Clue based guessing
If God is a woman then history is Her story, and the pun may be intended. Apart from the avatars in the Bible, God may have played other roles in history, and several women in the records of history may have been Her. She may have played insignificant people too, but of these people are no records, so it may be impossible to uncover them. Only, how can we know who these avatars were? At first glance, that seems impossible.
If I was destined to find out the truth, then my guesses may be better than yours, but I do not claim that they are accurate. In the case of overlap in lifespans, then at least one of them may not have been an avatar of God, or God may have taken over the avatar at some point during her life. Sometimes, coincidences suggested that I could be on the right path. So, for what it is worth, here are the names.
The Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti (1370-1330 BC) invented monotheism. They worshipped a single god, which was a sun disk named Aten. They broke with tradition and tried to end the worship of other gods. For that reason, Nefertiti may have been an avatar of God. Their new religion did not last. After their reign, traditional beliefs returned.
Cyrus the Great was one of the first multicultural rulers. He respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered. Jews consider him a Messiah because he allowed the Jews to return to Israel and financed the building of the Second Temple.
The fate of a Messiah is often to be married to God. And so, his wife Cassandane (567-537 BC) may have been an avatar of God. Cyrus and Cassandane loved each other very much. When She died, all the nations of Cyrus’ empire observed great mourning.
Cyrus the Great is a prominent figure in history. Iranians still regard him as The Father. A woman sealed his fate, which may be consistent with being a messiah. He was killed by the army of Queen Tomyris when he tried to invade her kingdom.
Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great
Olympias (376-316 BC) was the mother of Alexander the Great. Alexander’s lasting legacy is the spread of Greek culture in the Mediterranean. Olympias, who was married to King Philip II, insisted that Alexander was the son of Zeus, which an oracle allegedly confirmed to Alexander.
According to the Greek historian Plutarch, Olympias dreamt that a thunderbolt struck Her womb on the eve of her marriage to Philip. Philip was said to have seen himself in a dream sealing up his wife’s womb with a seal. Plutarch offered several interpretations of these dreams, for example, that Alexander’s father was Zeus.
The title Son of Zeus is like Son of God. If you follow this line of thinking, you could reason like so. Alexander was Olympias’ son. And because Zeus does not exist, Alexander may not have had a father. And so, Olympias could have been God.
Alexander the Great is a messiah in Judaism. The Christians in the Near East turned him into a saint. They combined legends about Alexander with Biblical tales about Gog and Magog. The Quran mentions Alexander as a prophet. A boy named Alexander de Grote (Alexander the Great) was in my class at primary school, a remarkable coincidence.
Queen Dowager Zhao
Chinese emperors supposedly receive a mandate from heaven. Queen Dowager Zhao (280-228 BC) was the mother of the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shi Huang. As he was the first to receive the mandate, his mother could have been God. The analogy is that Jesus was the Son of God who received a mandate from heaven.
Qin Shi Huang unified China and introduced reforms like a central administration, standardised script, standardised the Chinese units of measurement for weights and measures, the currency, and the length of the axles of carts. In Europe, this happened 2,000 later under the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. He also started projects like canals and a national road system.
Queen Dowager Zhao was a daughter of a prominent family. She was a concubine of the merchant Lü Buwei, who gave her to his protegé, Prince Yiren of Qin. Thanks to Lü’s intervention, Prince Yiren became the King of the Kingdom of Qin. He was later named King Zhuangxiang. His son succeeded him and became named Qin Shi Huang.
When he was about nine years old, my son sometimes called himself the Emperor of China. He often ordered his parents. We were making a joke out of it and called him the king. My son, however, insisted that he was the Emperor of China. ‘The Emperor of China demands cheese,’ he then added jokingly.
Cleopatra (69-30 BC) was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. She presented herself as a reincarnation of the Egyptian goddess Isis. Egyptian Pharaohs were seen as deputies of the gods but Cleopatra claimed to be a goddess herself. Cleopatra was a great beauty with great wit, charm and a sweet voice. She made Julius Caesar abandon his plans to annex Egypt and back her claim to the throne. Julius Caesar had the same initials as Jesus Christ.
Empress Theodora (500-548) was one of the most powerful and influential women in Roman history. An official of her time claimed that she was superior in intelligence to any man. Her husband, Emperor Justinian, recognised this as well. He allowed her to share his throne and take part in decision-making.
As a young woman, Theodora earned her living as an actress. The job of an actress often meant prostitution. She gave up her former lifestyle to settle as a wool spinner near the palace in Constantinople. Her beauty, wit and amusing character drew attention from Justinian. Justinian married Theodora when she already had a daughter.
During the Nika Riots in Constantinople, rioters set public buildings on fire and proclaimed a new Emperor. Justinian and his officials prepared to flee, but Theodora spoke out against this plan. Her speech convinced them to stay. Justinian ordered his loyal troops to subdue the revolt.
After the revolt, Justinian and Theodora ordered the rebuilding of Constantinople, making it the most splendid city in the world. The works included aqueducts, bridges and churches. The Hagia Sophia was one of these churches, and it became one of the architectural wonders of the world. Theodora participated in Justinian’s legal and spiritual reforms. She was also involved with women’s rights.
Empress Wu Zetian
Empress Wu Zetian (624-705) was the only female ruler in the history of China. She was the power behind the throne for a long time. After that, she ruled officially as regent and in the end as empress. She started off as a low-ranking concubine Wu was a strong, charismatic, and well-educated woman who captured the emperor’s interest.
The emperor suffered from an incapacitating illness. He let empress Wu make rulings on official petitions. She turned out to be apt at making correct rulings. From then on, Wu became the undisputed power behind the throne. After the emperor died, she took the throne from the legitimate heir, her son Zhongzong, and became the sole ruler of China.
Under Wu’s competent political and military leadership, China became one of the most powerful nations. She offered state support for Taoism, Buddhism, education, and literature. Her power was contested at first, and the early years of her reign saw secret police terror. Wu selected capable men to serve as officials. She was overthrown in 705 during a coup that returned the throne to Zhongzong. She died the same year.
Maria, daughter of Harald III of Norway
Harald Sigurdsson was King of Norway from 1046 until 1066. As a young man, he had to flee Norway. He and his men went to Russia, where they served in the army of Yaroslav I the Wise. Later they became mercenaries in the Byzantine army. There Harald was imprisoned because of palace intrigue, but he managed to escape. The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway Saga of Harald Hardrade mentions:
There was a young and beautiful girl called Maria, a brother’s daughter of the empress Zoe, and Harald had paid his addresses to her, but the empress had given him a refusal.
Based on the saga, Michael Ennis wrote a novel named Byzantium in which he speculated about a passionate love affair between Maria and Harald. They tried to escape Constantinople together, but a Russian fleet attacked the city. Maria died in the battle, but Harald managed to escape. In 1046, he returned to Norway and became king. My interest in the Byzantine Empire made me read the novel in 2005.
Harald died when invading England in 1066, an event that is part of a coincidence scheme related to D-Day mentioned in The Virtual Universe. His daughter Maria died on the same day in Norway, a peculiar coincidence. In his book, Ennis speculates that Maria was the reincarnation of Harald’s former lover Maria who wanted to be with him. Therefore, she dropped dead when he died. Ordinary people cannot reincarnate into whom their want and cannot drop dead at the time of their choosing. And so, Maria could have been God. The Finnish band Turisas dedicated a song named The Great Escape to Harald.
Hildegard von Bingen
Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was a nun who lived in the 12th century. She was an author, counsellor, linguist, scientist, philosopher, physician, herbalist, poet, visionary and composer. She corresponded with popes, statesmen and emperors, and she travelled a lot during her preaching tours. Abbots and abbesses asked her for prayers and opinions on various matters.
Hildegard von Bingen claimed to have visions. She said she had unusual perceptions at the age of three. By the age of five, she realised that these were visions. Von Bingen claimed she saw all things in the light of God through the senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. She spoke out against church practises such as simony.
Von Bingen wrote that woman may be made from man, but no man can be made without a woman, thereby implicitly questioning the biblical creation story in which Eve came from the rib of Adam. She promoted chastity. She was also the first known person to describe a female orgasm.
When a woman is making love with a man, a sense of heat in her brain, which brings with it sensual delight, communicates the taste of that delight during the act and summons forth the emission of the man’s seed. And when the seed has fallen into its place, that vehement heat descending from her brain draws the seed to itself and holds it, and soon the woman’s sexual organs contract, and all the parts that are ready to open up during the time of menstruation now close, in the same way as a strong man can hold something enclosed in his fist.
It is remarkable that a nun describes a female orgasm when having sex with a man. It suggests first-hand knowledge that she could not have had during her lifetime. And according to Von Bingen, Adam had a pure voice and joined the angels in singing praises to God before the Fall. There is no record of that. Von Bingen either made it up or was present when it happened. Around the same time she lived, an anonymous monk in the Netherlands wrote down the oldest known written sentence in the Dutch language:
hebban olla uogala nestas hagunnan hinase hic anda thu uuat unbidan uue nu.
The English translation is, ‘Have all birds started nests except me and you. Do we start now?’ A teacher at primary school told me about this text. The lines remained in my mind, and I later imagined a Gregorian chant based on these words when Sadeness from Enigma was a popular song. These lines intrigued me for no apparent reason. The monk may have had a vision of Hildegard von Bingen.
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc (1412-1431) was an uneducated peasant girl from an obscure village in Northern France. In 1429, large parts of France were under foreign control. After years of humiliating defeats, the leadership of France was demoralised and discredited. But then Joan of Arc led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years’ War against England and its ally Burgundy.
She claimed to have divine guidance. Recent scholars explained her visions as a disease, but documents from her own time indicate that she was healthy and sane. The Burgundians captured her and burned her at the stake when she was nineteen. Her intervention changed the course of the war. In the decades that followed, France came out victorious.
Latest revision: 7 April 2022
Featured image: Roman sculpture of Cleopatra wearing a royal diadem. Altes Museum in Germany. Wikipedia. Public Domain.