position in the Roman Catholic theology…
In her aspect as
the mother of Horus, Isis was represented in tens of thousands of
statuettes and paintings, holding the divine child in her arms; and
when Christianity triumphed these paintings and figures became those
of the Madonna and Child without any break in continuity: no
archaeologist, in fact, can now tell whether some of these objects
represent the one or the other."
Like the Christian Mary and Egyptian Isis, the Canaanite goddess
Astarte, mentioned in the Old Testament, was,
the "Virgin of the
Sea," as well as the "blessed Mother and Lady of the Waters."
Another virgin goddess was the mother of the
god Attis, whose widespread worship "must have influenced the early
As Weigall (115-116) recounts:
Attis was the Good Shepherd, the son of Cybele, the Great Mother, or
alternatively, of the Virgin Nana, who conceived him without union
with mortal man, as in the story of the Virgin Mary…
In Rome the
festival of his death and resurrection was annually held from March
22nd to 25th; and the connection of this religion with Christianity
is shown by the fact that in Phrygia, Gaul, Italy and other
countries where Attis-worship was powerful, the Christians adopted
the actual date, March 25th, as the anniversary of our Lord's
The pre-Christian virgin goddess Myrrha was the mother of the god
Adonis, who tradition holds was born at Bethlehem,
"in the same
sacred cave that Christians later claimed as the birthplace of
Indeed, Myrrha was,
"identified with Mary by early Christians
who called Jesus's mother Myrrh of the Sea."
Buddha born through the side of his mother, Maya.
2nd cent. AD/CE
Also a product of a virgin birth, the Indian avatar
Buddha's conception is portrayed as coming to his mother, Maya, in a
dream, similar to the conflicting gospel tales of Joseph's dream or
the angel appearing to Mary.
Regarding Buddha, in Christianity
Before Christ (87) Dr. John Jackson states:
"He was said to have been born of the Virgin Maya, or Mary. His
incarnation was accomplished by the descent of the Holy Ghost upon
the Virgin Maya.
The infant Buddha, soon after birth, spoke to his
'I will put to an end to the sufferings and sorrows
of the world.'
As these words are uttered, a mystical light
surrounded the infant Messiah."
This mythical theme is not uncommon, as the birth through the side
of the virgin was also claimed of Jesus by early Christian
"heretics." It was likewise said that Julius Caesar was born through
the "side of his mother," whence comes the term "Caesarean section."
So too was the Egyptian sun god Ra "born from the side of his
mother" (Bonwick, 107), a motif that reflects the relationship
between the sun and moon. Part of the "lunar phenomenon," the
mother's womb symbolizes the moon, in which the solar child can be
Hence, Buddha's mother, Maya, was depicted as
transparent, as was the pregnant Mary,
"as may be seen in Didron's
Like Buddha's mother, Queen Maya, the carpenter's wife Mary is also
a "queen," as in "Queen of Heaven." Precursor of Mary, the immensely
popular Isis's status as "Queen of Heaven" was established eons
before, and continued well into, the common era.
In his Latin novel
of the second century ce, The Golden Ass (XI.2), Lucius Apuleius
describes Isis's introduction of herself to the "hapless quadruped"
"I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistress and
governess of all the elements, the initial progeny of worlds, chief
of the powers divine, queen of heaven, the principal of the gods
celestial, the light of the goddesses.
At my will the planets of the
air, the wholesome winds of the seas and the silences of hell are
My name, my divinity, is adored throughout the world, in
divers manners, in variable customs and in many names, for the
Phrygians call me the mother of the gods; the Athenians, Minerva;
the Cyprians, Venus; the Candians, Diana; the Sicilians, Proserpina;
the Eleusinians, Ceres; some Juno, others Bellona, others Hecate;
and principally the Ethiopians who dwell in the Orient, and the
Egyptians… do call me Queen Isis."
As can be seen, Isis was fervently revered as the epitome of
Divinity, long before Mary achieved that rank.
Winged Isis in cruciform, Tomb of Seti I
Mary, Goddess of the Moon
The virgin-goddess "Queen of Heaven" is prevalent in the ancient
world for the reason that she is astrological or astrotheological,
symbolizing the moon, the earth, Venus, Virgo and the dawn.
goddesses thus resolve themselves to variants on a theme, one of
which is the moon, a feature of the ubiquitous sun-god mythos, in
which the moon, by mirroring the sun's light, "gives birth" to the
In Christ Lore (30-31), Hackwood describes the astrotheological
development of this theme:
Virgin Mary with Stars atop a Crescent Moon.
Virgin Mary is called not only the Mother of God, but the Queen of
This connects her directly with astronomic lore. The
ornamentation of many continental churches often includes a
representation of the Sun and Moon "in conjunction," the Moon being
therein emblematical of the Virgin and Child….
"As the Moon…is the symbol of Mary, Queen of Heaven, so also a
bright Star sometimes symbolizes him whose star was seen over
Jerusalem by the Wise Men from the East.
"The many depictions of Mary with the crescent moon reflect her
status as the ancient moon goddess, exemplified by the Egyptian
In his book dating to the first century BCE on Egyptian antiquities,
Greek writer Diodorus Siculus affirms that the Egyptian god
Osiris symbolizes the sun while his wife/sister, Isis, is the moon:
Isis with moon and
lunar horns nursing Horus
"Now when the ancient Egyptians,
awestruck and wondering, turned their eyes to the heavens, they
concluded that two gods, the sun and the moon, were
primeval and eternal; and they called the former Osiris, the latter
Isis, assigning each of these names according to some relevant
"…Now Isis, in translation, signifies 'ancient' - a name bestowed for
her ancient and immortal origin. They depict horns on her head, both
from the moon's horned appearance when in its crescent, and because
the horned cow is sacred to her among the Egyptians."
Concerning Isis's prototype, the Egyptian lunar virgin goddess Neith,
who predated the Christian era by millennia, in The Ancient Gods,
Rev. James observes:
…She too was the virgin mother of the Sun-god, having given birth to
Re [Ra] as the great cow, and was identified with Isis as the wife
of Osiris, later becoming one of the forms of Hathor.
was "the Great Goddess, the mother of all the gods."…
…She was eternal, self-existing, self-sustaining and all-pervading,
personifying the female principle from very early times. She was
believed to have brought forth the transcendent Sun-god without the
aid of a male partner, very much as in the Memphite Theology Ptah
created all things virtually ex nihilo by thinking as the "heart"
and commanding as the "tongue."
The virgin-mother goddess represents not only the moon but also the
constellation of Virgo.
This important information regarding the
Virgin is found in ancient texts, such as the
Eclogues (37 BCE) of
the Roman poet Virgil, in which is described or "prophesied" the,
"return of the virgin," i.e., Virgo, who would bring about "a new
breed of men sent down from heaven," as well as the birth of a boy
"in whom… the golden race [shall] arise."
This virgin-born "golden
boy" is in actuality the sun.
Commenting on the Virgo-Sun relationship, the author of Christianity
Mythology Unveiled (CMU, 105) notes:
In the ancient zodiacs of India and Egypt, there is seen this virgin
nursing a male child, with sun rays around his head…which is
emblematical of the infant sun at the winter solstice, and of his
being then in the sign of the Virgo.
Regarding the solar nativity, in The Golden Bough Sir Frazer
Egyptian Virgo, from Oedipus Judaicus
The ritual of the
nativity, as it appears to have been celebrated in Syria and Egypt,
was remarkable. The celebrants retired into certain inner shrines,
from which at midnight they issued with a loud cry,
"The Virgin has
brought forth! The light is waxing!"
The Egyptians even represented
the new-born sun by the image of an infant which on his birthday,
the winter solstice, they brought forth and exhibited to his
No doubt the Virgin who thus conceived and bore a son
on the twenty-fifth of December was the great Oriental goddess whom
the Semites called the Heavenly Virgin or simply the Heavenly
As does Latin authority Macrobius (5th
cent. CE), the Paschal
Chronicle recounts that the newborn sun (Horus) was presented to the
public every year at the winter solstice, as a babe in a manger.
pertinent part of the Chronicle reads as follows:
"To this day, Egypt has consecrated the pregnancy of a virgin, and
the nativity of her son, whom they annually present in a cradle, to
the adoration of the people; and when king Ptolemy, three hundred
and fifty years before our Christian era, demanded of the priests
the significance of this religious ceremony, they told him it was a
The Chronicle author(s) further confirms that Christianity is a
continuation of the ancient astrotheological religion when he states
that the "Annunciation of our Lady," i.e., the conception of
by the Virgin Mary, occurred on March 25th, the vernal equinox,
exactly nine months prior to the December 25th birthdate, at the
Virgin Mary, Clothed in the Sun
While the masses have been kept in
the dark, the knowledgeable elite have been aware of what the Virgin
truly represents, even as they have attempted sophistically to
explain "her" relationship to the "earthly" life of "our Lord."
Concerning the astrotheological nature of the gospel story,
including the virgin birth/immaculate conception, the famous
Christian theologian and saint Albertus Magnus, or Albert the Great
"We know that the sign of the celestial Virgin did come to the
horizon at the moment where we have fixed the birth of our Lord
Jesus Christ. All the mysteries of the incarnation of our
Christ; and all the circumstances of his marvelous life, from his
conception to his ascension, are to be traced out in the
constellations, and are figured in the stars."
The virgin birth thus refers to the hour of midnight, December 25th,
when the constellation of Virgo rises on the horizon.
Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Another example of the ancient
astrotheology appears in the observance of the "Assumption of the
Virgin," celebrated in Catholicism on August 15th, when the Virgin
Mary was "assumed" or "taken up."
The observance is not
representative of an actual event that happened to an historical
character but commemorates the time when the constellation of the
"rendered invisible by the solar rays."
other words, the summer sun's brightness blots out Virgo.
Nativity, observed on September 8th, occurs when the constellation
is visible again.
The goddess is not only the moon and Virgo but also the dawn, who
daily gives birth to the sun. By eminent Christian Egyptologist E.A.
Wallis Budge's assessment (cxiv), the versatile Isis is likewise
"the deity of the dawn," which, according to very ancient mythology,
would make her "inviolable" and "eternal," i.e., a perpetual virgin.
Even Christian writers have understood the connection between the
Virgin and the dawn, as exemplified in "one of the homilies of St. Amedus on the Virgin," which includes the following regarding Mother
"She is the Fountain that waters the whole earth, the Dawn that
precedes the True Sun. She is the health (salus) of all, the
reconciler (conciliatrix) of the whole world, the inventress of
grace, the generatrix of life, the mother of salvation."
Isis suckling Horus, Mary nursing Jesus
As is evident, the worship of
the Virgin Isis was eventually and nearly seamlessly transformed
into that of the Virgin Mary:
"The worship of the Virgin as the
Theotokos or Mother of God, which
was introduced into
the Catholic Church about the time of the
destruction of the Serapeum, enabled the devotees of Isis to
continue unchecked their worship of the mother goddess by merely
changing the name of the object of their adoration, and Prof.
Drexler gives a long list of the statues of Isis which thereafter
were used, sometimes with unaltered attributes, as those of the
(Legge, I, 85)
As Weigall (204-208) elucidates, Christianity in general constitutes
a rehash of Paganism:
From Pagan mythology Christianity had unconsciously taken over many
a wonderful story and had incorporated it into the life of Jesus…
…many of the old heathen gods had been taken into the Church as
saints. Castor and Pollux became St. Cosmo and St. Damien; Dionysos,
many of whose attributes were attached to St. John the Baptist,
still holds his place as St. Denis of Paris…
All over Christendom,
pagan sacred places were perpetuated by the erection of Christian
chapels or churches on the same sites; and there are hundreds of
shrines dedicated to the Madonna on ground once sacred to nymphs or
goddesses, while the holy wells or springs of heathendom are now the
holy wells of the Church.
The statues of Jupiter and Apollo became
those of St. Peter and St. Paul; and the figures of Isis were turned
into those of the Virgin Mary…
Not only was the worship of Isis usurped by that of Mary but also
the countless apparitions believed by prior worshippers to be the
Egyptian goddess were subsequently asserted to be appearances by the
Although many Christians feel that such visions of
"Mary" and "Jesus" prove the validity of their belief system, the
fact is that apparitions of numerous gods and goddesses to their
millions of followers have been quite common globally, in a wide
variety of cultures, beginning centuries and millennia prior to the
The purported appearance of a god or goddess does
not, therefore, prove the validity of any particular religion, or it
would ensue that every faith in which believers have allegedly seen
their god or gods would constitute the "one, true religion."
In the end, like her Son the Sun, the Virgin Moon Mary is a mythical
character based on older goddesses who were themselves astrotheological personifications of celestial and earthly bodies
In its most poetic, feminine manifestation, the
ancient astrotheology reached exquisite zeniths befitting the Divine
Mother of All, flawlessly formless beyond all cultural camouflage
and ethnic exteriority.
Anonymous, The Christian Mythology
Unveiled, Printed privately, 1842?
Baring, Anne and Cashford, Jules, The Myth of the Goddess:
Evolution of an Image, Arkana/Penguin, London, 1993.
Bonwick, James, Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, Falcon's
Wing, CO, 1956.
Budge, E.A. Wallis, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Dover, NY,
Carpenter, Edward, Pagan and Christian Creeds (1921), Health
Catholic Encyclopedia, www.newadvent.org
Chronicon Paschale: 284-628 AD, trs. Michael and Mary Whitby,
Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, 1989.
Dupuis, Charles Francois, The Origin of All Religious Worship,
Garland, New York/London, 1984.
Doane, Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions
(1882), Health Research, WA, 1985.
Hackwood, Fredk. Wm., Christ Lore: Being the Legends,
Traditions, Myths, Symbols, Customs & Superstitions of the
Christian Church, London, 1902.
Higgins, Godfrey, Anacalypsis (1836), A&B Books, NY, 1992.
Jackson, John G., Christianity Before Christ, American Atheist
Press, Texas, 1985.
James, E.O., The Ancient Gods, Putnam, NY, 1960.
Legge, Francis, Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity: From 330
B.C. To 330 A.D., University Books, NY, 1964.
Lundy, John P., Monumental Christianity: The Art and Symbolism
of the Primitive Church, Swan Sonnenschein & Co., London, 1889.
Macrobius, The Saturnalia, tr. Percival Vaughan Davies, Columbia
University Press, NY, 1969.
Massey, Gerald, Gerald Massey's Lectures, A&B Publishers, NY,
McCabe, Joseph, The Story of Religious Controversy,
Robertson, J.M., Christianity and Mythology, Watts & Co.,
Rigoglioso, Marguerite. Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity.
New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010.
Siculus, Diodorus, The Antiquities of Egypt, tr. Edwin Murphy,
Transaction Publishers, 1990.
Strong's Concordance, www.blueletterbible.org/search.html#strongs
Virgil, Eclogues, classics.mit.edu/Virgil/eclogue.html
Walker, Barbara, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets,
Harper, San Francisco, 1983.
Weigall, Arthur, The Paganism in Our Christianity, Hutchinson &
Co., London, 1928.
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Neith, Virgin Mother of the World
Mother Goddess of Egypt, with shuttle on her head
'A Handbook for
Travellers in Lower and Upper Egypt.' London: John Murray, 1888; p.
The worship of the Egyptian goddess
Neith, a sometime mother of the solar deity Horus, is traceable to
around 7,000 years ago, according to Dr. Wim van Binsbergen,
chairman of the Foundations of Intercultural Philosophy at Erasmus
University, who calls her an example of,
(van Binsbergen, 35)
"Neith never engaged in any kind of sexual union; that is, she was
eternally a virgin. Yet, as the primordial Being, she was also
generative. Thus, in Neith we have one of the earliest appearances
of the archetype of the Virgin Mother, the Holy Parthenos, in her
original, unadulterated form."
Regarding the very ancient Neith and her parthenogenetic capacity,
in her book Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso remarks:
...Neith was unequivocally portrayed as an autogenetic/parthenogenetic creatrix in the inscriptions of the middle and late
periods in Egypt, a depiction that may have characterized the
goddess in her earliest cult as well.
She specifically was both
creator and "virgin," a being whose peplos, or dress, no
one had lifted. As one of the oldest deities of Egypt, who most
likely was worshipped throughout ancient Libya, she thus
represents one of the earliest appearances of the archetype of
the Virgin Mother goddess in the ancient Mediterranean world.
It is important in discussing Neith as autogene, or self-created
Virgin Mother...first to establish her preeminence in the Egyptian
pantheon. Neith... was one of the oldest of all Egyptian deities and
one of the most important divinities during the early historic
period. There is strong evidence that her worship was widespread in predynastic times... She is first documented iconographically in the
last phase of the predynastic period (c. fourth millennium B.C.E.)...
As a divinity of the First Principle, Neith was an autogenetic
goddess who, in the ultimate mystery, created herself out of her own
Budge notes... that an inscription on a statue of Utchat-Heru,
a high priest of Neith, relates that she,
"was the first to give
birth to anything, and that she had done so when nothing else had
been born, and that she had herself never been born."
We see her
autogenetic aspect echoed in both Egyptian and Greek texts.
Plutarch... refers to an inscription on her statue in Sais...:
everything that has been, and that is, and that shall be, and no one
has ever lifted my garment (peplos)."...
That in the above-noted Saitic inscription Neith's "garment" remained perpetually "unlifted"
is also a sexual reference... The inscription therefore communicates
that Neith never engaged in any kind of sexual union; that is, she
was eternally a virgin. Yet, as the primordial Being, she was also
Thus, in Neith we have one of the earliest appearances
of the archetype of the Virgin Mother, the Holy Parthenos, in her
original, unadulterated form.
Respected Egyptologist Dr. Claus Bleeker concurs with this
assessment regarding Neith, remarking in The Rainbow: A Collection
of Studies in the Science of Religion (139-140):
It appears that the connection between Neith and the primeval cow
has several implications. Neith is not only a primeval deity but
also a goddess of the universe.
An echo of the conviction that she
exercises the latter function can be heard in the inscription on her
statue in Sais, as it is quoted by Plutarch:
["The present and the
future and the past, I am. My undergarment no one has uncovered. The
fruit I brought forth, the sun came into being."] Her quality as
primeval deity is indicated in the explanation of her name which
Plutarch offers, i.e. ... "I came (into existence) out of myself."...
It is confirmed by a line in the myth of creation at Esna, which
reads: "apparue d'elle-même" ["appeared from herself"].
The idea that Neith is a goddess who produces life out of herself is
also expressed in the notion that she is androgynous.... She has no
partner beside her. In Esna she is accompanied by two sons. She is
the virgin goddess who procreates children without male assistance.
It is therefore not surprising that she is considered as a creator.
It should be recalled that Neith is identified in antiquity with
both the Greek goddess Athena, who is likewise a parthenogenetic
creatrix or virgin mother, as well as Isis, about whom the same can
be and is said. Among others, Isis is identified with the
constellation of Virgo, the Virgin, likewise in antiquity.
many such manifestations of the virgin mother, long before
Christianity was ever conceived.
Bleeker, Claus J. The Rainbow: A Collection of Studies in the
Science of Religion. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1975.
Rigoglioso, Marguerite. Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity. New
York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010.
van Binsbergen, Wim M.J. "Skulls and tears: Identifying and
analyzing an African fantasy space extending over 5000
and across 5000 years" (1998), www.shikanda.net/ancient_models/fantasy_space_2006_expanded.pdf
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