As an artist and a women the “Venus” figures inspired my curiosity. I wanted to understand them, so I started reading every scholar who was opening up the new field of research on the divine feminine. Most of the research I read focused on one or another period or culture. What I found missing, in my reading, was a way to visualize the tremendous scope of the goddess phenomenon, which covers more than 30,000 years. So, I decided to make a Goddess Timeline. I thus started an amazing personal journey which immersed me in one culture after another, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Old Europe, … all the way to the present day Black Madonnas.

The timelines I had seen covered limited eras or distorted the time scale, shrinking the vast Paleolithic and exaggerating some of the more prolific periods. What I wanted was a chronology on a uniform time scale so I could better understand the whole picture. I created a timeline in which the horizontal dimension represents time and the vertical dimension shows the geographic distribution. Seen in this way, it becomes clear how widespread and enduring the goddess phenomenon has been. Scholars may debate whether the early images represent true religious objects, but when you consider the timeline as a whole, it is clear that many of the characteristics from even the earliest images can be recognized in the goddesses of established religions in more recent civilizations.

I am indebted to the pioneering work of the many female and male scholars who have taken the lead in this area of scholarly research. Their work has demonstrated both insight and academic courage. The Goddess Timeline is my contribution to the conversation.

Constance Tippett may be reached at

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