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matriarchy v patriarchy

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Goddess and the Fall books


1/ Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? – 1 Jun 2005
by Earl Doherty (Author)

2/ Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All – 1 Oct
2010
by David Fitzgerald (Author)

3/ The Great Mother: An Analysis of the Archetype (Princeton Classics) – 4
May 2015 by Erich Neumann (Author)

4/ The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects – 11 Feb 1988
by Barbara G. Walker (Author)

5/ Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets – 1 Aug 1996
by Barbara G. Walker (Author)

6/ The Crone – 1 Feb 1991
by Barbara G. Walker (Author)

7/ Man Made God: A Collection of Essays – 15 Apr 2010
by Barbara G. Walker (Author),? D. M. Murdock (Foreword),

8/ The Chalice and the Blade – 1 Oct 1998
by Riane Eisler (Author)

9/ The Serpent and the Goddess: Women, Religion and Power in Celtic Ireland –
17 Jan 1991 by Mary Condren (Author)

10/ Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled – 1 Sep 2004
by Acharya S (Author)

11/ Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection – 28 Feb 2009
by D. M. Murdock (Author),? Acharya S (Author)

12/ Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold – 1 Sep 1999
by Acharya S (Author)

13/ Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of the Christ – 15 Oct 2007
by D. M. Murdock (Author)

14/ When God Was a Woman (Harvest/HBJ Book) – 4 May 1978
by Merlin Stone (Author)

15/ The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering The Religion Of The Earth – 7 Nov
1991 by Monica Sjoo (Author),? Barbara Mor (Author)

16/ The Language of the Goddess: Unearthing the Hidden Symbols of Western
Civilization – 26 Feb 2001 by Marija Gimbutas (Author),? Joseph Campbell
(Author)

17/ The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: Myths and Cult Images: 6500-3500 BC
Myths and Cult Images – 8 Mar 1982 by Marija Gimbutas (Author)

18/ The Fall: The Insanity of the Ego in Human History and the Dawning of a
New Era – 13 Oct 2005 by Steve Taylor (Author)

19/ Saharasia: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare
and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World – 20 May 2011
by James DeMeo (Author)
 

20/ Memories and Visions of Paradise: Exploring the Universal Myth of a Lost
Golden Age – 1 Apr 1989 by Richard Heinberg (Author)

21/ The Dark Side of Christian History – 1 Jul 1995
by Helen Ellerbe (Author)
 

 


Notes and Quotes


20/ Memories and Visions of Paradise: Exploring the Universal Myth of a Lost
Golden Age – 1 Apr 1989 by Richard Heinberg (Author)
One of particular appeal is a quotation from Ovid written around 8AD which
laments humanity's loss of its original Golden condition: "..... And the
land, hitherto a common possession like the light of the sun and the breezes,
the careful surveyor now marked out with long-drawn boundary lines. Not only
were corn and needful foods demanded of the rich soil, but men bored into the
bowels of the earth, and the wealth she had hidden and covered with Stygian
darkness was dug up, an incentive to evil. And now noxious iron and gold more
noxious still were produced: and these produced war - for wars are fought
with both - and rattling weapons were hurled by bloodstained hands."
 

 


 

A matriarchal religion is a religion that focuses on a goddess or goddesses.[1] The term is most often used to refer to theories of prehistoric matriarchal religions that were proposed by scholars such as Johann Jakob Bachofen, Jane Ellen Harrison, and Marija Gimbutas, and later popularized by second-wave feminism. In the 20th century, a movement to revive these practices resulted in the Goddess movement.
The concept of a prehistoric matriarchy was introduced in 1861 when Johann Jakob Bachofen published Mother Right: An Investigation of the Religious and Juridical Character of Matriarchy in the Ancient World. He postulated that the historical patriarchates were a comparatively recent development, having replaced an earlier state of primeval matriarchy, and postulated a "chthonic-maternal" prehistoric religion.

Additionally, anthropologist Marija Gimbutas introduced the field of feminist archaeology in the 1970s. Her books The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (1974), The Language of the Goddess (1989), and The Civilization of the Goddess (1991) became standard works for the theory that a patriarchic or "androcratic" culture originated in the Bronze Age, replacing a Neolithic Goddess-centered worldview.[7

Most modern anthropologists reject the idea of a prehistoric matriarchy, but recognize matrilineal and matrifocal groups throughout human history.[9]
 

Criticism

Debate continues on whether ancient matriarchal religion historically existed.[11] American scholar Camille Paglia has argued that "Not a shred of evidence supports the existence of matriarchy anywhere in the world at any time," and further that "The moral ambivalence of the great mother Goddesses has been conveniently forgotten by those American feminists who have resurrected them."[12] In her book The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory (2000), scholar Cynthia Eller discusses the origins of the idea of matriarchal prehistory, evidence for and against its historical accuracy, and whether the idea is good for modern feminism.[13]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matriarchal_religion

The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why An Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future is a book by Cynthia Eller that seeks to deconstruct the theory of a prehistoric matriarchy. This hypothesis, she says, developed in 19th century scholarship and was taken up by 1970s second-wave feminism following Marija Gimbutas. Eller, a professor of religious studies at Claremont Graduate University, argues in the book that this theory is mistaken and its continued defence is harmful to the feminist agenda.

Eller's book has been criticised for mischaracterising the theories of Gimbutas and other key anthropologists, labeling them as "matriarchalist" despite most of these scholars rejecting ideas of matriarchy (female rulership) in favour of matrifocal or matrilineal societies. In her critique of Eller's book, feminist historian Max Dashu wrote that Eller "makes no distinction between scholarly studies in a wide range of fields and expressions of the burgeoning Goddess movement, including novels, guided tours, market-driven enterprises. All are conflated all into one monolithic 'myth' devoid of any historical foundation."[2][3]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Matriarchal_Prehistory


Maxine Hammond (born 1950), known professionally as Max Dashu, is an American feminist historian, author and artist. Her areas of expertise include female iconography, mother-right cultures and the origins of patriarchy.

In 1970, Dashu founded the Suppressed Histories Archives to research and document women's history and to make the full spectrum of women's history and culture visible and accessible.[1][2] The collection includes 15,000 slides and 30,000 digital images.[3][4] Since the early 1970s, Dashu has delivered visual presentations on women's history throughout North America, Europe and Australia.[
Dashu's decades-long work has focused on women's history around the world, including Europe, Asia and Africa.[3] Areas of focus include women shamans and priestesses, witches and the witch trials, folk religion and pagan European traditions. Her work has cited evidence in support of egalitarian matrilineages, and she authored a critique of Cynthia Eller's The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory (2000). Her article Knocking Down Straw Dolls: A Critique of Cynthia Eller's The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory was reprinted in the journal Feminist Theology in 2005.[3][12][13] Dashu has also published in the 2011 anthology Goddesses in World Culture, edited by Patricia Monaghan.[14]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Dashu


The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State begins with an extensive discussion of Ancient Society which describes the major stages of human development as commonly understood in Engels' time. It is argued that the first domestic institution in human history was not the family but the matrilineal clan. Engels here follows Lewis H. Morgan's thesis as outlined in his major book, Ancient Society. Morgan was an American business lawyer who championed the land rights of Native Americans and became adopted as an honorary member of the Seneca Iroquois tribe. Traditionally, the Iroquois had lived in communal longhouses based on matrilineal descent and matrilocal residence, an arrangement giving women much solidarity and power. Writing shortly after Marx’s death, Engels stressed the theoretical significance of Morgan’s highlighting of the matrilineal clan:

The rediscovery of the original mother-right gens as the stage preliminary to the father-right gens of the civilized peoples has the same significance for the history of primitive society as Darwin’s theory of evolution has for biology, and Marx’s theory of surplus value for political economy.
—?Engels, Friedrich (1884). "Preface to the Fourth Edition". The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. New York: Pathfinder Press. pp. 27{{subst:ndash;}}38; the quotation is on p.36.

Primitive communism, according to both Morgan and Engels, was based in the matrilineal clan where women lived with their classificatory sisters – applying the principle that "my sister’s child is my child". Because they lived and worked together, women in these communal households felt strong bonds of solidarity with one another, enabling them when necessary to take action against uncooperative males.
Engels added political impact to all this, describing the "overthrow of mother right" as "the world-historic defeat of the female sex"; he attributed this defeat to the onset of farming and pastoralism. In reaction, most twentieth-century social anthropologists considered the theory of matrilineal priority untenable,[7][8] although during the 1970s and 1980s, a range of feminist scholars often attempted to revive it.[9] The Morgan-Engels argument that early human kinship was matrilineal is nowadays widely considered to have been discredited.[citation needed]

"In recent years, evolutionary biologists, geneticists and palaeoanthropologists have been reassessing the issues, many citing genetic and other evidence that early human kinship may have been matrilineal after all.[10][11][12][13] """

(For a critical survey of the current consensus, see Knight 2008, "Early Human Kinship Was Matrilineal".[14])
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Origin_of_the_Family,_Private_Property_and_the_State
 

Knight 2008, "Early Human Kinship Was Matrilineal".[14])
http://radicalanthropologygroup.org/sites/default/files/pdf/class_text_105.pdf



Monsanto’s Violence in India: The Sacred and The Profane
By Colin Todhunter
Global Research, September 30, 2017
Global Research 24 March 2017
https://www.globalresearch.ca/monsantos-violence-in-india-the-sacred-and-the-profane/5581536

According to Kermani, the Vedic deities have deep symbolism and many layers of existence. One such association is with ecology. Surya is associated with the sun, the source of heat and light that nourishes everyone; Indra is associated with rain, crops, and abundance; and Agni is the deity of fire and transformation and controls all changes. So much importance was given to trees, that there was also Vrikshayurveda – an ancient Sanskrit text on the science of plants and trees. It contains details about soil conservation, planting, sowing, treatment, propagating, how to deal with pests and diseases and a lot more.

On the other hand, Kermani notes that the Western religions, especially Christianity, viewed this nature worship as paganism, failing to recognise the scientific and spiritual basis of the relationship between man and nature and how this is the only way to sustain ecological balance.

****************************************
""""Christians were made to turn all their love and adoration for nature towards their one and only god, who was a jealous god. The elements of nature then became devoid of all divinity and were left to be conquered by man.""""

*********************************************

 


The Origins of Violence? Slavery, Extractivism and War

And the land, hitherto a common possession like the light of the sun and the breezes, the careful surveyor now marked out with long-drawn boundary lines. Not only were corn and needful foods demanded of the rich soil, but men bored into the bowels of the earth, and the wealth she had hidden and covered with Stygian darkness was dug up, an incentive to evil. And now noxious iron and gold more noxious still were produced: and these produced war – for wars are fought with both – and rattling weapons were hurled by bloodstained hands.

(Ovid, written around 8 AD which laments humanity’s loss of its original Golden condition [Ovid Metamorphoses, Book 1, The Iron Age]). 1

The privatisation of property, extractivism, the necessity for food-producing slaves and a warrior class to sustain and further extend the aims of the elites are all neatly summed up in this quote from Ovid. What is noticeable and notable is that over the millennia very little has changed in substance. We still have today wage slaves, standing armies, extractivism and industrialised agriculture that is oriented and controlled according to the aims and agendas of a warmongering elite. However, it seems that things were not always thus.

The coming of the Kurgan peoples across Europe from c. 4000 to 1000 BC is believed to have been a tumultuous and disastrous time for the peoples of Old Europe. The Old European culture is believed to have centred around a nature-based ideology that was gradually replaced by an anti-nature, patriarchal, warrior society. According to the archeologist and anthropologist, Marija Gimbutas:

Agricultural peoples’ beliefs concerning sterility and fertility, the fragility of life and the constant threat of destruction, and the periodic need to renew the generative processes of nature are among the most enduring. They live on in the present, as do very archaic aspects of the prehistoric Goddess, in spite of the continuous process of erosion in the historic era. Passed on  by the grandmothers and mothers of the European family, the ancient beliefs survived the superimposition of the Indo-European and finally the Christian myths. The Goddess-centred religion existed for a very long time, much longer than the Indo-European and the Christian (which represent a relatively short period of human history), leaving behind an indelible imprint on the Western psyche.2


The Goddess Timeline
A chronological record of archaeological images of women and goddesses on a uniform time scale from 30,000 BCE to the present.
Copyright © 2012 Constance Tippett

Gimbutas notes that it was at this time that a relatively homogeneous pre-Indo-European Neolithic culture in southeastern Europe was “invaded and destroyed by horse-riding pastoral nomads from the Pontic-Caspian steppe (the “Kurgan culture”) who brought with them violence, patriarchy, and Indo-European languages”. While this model has been disputed over the years recent research has broadened and deepened our understanding of these movements.

In 2015 an international team of researchers conducted a genetic study which backs the Kurgan hypothesis, that “a massive migration of herders from the Yamna culture of the North Pontic steppe (Russia, Ukraine and Moldavia) towards Europe which would have favoured the expansion of at least a few of these Indo-European languages throughout the continent.”

Another disputed aspect of the hypothesis is the ‘how’- whether “the indigenous cultures were peacefully amalgamated or violently displaced.”  However, the representations of weapons engraved in stone, stelae, or rocks appear after the Kurgan invasions as well as “the earliest known visual images of Indo-European warrior gods”.3  The beginning of slavery is also seen to be linked to these armed invasions.

According to Riane Eisler, archeological evidence “indicate that in some Kurgan camps the bulk of the female population was not Kurgan, but rather of the Neolithic Old European population. What this suggests is that the Kurgans massacred most of the local men and children but spared some of the women who they took for themselves as concubines, wives, or slaves.”3 Gimbutas believed that the pre-Kurgan society of Old Europe was a “gylanic [sexes were equal], peaceful, sedentary culture with highly developed agriculture and with great archtectural, sculptural, and ceramic traditions” which was then replaced by patriarchy; patrilineality; small scale agriculture and animal husbandry”, the domestication of the horse and the importance of armaments (bow and arrow, spear and dagger).4

Not so th’ Golden Age, who fed on fruit,
Nor durst with bloody meals their mouths pollute.
Then birds in airy space might safely move,
And tim’rous hares on heaths securely rove:
Nor needed fish the guileful hooks to fear,
For all was peaceful; and that peace sincere.
Whoever was the wretch, (and curs’d be he
That envy’d first our food’s simplicity!)
Th’ essay of bloody feasts on brutes began,
And after forg’d the sword to murder man.

— Ovid Metamorphoses Book 14

The idea of a fall, the end of a Golden Age is a common theme in many ancient cultures around the world. Richard Heinberg, in Memories and Visions of Paradise, examines various myths from around the world and finds common themes such as sacred trees, rivers and mountains, wise peoples who were moral and unselfish, and in harmony with nature and described heavenly and earthly paradises.

In another book, The Fall: The Insanity of the Ego in Human History and the Dawning of a New Era, Steve Taylor takes a psychological approach to the concept of the Fall examining what he calls the new human psyche and the Ego Explosion (which created a lack of empathy between human beings) and resulted in our alienation from nature while making us both self and globally destructive.

However, James DeMeo takes a more radical approach in his book, Saharasia: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence in the Deserts of the Old World. He believes that climatic changes caused drought, desertification and famine in North Africa, the Near East, and Central Asia (collectively Saharasia) and this trauma caused the development of patriarchal, authoritarian and violent characteristics.


God creates Man

“Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”(Gen 2:7)
Author unknown, Creation of Adam, Byzantine mosaic in Monreale, 12th century.

The arrival of violent, enslaving tribes and of a supreme male deity led to the eventual demise of the female deities through demotion or destruction of temples and statues.5 Over time, the many traditions of pre-patriarchal nature worship were destroyed (such as cutting down sacred trees) or eventually assimilated into the new patriarchal religions (see my Christmas article). Thus many of the nature-based ideas of matriarchal religion were turned on their head as the male deity creates man and Adam gives birth to Eve. According to Barbara Walker, in The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, “usurpation of the feminine power of birth-giving seems to have been the distinguishing mark of the earliest gods.” She lists the many ways the male deities ‘gave birth’; e.g., from the mouth (Prajapati), from the head or thigh (Zeus), from the penis (Atum), or from the stomach (Kun) in the section ‘Birth-Giving, Male’.


Adam ‘gives birth’ to Eve
“For man did not come from woman, but woman from man”(1 Corinthians 11:8)
From: Master Bertram, Grabow Altarpiece, 1379-1383

In Christianity the rulers had a religion that assured their objectives. The warring adventurism of the new rulers needed soldiers for their campaigns and slaves to produce their food and mine their metals for their armaments and wealth. Thus, Christ was portrayed as Martyr and Master. In his own crucifixion as Martyr he provided a brave example to the soldiers and as Master he would reward or punish the slaves according to how well they had behaved.


Christ as Martyr and Master
Jan van Eyck (before c. 1390 – 9 July 1441)
Crucifixion and Last Judgement
diptych, c. 1430–1440.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Christianity, according to Helen Ellerbe:

has distanced humanity from nature. As people came to perceive God as a singular supremacy detached from the physical world, they lost their reverence for nature. In Christian eyes, the physical world became the realm of the devil. A society that had once celebrated nature through seasonal festivals began to commemorate biblical events bearing no connection to the earth. Holidays lost much of their celebratory spirit and took on a tone of penance and sorrow. Time, once thought to be cyclical like the seasons, was now perceived to be linear. In their rejection of the cyclical nature of life, orthodox Christians came to focus more upon death than upon life.6


Pagan festivals chart: [From The Dark Side of Christian History, Helen Ellerbe]

Christian eschatology (study concerned with the ultimate destiny of the individual soul and the entire created order) and the idea of linear time took over from the people’s strong connection with nature and the ever-changing seasons. Although, in early medieval times, according to David Ewing Duncan in The Calendar, the peasants still lived and died “in a continuous cycle of days and years that to them had no discernible past or future.”7 Different seasonal festivals such as the solstice, the Nativity, Saturnalia, Yuletide, the Easter hare and Easter eggs etc. all had pre-Christian connections but old habits died hard and left the church no choice but to incorporate some aspects of them into their own traditions over time.

Feminism vs class

While some aspects of the culture of prehistory are still with us today, interpretation of the artifacts from archeological digs has always been open to controversy. For example, Cynthia Eller in her book The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why An Invented Past Will Not Give Women a
Future
believes that the theory of a prehistoric matriarchy (female rulership) was “developed in 19th century scholarship and was taken up by 1970s second-wave feminism following Marija Gimbutas.” However, the feminist historian Max Dashu notes that Eller “makes no distinction between scholarly studies in a wide range of fields and expressions of the burgeoning Goddess movement, including novels, guided tours, market-driven enterprises. All are conflated all into one monolithic ‘myth’ devoid of any historical foundation.”

The important point here is that ideas of matriarchal prehistory have been used in feminist theory to blame men for war and violence today (ignoring Thatcher and May). Sure, men have been dominant in the warring elites but many, many more men were caught up in the enslaved soldiers, miners and farmers classes. And as it was violence that was used to enslave them in the first place historically, then surely it would be no surprise if violence is used by them in the fight back against their slavery (class struggle).

The reappraisal of our ancient past and our relationship with nature has become an urgent necessity as climate chaos occupies more and more of our time and energy. It is not too late to learn from the myths of the Golden Age and Ovid’s ancient complaints to create a better future.

This let me further add, that Nature knows
No steadfast station, but, or ebbs, or flows:
Ever in motion; she destroys her old,
And casts new figures in another mould.

— Ovid, Metamorphoses Book 15

  1. From Memories and Visions of Paradise: Exploring the Universal Myth of a Lost Golden Age by Richard Heinberg (1989). []
  2. The Language of the Goddess: Unearthing the Hidden Symbols of Western Civilization, by Marija Gimbutas/Joseph Campbell (2001), p. xvii. []
  3. The Chalice and the Blade, Riane Eisler (1998) p 49. [] []
  4. The Language of the Goddess: Unearthing the Hidden Symbols of Western Civilization, by Marija Gimbutas/Joseph Campbell (2001), p. xx. []
  5. See: When God Was a Woman, Merlin Stone (1978)  pp. 66-67. []
  6. The Dark Side of Christian History, Helen Ellerbe (1995) p. 139. []
  7. The Calendar: The 5000-year Struggle to Align the Clock and the Heavens – and What Happened to the Missing Ten Days, David Ewing Duncan (2011) p. 137. []
Caoimhghin ” CroidheŠin is an Irish artist, lecturer and writer. His artwork consists of paintings based on contemporary geopolitical themes as well as Irish history and cityscapes of Dublin. His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country at http://gaelart.blogspot.ie/. Read other articles by Caoimhghin.

 

 

 


 


 

 


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