Before I start rooting through notes, books, and reference works, there is a general movement in believing that during the palaeolithic period at least, societies in Euro-Asia tended towards matriarchal systems - the Divine was considered female, and rulership was conveyed through the female line. However, at some point in the neolithic world, male-orientated divinity began to take an equal footing, eventually supplanting the original matriarchal system of things by the dispersal and acceptance of both Christian and Islamic systems of thinking, where woman was at least theoretically reduced to a mere bond servant and property (though actually a mere extension of prevailing beliefs at their formation). "The Ancient City" by Numa Denis Fustel De Coulanges is an excellent work that seems focussed upon the development of the gods of hearth (known as the manes or lares in the Roman world) and how they dominated the early Roman, Greek, and even Hindu societies, apparently from an earlier Indo-European belief source. What the book does not state, but potentially infers, is that the male gods of polytheistic traditions were possibly actually embodiments of tribal chiefs and elders, who somehow became worshipped by an entire social group, rather than simply one family. Of course, the distinction may blur, as the above books relates with the diversification of the Roman gens, and of course social groups would often have strong blood-ties among themselves. In fact, whole villages could have grown to worship one divine figure, amalgamated from various ancestors worshipped and increasingly imbued with supernatural and symbolic properties. As different embryonic societies expanded, even small-scale, it appears that they may have enforced their own ancestor worship upon conquered peoples, thus disseminating what was once a worship of the hearth into ever increasingly anthropomorphised and symbolically imbued male figure. The assimilation of other social groups (ie, the Tarquins and Etruscans by the Romans) no doubt led to the expansion of single figure religious pantheons into ever evolving polytheistic hierarchies - with the original hearth figure taking dominance over others (ie, Zeus of the Greeks and Jupiter Maximus of the Romans). In which case where would the female deities have come in? As females were not worshipped at the family hearth in the Graeco-Roman and Hindu traditions, then it is quite possible that female divinities in polytheistic traditions are actually latent images, personified in evolving systems, of those original matriarchal figures (earth deities such as Cybele and Persephone especially come to mind). As a last open question and consideration, the figure of the snake also appears to have been intimately connected with at least some matriarchal worships. In the "Mayan Prophecies", which is, to coin a phrase: "a bag o’ wank", the only section of interest contains a reprinted local study that claims that ancient earth-goddess worship fixated upon a certain species of snake, whose notable geometric patterning was claimed to be the basis of the development of religious iconography in nearby Meso-American cultures. This contentious idea may be further considered in relation to the slaying of Python at Delphi by Apollo - a symbolic remnant describing the dominance of a young male cult over an older matriarchal one? This is also illuminating when considered with the story of Genesis, and considerations that the snake represented symbolically earlier Mesopotamian goddess worship that was being refuted and later eradicated by the evolving divinities centred upon the settlement of Shalem. Anyway … see if anyone wants to take of these general ideas further.