The Secret Life of Lady Liberty

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Authors Bob Hieronimus and Laura Cortner explain the forgotten lineage of the Statue of Liberty, including how she is based on a female symbol representing America on the earliest maps of the continent; a Native American “Queen.” They further reveal how Lady Liberty has become the conscience of our nation.

The Secret Life of Lady Liberty

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The goddess origins of the Statue of Liberty and her connections with the founding and the future of America

• Examines Lady Liberty’s ties to Native American spiritual traditions, the Earth Mother, Roman goddesses, Black Madonnas, and Mary Magdalene

• Reveals the sharp contrast between depicting “liberty” as a female and the reality of women and other suppressed classes even today

• Explains how this Goddess of the New World inspires all people toward equality, compassion, peace-keeping, and environmental stewardship

Uncovering the forgotten lineage of the Statue of Liberty, Bob Hieronimus and Laura Cortner explain how she is based on a female symbol representing America on the earliest maps of the continent in the form of a Native American “Queen.” The image of a woman symbolizing independence was embraced by the American revolutionaries to rally the populace against the King, filling the role of “Founding Mother” and protector of the fledgling republic. Incorporating Libertas, the Roman goddess of freed slaves, with Minerva, Demeter, Justice, and the Indian Princess, Lady Liberty is seen all over the nation’s capital, and on the seals and flags of many states.

Showing how a new appreciation for the Statue of Liberty as the American goddess can serve as a unifying inspiration for activism, the authors explore how this Lady Liberty is a personification of America and its destiny. They examine multiple traditions that influenced her symbolism, from the Neolithic Earth Mother, to Mary Magdalene, Columbia, and Joan of Arc, while revealing the sharp contrast between depicting “liberty” as a female and the reality of women and other suppressed classes throughout history. Their study of “Liberty Enlightening the World” led them to conclude that the empowerment of contemporary women is essential for achieving sustainable liberty for all.

Sounding the call for this “Goddess of the New World” to inspire us all toward peacekeeping, nurturing, compassion, and environmental stewardship, the authors explain how the Statue of Liberty serves as the conscience of our nation and is a symbol of both the myths that unite us and the diversity that strengthens us.

Additional Information

Release Date Aug 22, 2016
Edition No
ISBN 1594774935
Author Sort Order 438:1,2202:2
Author Laura E. Cortner, Robert Hieronimus, Ph.D.
Contributors List No
Illustrations Note 103 b&w illustrations
Excerpt 3

What the Statue of Liberty Learned from the Indian Princess

Thomas Paine wrote about the Goddess of Liberty in his 1775 poem “The Liberty Tree” in which he describes her coming down from the sky to plant the tree of liberty--a Native American concept. When the Colonial artists put their hands to it, the Indian Princess was seen everywhere, supported by the Liberty goddess and surrounded by many other supplemental goddesses representing wisdom, abundance, and victory. The lines between them began to blur as the Indian Princess started wearing Liberty’s clothes and carrying her implements. Once the nation was born, the Indian Princess/Liberty really exploded in popularity. The brand new U.S. government used a refined version of the Indian Princess as the symbol for themselves on all but one of the earliest Congressional medals.

For a short while in U.S. history, the brightest minds of the Revolutionary generation saw themselves as this Indian Princess. They were not ashamed to emulate the Native Americans and acknowledge how much they owed to them. From our modern perspective, it’s hard to appreciate the dominant influence the Indians had over the Colonists during this era. In the generations before the Revolution, the Indians controlled the balance of power between the French and the British. Indians controlled all the key routes for commerce and negotiation.

The discovery of a community of self-governing Indians in an uncorrupted natural environment was the spark needed to set the Age of Enlightenment in motion. Philosophers like Locke, Rousseau, and Voltaire started writing about “man in his natural state,” referring to the Native Americans and their realization of individual liberty. As Locke put it: “In the Beginning all the World was America.” Rousseau said, “The state reached by most of the savage nations known to us . . . [is] the state least subject to revolutions, the best state for man.”23 Europeans feared the Native Americans, but grew to admire them as well, and learning about them led the great European philosophers to challenge the age-old hierarchical control of the church and state, which eventually culminated in the American Revolution.

The most convincing evidence is to see these opinions in the words of the founders themselves. John Adams wrote in his Defence of the Constitutions in 1787 that the U.S. Constitution was their attempt to “set up a government of . . . modern Indians.” The Second Continental Congress invited 21 Iroquois sachems to observe the debates over independence in May and June of 1776. The Indians camped out in the room above Congress on the second floor. At the end of this observation period, they gave John Hancock, the president of the Congress, an Indian name, Karanduan, or the Great Tree, likening him to their own Great Law of Peace, the central hub around which all their law radiated.

The Great Law of Peace and the Council of the Clan Mothers

The Iroquois tell of a Peacemaker prophet who walked the lands many years ago trying to convince the warring nations to give up their blood feud ways and bury the hatchet under the Tree of Peace. Deganawidah is said to have spoken through Aionwatha, and with the help of the first Clan Mother Jikonsahseh, who convinced her people to listen to the prophetic words, they established the Great Law of Peace. The oral traditions recount this happened on a date in late summer on which an eclipse occurred, and Seneca Barbara Alice Mann collaborated with astronomer Jerry Fields at the University of Toledo to pinpoint the very year. Combining astronomical data with oral traditions Mann and Fields have confirmed the Iroquois Great Law of Peace was enacted in A.D. 1142. This means there has been a representational form of government keeping the peace over a wide expanse of the Americas for hundreds of years before Columbus was even born.

The role of the Clan Mothers is compared to that of the Supreme Court in the U.S. design. That is because the Clan Mothers made all the most important and final decisions in their society. The reason the Great Law of Peace system worked so well for the League of the Iroquois, and for so long, but has worked only partially well for the Euro-Americans and for only 200 some years, is because the Euro-Americans left out the women, the family and the concept of living in relationship with the Earth. The Iroquois system had a second tier under their confederation, which was ignored or not perceived as important to the framers of the Constitution. That second tier was the Clan system of families, and the Clan system was ruled by the women. Attention to spirituality and relationship were left out of government decision-making when the women of the American Revolution were not invited to inherit the powerful role the Iroquois reserved for their Clan Mothers. Perhaps the men of the Revolutionary generation believed they could handle only one revolution at a time.

The elevated status of women among the Iroquois was not unknown to the Revolutionary generation, however. Barbara Alice Mann points to the earliest Jesuit reports on contact with the Iroquois in the early 1700s, where they observed the women’s power: “Nothing is more real than the women’s superiority. It is they who really maintain the tribe, the nobility of blood, the genealogical tree, the order of generations and conservation of the families. In them resides all the real authority . . . they are the soul of the councils, the arbiters of peace and war; they hold the taxes and the public treasure; it is to them that the captives are entrusted; they arrange the marriages; the children are under their authority; and the order of succession is founded on their blood.”
Back Cover SPIRITUALITY / HISTORY

The Secret Life of Lady Liberty ranges through history, biology, mythology, and politics to investigate the meaning--and the power--of the Statue of Liberty; enjoyable to read, stimulating, and sometimes inspiring.”
--ELAINE PAGELS, Ph.D., professor of religion at Princeton University and author of The Gnostic Gospels

“This book is an eye opener! Much of our history has been edited out of what we’ve been taught, giving us a distorted view not only of our past but of the possibilities for our future. By revealing how the power to give and nurture life symbolized by female figures inspired many of our democratic ideals, this wonderful book enlightens and empowers us at this critical time when we urgently need new ways of thinking about our world.”
--RIANE EISLER, author of The Chalice and the Blade

Uncovering the forgotten lineage of the Statue of Liberty, Bob Hieronimus and Laura Cortner explain how she is based on a female symbol representing America on the earliest maps ofthe continent in the form of a Native American “Queen.” The image of a woman symbolizing independence was embraced by the American revolutionaries to rally the populace against the king, filling the role of “Founding Mother” and protector of the fledgling republic. Incorporating Libertas, the Roman goddess of freed slaves, with Minerva, Demeter, Justice, and the Indian Princess, Lady Liberty is seen all over the nation’s capital and on the seals and flags of many states.

Showing how a new appreciation for the Statue of Liberty as the American goddess can serve as a unifying inspiration for activism, the authors explore how this Lady Liberty is a personification of America and its destiny. They examine multiple traditions that influenced her symbolism, from the Neolithic Earth Mother, to Mary Magdalene, Columbia, and Joan of Arc, while revealing the sharp contrast between depicting “liberty” as a female and the reality of women and other suppressed classes throughout history. Their study of “Liberty Enlightening the World” led them to conclude that the empowerment of contemporary women is essential for achieving sustainable liberty for all.

Sounding the call for this “Goddess of the New World” to inspire us all toward peacekeeping, nurturing, compassion, and environmental stewardship, the authors explain how the Statue of Liberty serves as the conscience of our nation and is a symbol of both the myths that unite us and the diversity that strengthens us.

ROBERT R. HIERONIMUS, Ph.D., is an internationally known historian, visual artist, and radio host and has appeared on History, Discovery, BBC, and National Geographic. The host of 21st Century Radio, he lives in Maryland. LAURA E. CORTNER has coauthored previous titles with Robert Hieronimus, including Founding Fathers, Secret Societies and The United Symbolism of America. Her work appears regularly in periodicals like UFO Magazine, FATE magazine, and several Beatles publications. She is the director of the Ruscombe Mansion Community Health Center and lives in Maryland.

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