Goddesses of fertility, of nature and agriculture were venerated in ancient Babylon, the Middle East, in Egypt, in the Minoan-Mycenaean, in Rome, in medieval Europe (and even to this day, among the peasants of Central Europe), in Celtic countries, in ancient Mexico, including by the American Indians of North and South America, in Africa, in Asia, Polynesia, India, and in ancient China. The mother of Gaul was Cerridwen, goddess of grain. In Scandinavia there was Freyja, the goddess of ploughing and of oak trees. In all these places, and the list is certainly not complete, the figure has common qualities. It is the companion of the goddess of fertility, associated with love, animals, the moon and dew.
In the legendary city of Ebla (ancient Syria) as early as the third millennium BC incantations were made to Ishkara, the Lady of the Scorpion and goddess of fertility: "The queen, star of the evening that rises shining… appearing high in the sky and the lands of different nations raise their face towards her, man is consoled, women rejoice, the ox in his yoke turns his head homeward bound, sheep and goats gather ... countless donkeys and Shakan goats, desert animals, meadows and orchards, green forests of reeds, fish of the deep sea, birds of the sky ... All living beings and countless peoples kneel in front of her."
The ancient Egyptians worshiped Isis. We read in the 'Book of the Dead': "Great Lady, giver of life ... the divine, the only, Lady of the New Age, that maketh the sun ... Queen of the earth, the most powerful, Lady of warmth and of fire ... Lady of life, crops, bread, abundance, joy and serenity."
In ancient India joyous chanting echoed in Gangashtakam, goddess of the Ganges: "The trunks of elephants and their little ones play in your waters, fragrant with swarms of wild bees, dripping from the forehead of soaking wet elephants. Your currents, brown with sandalwood, drip from the breasts of Siddha women bathing there. Your banks are covered with sacred grass and flowers, may the waters of the Ganges protect us!"
The cult of nature played a key part in the religious mysteries of Greece, and Physis to whom Orphic Hymns are sung: "O Nature, mother goddess of all, mother by many measures, celeste, august, teacher, lady, victorious, invincible, ruler, shining, incorruptible, primitive, ancient, glorious night, indefatigable lover of life... a consummate force of nature, crowned, beloved, rich, expert, guide, judge, life-giver, nurturer of all ... O goddess, I beseech you, therefore, in time to bring peace and health, happiness and growth of all things."
Apollonius of Rhodes, testifies that the Greeks celebrated rites and offerings at the altars of Cybele, the ancient Anatolian deity and giver of fertility, also worshiped as the goddess of the mountains and nature. Her protector was Attis, the god of vegetation, in whose spring festival his death came with the first plant, greeted later with joy at his rebirth. Practiced in Lydia, the cult spread in the fifth century. B.C. where the goddess Demeter was connected to and identified with Rhea. If Cybele so wished, "clear signs would appear: the trees gave infinite fruit, the earth itself, would bring forth flowers in the soft grass under their feet and early flowers; beasts would abandon their lairs in the forest to meet each other wagging their tails."
Beautiful are the verses with which Callimachus, in the third century BC, praises the goddess of the fields: "Hail Demètra, great nurturer, rich with crops! May we be greeted by such a white spring, a white summer, a white winter and autumn as the great goddess queen, year by year showers her gifts on us ... And may we always rejoice like virgins carrying baskets filled with gold, gold in abundance... Hail, Demètra: defend our amity, keep this city peaceful; bring forth our yearly fields of crops, make fertile our flocks, fruits, the ears and the crops; and nurture harmony, so that those who have sown, may reap."
The goddess in the Roman world to inherit the legacy of Demètra, was Ceres with her country origins. She was fervently worshipped and was portrayed crowned with ears of corn and a bunch of flowers and ears of corn in her hand. She was celebrated with the feasts of Paganalia and Sementivae, from April 12 to 19, known as the Cerealia; in late May, the Ambarvali, and a series of rituals to encourage fertility of the fields. His temple near the Circus Maximus was erected by the dictator Aulio Postumio during the famine of 495 BC.
It is surprising that these legends of so many different origins, are yet so similar. The only possible explanation is that myths provide a psychological reality, perceived by our ancestors of these populations in the form of a divine being. A woman.