Originally Posted by Magdlyn
There is a legend that Mary "Virgin" was sent to live at the Temple when she was 12. Then she just happened to get pregnant by a spirit.
I'm sorry, I misremembered the story. A popular apocryphal story, The Protoevangelium of James, probably written in 145CE, states that Mary was dedicated to the Temple when she was weaned at 3 years old. She lived there as a "dove," (common goddess holiness symbol). When she reached puberty, widowers of the country were commanded to bring their "rods" to the Temple to see who would earn her as a wife. A "dove" flew out of Joseph's rod.
Doves as a goddess symbol were used as early as the Minoan period, 16th century BCE.
At the time of the writing of the New Testament, doves were a symbol of the fertility goddess Aphrodite/Venus... Greek culture was pervasive in Judea.
To the Ancient Greeks, the dove was perceived as Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, and thus also invested with erotic connotations. As an attribute of the fertility goddess, the dove became a symbol of love between human beings, and between the deity and the worshipers.
Protoevangelium of James