Skip to main content

Virgin Mother Deities: The Queen of Heaven

Jeremiah 7:18

The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.



In Catholicism, the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, is often venerated as the 'Queen of Heaven'. This title is not explicitly mentioned in the scriptures, but has been adopted by them. The Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, which affirmed Mary as the ‘Theotokos’ or 'God-bearer', played a significant role in establishing her queenship. Their view of Mary's role as the mother of Jesus, the King of Heaven, and her perpetual virginity, contribute to her status as the 'Queen of Heaven'.


Mary's queenship is depicted in Catholic art and liturgy, often showing her crowned and holding the child Jesus. They have assumed her an intercessory role, serving as a mediator between humanity and the divine, is a key aspect of her queenship. The Feast of the Queenship of Mary, celebrated on August 22, is a testament to the enduring significance of Mary's queenship in Catholic tradition.


The concept of the virgin mother is a fundamental part of Christianity, embodied in the figure of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This idea, however, is not exclusive, but is a recurring theme in various religious traditions throughout history. One of the main biblical arguments against the Perpetual Virginity of Mary is the reference to Jesus' 'brothers' and 'sisters' in several New Testament passages (Matthew 13:55-56, Mark 6:3, Acts 1:14, 1 Corinthians 9:5, Galatians 1:19).


Another argument against the Perpetual Virginity of Mary is the interpretation of Matthew 1:25, where it is written that Joseph "did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son". Using 'till' implies that Joseph and Mary had marital relations after Jesus' birth. It would be highly irregular (and is not mentioned) that her husband did not consummate their marriage and have relations with his wife all the days of his life, unless they were estranged.


Virgin mother deities have been present in religious traditions predating Christianity. In ancient Egypt, they revered the goddess Isis as the mother of Horus, whom she conceived posthumously from her slain husband Osiris. Although not a virgin birth in the Christian sense, Isis's conception of Horus involved divine intervention and miraculous circumstances, exhibiting parallels to Mary's narrative, often referred to as the 'Queen of Heaven'. Isis was associated with motherhood, magic, and resurrection.


In the Greco-Roman pantheon, virgin goddesses like Athena and Artemis were highly esteemed. However, their virginity was associated more with their independence and autonomy rather than motherhood. The exception to this was the birth of Perseus, where Zeus impregnated Danaë through a shower of gold, a narrative bearing some similarity to the Annunciation in Catholic tradition.


In Hindu mythology, they worship the goddess Kanya Kumari as the virgin deity. In one legend, she was to marry Lord Shiva, but when he failed to show up at the wedding, she remained an eternal virgin. Several goddesses are venerated as 'Queen of Heaven', including Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and Parvati, the goddess of love and devotion.


In Buddhist tradition, Maya, the mother of Buddha, dreamt of a white elephant entering her side, after which she found herself pregnant. This supernatural conception, like the Christian Annunciation, underscores the divine nature of Buddha. Maya does not play a significant role in the religion beyond her function as the Buddha's mother.


The notion of a 'Queen of Heaven' is not exclusive to Christianity and can be traced back to pre-Christian traditions. In ancient Mesopotamian religions, the goddess Inanna (later known as Ishtar) was revered as the 'Queen of Heaven'. She was associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice, and political power. Inanna's myths, such as her descent into the underworld and her sacred marriage ritual, highlight her role as a powerful and complex divine feminine figure.


The Greco-Roman tradition also featured 'Queen of Heaven' figures. Hera, the wife of Zeus, was the queen of the gods and the goddess of women, marriage, family, and childbirth. Despite Hera's often volatile nature in myth, her queenship was an integral part of her identity. In the Roman tradition, Juno, the equivalent of Hera, also held the title of 'Queen of Heaven'.


Catholics often pray to Mary for intercession and venerate idols of her. This is an un-biblical practice: a key biblical verse often cited to discourage prayer to Mary is 1 Timothy 2:5, states, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus." This verse clearly establishes Jesus as the sole mediator and prayers should be directed to Him alone.


The practice of praying to Mary is also challenged based on Jesus' teaching on prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, where He instructs His disciples to pray directly to "Our Father in heaven". This instruction implies that prayer should be directed to God alone.


We must remember the incident recorded in Luke 11:27-28, where a woman in the crowd exclaims, "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed!" Jesus responds, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" Jesus' response discourages special veneration of Mary, emphasising instead the importance of hearing and obeying God's word.