By Rosario Gómez
Extract of several articles published in various blogs, whose objective is to provide reference sources on the subject and a brief introduction to my ephemeral art work entitled Hierodule, an abstraction on the theme made at the door of a Christian Church.
In Greece, in classical antiquity, there were prostitutes, people knew hospital prostitution, granting women to the passing guest, who had mystical reasons and sacred prostitution, destined to liberate the mysterious powers of fertilization for the benefit of the community. Herodotus, informs that in the s. Goes. Every woman in Babylon had to give herself for once in her life to a foreign man in the temple of Militta for the price of a coin she gave to the temple treasury, after which she returned home to live chastity. Luciano in the second century, BC, also describes the same rite, but this time in the city of Byblos in Lebanon, in a temple of Astarte.
Descriptions of sexual activities are common in the glyphs and reliefs of the early dynastic period, with eminently simple positions, during the Akkadian dynastic period we have these scenes take place in a bed with legs in the form of lion legs, with several other figures as witnesses in a kind of banquet, so it follows that it should be not a private act but the sacred marriage (sacred hierogamia). At the beginning of the second millennium there are plates of terracotta cooked that represent scenes of sexual activities and others that represent feminine and masculine genital organs that must be amulets.
During the Assyrian period the sexual act is represented, with the woman always reclining on an altar, on the reliefs and platelets, these figures must represent not the sacred hierogamy but another form of sexual adoration, probably what has been called sacred prostitution. Many of these platelets and figurines have been found in the Temple of Assur, a clear indication of the sacred nature of the sexual act they represent. As for the compassionate nature of the ritual, the prostitutes are also called "the compassionate", having mercy on ... "the whole human race", according to what Mary Magdalene once said the prostitute of the Gospels. The meaning of that "compassion" is defined as passion sharing emotion, emotion that seems to be as old as humanity itself.
Being perhaps derived from the figure of Mother Goddess, at the same time generating and nourishing, that is to say that it deals with the physical well-being of man and of a more subtle well-being, psychic well-being. Religious prostitution has continued to this day between the Almeas of Egypt and the Bayes of India, which are respected castes of dancers and musicians, but gradually, both in Egypt and India, as in Western Asia, sacred prostitution It slowly transformed into legal prostitution, because the priestly class found in this trade a way to enrich itself. Among the Hebrews there were young venal prostitutes hospitable to foreigners, the money was used for worship and priests and indirectly for their maintenance.
The dicterions near the temple of Venus were created in Athens with Asian women, they were recognized as necessary as if they were inviolable places of asylum. The courtesans however, are branded as infamy, had no social rights and their children had no obligation to feed them, they had to wear a special dress of variegated fabrics, ornamented with bouquets and dyed their hair with saffron. In addition to women locked in dicterions, there were also free courtesans who can be grouped into three categories:
• Dictionaries: Analogous to women with today's primer. They were among the liberated or the Greek daughters of the lower classes and exploited by the pimps, they led a miserable existence.
• Auletrides: dancers and flute players. They came to be enriched often thanks to their musical talents, the most famous was Lamia, Ptolemy's lover in Egypt and after his victor, the Macedonian king Demetrio Porciolete.
• Hetairas: Semimundanas that came generally from Corinth, that had official connections with the most outstanding men of Greece and played the social role of modern world women. It is known that many were united to the glory of their lovers. As they freely disposed of themselves and their fortune and were intelligent, educated and artists, they were considered as persons by men who were delighted with their treatment. Just as they escaped from their family and placed themselves outside of society, they also escaped from man, they could then present themselves as their equals and equals. In Aspasia, in Friné and in Lais, the superiority of the liberated woman over the honest mother of the family was affirmed.
They say that Aphrodite, goddess of love, born of the foam that rose from the sea when the hulking limb of Uranus was neatly amputated by Cronus, had in Corinth the most extraordinary temple of which news is known.
There lived the Hieródulas, the Sacred Servants of Love, whose number, invariable, amounted to a thousand beautiful women. All of them practiced the so-called religious prostitution or ritual prostitution.
When Christianity reviewed the past, he discovered that the temples of Aphrodite in Corinth and Erice could be seductive to sinful souls, so they adorned their revisionism with severe accusations of prostitution and other scandalous operations. However, the true history of the Hieroglyphics persisted in a few classical historians, who recounted with amazement the army of beauties of Aphrodite, those thousand earthly, extravagant and unofficial deities, whose main task was to expand the kingdom of the Goddess in the rough Heart of men.
Among these women was Eugea, described by Pausanias as the most beautiful and charming of the servants of Aphrodite in Corinth. His grace and technique were so extraordinary that the richest men in Greece and the Near East approached the temple only to die in his arms.
According to the interpretation of Richard Withmond, in his book "The Return of the Goddess", they obeyed only the ecstatic forces of their nature and offered their purifying power to the supplicants.
Regarding the Hierodulas, sacred prostitutes, it is known that the influence of the Sumerians on them was much more prominent than that of Egypt and spread throughout Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. The temple of Jeová had its hieroglyphs, the gedesots, although it was an unimportant practice among the Hebrews, before the return from Egypt, they had the quedeshas (they could be compared with the hierodulas of the upper class). They had a holiness aspect and in the temples where the fecundity was implored to God, they gave themselves to one or several men.
According to Deena Metzger, Los Angeles psychotherapist, poet and writer, in some Native American tribes, there is a woman who is trained in the art of sexuality to initiate the boys during puberty in the secrets of the female body, the woman of fire. There is also a man of fire and they are revered as masters of the sacred. This sacred native sexuality is called Quodoushka. The woman of fire had a precursor in the ancient world, the Quedishtu or Hierodule, which facilitated access to the sacred before patriarchy became the sphere of power. Historically, all women fulfilled this function in the temple, sometimes for periods as long as one year.
In Sumer, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, there existed the temples of the sacred prostitutes, the sexuality there was sacred. The original prostitute was a priestess, the warriors and soldiers after the battle came to her, the uncontaminated one. It is associated with several goddesses, Hathor, Anath, Astarte, Asherah. According to Patricia Monaghan, in the book The goddesses and heroinesAstarte literally meant that of the uterus. The essential attribute of sexuality in this context was prayer, but it is not surprising that, from the beginning, the first patriarchs, the priests of Judea and Israel, the prophets of Jeová, all of them condemned the sacred prostitutes and the cult to the goddesses because they contradicted the hegemony that the priesthood required.
Brito Stelling, María Isabel. The Sacred Prostitution in the Babylonian culture and the survival of this practice in Corinth, through Canaan and Cyprus.
Lord Aelfwine. Hierodulas, the servants of love: http://elespejogotico.blogspot.com.es/2012/02/hierodulas-las-siervas-del-amor.html
Withmond, Richard. The return of the goddess