Prehistoric Goddess worship?

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by iBrian, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    first of all, i've had the wrong end of the stick. you meant the tamar from genesis, i was talking about the tamar who gets raped by amnon in 1 kings. sorry for the confusion.

    that's as may be, but it's a bit tenuous, considering that the symbology of the palm tree within judaism is not necessarily the same. i'd need more than the general theme of "love and birth" - that's not what the Torah account is concerned with. incidentally, a palm tree is "tomer" - "tamar" is a date, but it's still the same link. you might like to look at the story of deborah in judges.

    oh, graves, i getcha. however, she waits by a crossroads. i'd expect a *sacred* prostitute to be somewhere else, a temple or a grove (possibly a palm grove even). mind you, the word used for prostitute here is linked to the word used for "holy", so you could well be right.

    but why amorite particularly as opposed to anyone else? that's the bit i don't understand. and as far as scarlet threads are concerned, why not song of songs 4:3? the other scarlet thread that occurs to me is the one from the scapegoat ceremony. also, a different word for prostitute is used, which doesn't have the "sacred" connotations.

    yes, indeed - that's one of the sources for the link between the davidic messiah and the josephic messiah. both came out of controversial marriages - in fact the same is true of boaz-ruth and david-batsheva. so that might indeed be a reason to suggest that tamar had been a temple prostitute at some point. very interesting indeed. the tradition also suggests that one explanation of this episode is that in Torah time the obligation of levirate marriage ("yibum") would have fallen on judah rather than his son (his wife having died) and that he was evading his responsibility. tamar, therefore, is by this logic justified in resorting to this stratagem to force him to marry her.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  2. El Greko

    El Greko New Member

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    Nothing new under the sun

    Why is it that Jews and Christians are often accused of borrowing their tales and stories from earlier cultures?

    Firstly, there is never anything new under the sun, and further perhaps the earlier instances were a shadow of the greater reality to come, or an attempt by the enemy to counterfeit.

    Lets say there is a story in the Bible about a man who marries a woman with a wooden leg called Smith, the woman's name is Smith, not the leg.

    I bet somebody with knowledge of ancient wooden leg worship cults will suddenly comes up and say that we nicked the story and just changed the name of the woman from Arterxeridididlinosidflnd to Smith to make it more understandble when in fact it really first happened when Nimrod was knee high to a grasshopper.

    Havent most of us at some time told a story to a friend, who replies funny you shoud say that, for exactly that happened to my wife's uncle's cousin's daughter in Scunthorpe.

    Just because something simular happened before does not mean that it was plaguerised!

    Just a thought
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2004
  3. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Well, if there was a certain popular prior story about a man with a wooden leg and a wife called Smith, and later on in another culture we saw a remarkably similar story about a man with a wooden leg and a wife who's name is linguisticailly related to Smith, then questions would inevitably be asked as to the origin of the stories. :)
     
  4. Nogodnomasters

    Nogodnomasters New Member

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    They do compare and it is acceptable until you descibe Jesus and the Bible in the same light as all other myths. Then it can't be. At this point the similarities are not exact so they can't be related. The out cry from religious groups approaches absurdity. Isn't Gilgamish the same story as Noah? If in a creation story a heel is placed on the head of a serpent, wouldn't that be too coincidental to say it is unrealted to the Bible text?

    One would expect many differences in stories due to culture and time. The Flintstones are based on the Honeymooners- we know that for a fact. They are even in the same culture separated by only a few years, but there are vast differences between them. We can compare Jesus to other savior gods and find many similarities, far more than the Flinstones and Honeymooners, yet believers contend they are too vastly difference.

    As for now compartive mythology in the universities must be spent doing mundane tasks as comparing Apollo of Greek mythology with Apollo of Roman mythology.
     
  5. Phi

    Phi New Member

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    Hello all. I am new to this site... :) And hello again Brian, thanks for the response to my email. :D
    Just want to say that I agree fully with the idea expressed that if there ever were to be a new worldwide matriarchy, it would be terribly unfortunate if it were just a "man-subjecting/man-dominating" form of religion/philosophy or "Queendom of huwomankind." :)
    Early Hebrew scribes wrote of Shekinah, the feminine form (goddess form) of G-d. Lillith was apparently created, according to writings, in tandem with or prior to Adam, and refused to submit to him. (Lillith was actually created first, as she is written about in ancient Sumer.) These were written, but apparently not shared with the general public, and certainly not with women. This seems to give an indication of deliberate hiding of part of the "Creator's story," as it was perceived, and begs the question, "why?" Perhaps one of the reasons for establishing a "men power" society and religion is that
    there is also some biblical evidence (scant though it may be) that earlier worship of Goddesses of the region may have involved sacrifice of male babies. It is clear that males prior to DNA testing could not be sure their mates were faithful and that the children of a union were their own unless laws and rules against female sexuality were created and strictly enforced, and having an all-male and male-only interpretation of G-d, with the female of the species responsible for all evils helped to enable men to know that their sons were indeed their sons. (Evolutionary survival of the "owner" of the woman, rather than survival of the fittest?)
    Jesus, according to the texts available, was rather revolutionary in that he spoke to women, even non-Jewish women, as willingly as to men. There is evidence that he also had some women as apostles, and perhaps even one(Da Vinci seemed to think so...)as disciple. Mucho-Radical in that time. So radical that later macho-male disciples/apostles found it rather distasteful for they had been indoctrinated from birth to see themselves as superior. (As were most men ever since.)
    There would perhaps be a tendency for a neomatriarchy to be rather vengeful after so many years of women being considered lesser creatures.
    (Man vs woman:It's kinda like the arguments children have "did not"--"did too" that go round in circles and never accomplish anything. When will humankind "grow up?")
    I also believe that sometimes myths have grains of truth in them, and may be reference to actual historical events. The myths about women-ruled queendoms that used men only for procreation and enslaved & gelded or killed them afterward abound in ancient mythology: the most famous being the Amazon. Perhaps this is an indication that there was a previous cycle of female domination much larger than these little scraps of mythology indicate.
    A new cycle of imbalance would be terribly unfortunate. IMO We need to become balanced, not either/or. :)
     
  6. Phi

    Phi New Member

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    As for now compartive mythology in the universities must be spent doing mundane tasks as comparing Apollo of Greek mythology with Apollo of Roman mythology.[/QUOTE]

    Perhaps if "women's studies" were not segregated from other studies, this would not be the case for you. Then you could compare goddesses of Greek mythology with goddesses of Roman mythology. It could be an exciting change for you, something new, and a new perspective. J/K :)
     
  7. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    Very interesting threads here. So as for what nogodmasters is saying, are there any books, pdf files, university websites, etc? I am aware that there are groups of Enoch enthusiasts who do comparisons between him and a babylonian figure as well as Gilgamesh/Noah, etc. While its clear that some figures are similar, is anyone aware of a published work that shows more than similarity? I'd rather not just assume that because Noah and Gilgamesh (and others) are similar stories that Noah must 'Obviously' be a fabrication based upon prior stories for the purpose of cultural/political change. Same with David. Can you direct me to some kind of index or something?
     
  8. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    Oooh, an old thread. I hadn't realized this was here.

    One main stereotypical difference between women and men that is often pointed to in these discussions is that women, who gestate, birth, and nurse children, are in some ways fundamentally more nurturing than men. Although I don't think this is true across the board, it's a point to consider when thinking about issues of patriarchy/matriarchy.

    First, let's clear up the dichotomous thinking. Why should culture be an either/or phenomenon? Why couldn't it be more gender egalitarian? In a healthy society, a whole spectrum of gender expression would be respected.

    I think that the dimensions of masculinity is an area that needs to be developed in our cultural thinking if we are to move beyond the current struggles. We've had some significant movement in redifining what it is to be a woman, yet our ideas of what it is to be a man stagnate. Men can be nurturing; men can be sexual and sensuous without being dominating; men can be gentle, vulnverable and loving; yet none of these as of yet are culturally rewarded much. The denigrated image of sensitive men being sissies and effeminate (with that word itself serving as a derogatory term!) persists, not only among macho men, but among some women as well.

    Looking at Goddess culture, I prefer the word "matrifocal" to "matriarchal". Matrifocal implies respect and reverence for mothers, without further implying that they govern everything (which is the connotation of the suffix -archy). The women who gestate, birth, and nurture with their bodies every human being who enters into the world should be revered as individuals and as a cultural archetype. The imbalance currently in dominant western civilization still remains the imbalance of revering death (in the image of a crucified male sacrificial god) over life (in the image of the goddess as mother). This is very clearly expressed in the Catholic church's imposition of Jesus Christ ascendancy over his mother, Mary (and also in the sidelining of Mary Magdeline).

    There is some significant evidence that pre-Christian, pre-Greek and -Roman civilizations had Goddess-oriented cultures; also that women held spiritually and economically significant roles; also that male priests were cross-dressers. The speculation there is that men approached the life-giving spiritual powers by associating themselves with women and womanly things, wearing the garments of women. In many American Indian societies as well, cross-dressing berdaches or wintkes (many other names as well, depending on the tribe), were powerful shamans, counselors, and warriors.

    Further reading:

    The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker
    When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone
    The Chalice & the Blade: Our History, Our Future by Riane Eisler
    Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex and Politics by Starhawk
    The Spirit and the Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture by Walter L. Williams
     
  9. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply.
     
  10. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    Sure, although those books listed are more germane to the topic of matrifocal spirituality and not specifically to the recurrence of male mythological figures that you were asking about.

    At any rate, you are more than welcome. :)
     
  11. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    They probably have bibliographies in the back, so no worries.
     
  12. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    Marija Gimbutas, former professor emerita of European archeology at UCLA, took an interdisciplinary approach to researching Goddess culture. I first came across her name when I read Riane Eisler's The Chalice & The Blade, and I very recently (as in yesterday) was lucky enough to get a copy of Gimbutas' 1991 book The Civilization of the Goddess. I haven't even gotten through the preface yet, but have already come across some real gems that I'd like to share, very relevant to this thread.

    "I reject the assumption that civilization refers only to androcratic warrior societies. The generative basis of any civilization lies in its degree of artistic creation, aesthetic achievements, nonmaterial values, and freedom which make life meaningful and enjoyable for all its citizens, as well as a balance of powers between the sexes. Neolithic Europe was not a time 'before civilization'.... It was instead a true civilization in the best meaning of the world."​

    (page viii)​
    In light of this, looking at the state of global civilization, increasingly westernized, militaristic, conflict- and consumption-oriented, a strong argument could be made that we are not living in a true civilization; we are not even living in the breakdown of a true civilization. What we are experiencing is more along the lines of the death throes of a material fetishizing, de-spirited anti-culture.

    "It is a gross misunderstanding to imagine warfare as endemic to the human condition. ... There are no depictions of arms (weapons used against other humans) in Paleolithic cave paintings, nor are there remains of weapons used by man against man during the Neolithic of Old Europe. From some hundred and fifty paintings that survived at Catal Huyuk, there is not one depicting a scene of conflict or fighting, or of war or torture."​

    (pages ix-x)​
    I will be the first to admit a bias in wanting to believe in an ancient civilization that did not practice war and was very likely of an anarchist framework. That said, Gimbutas does present evidence of the absence of war-oriented artifacts in the areas she has studied.

    I find it likely, even glaringly obvious, that a culture, ancient or modern or future, that values creativity, personal and collective freedom, meaningful work, as well as the absence of weapons and military strife, would put a high reverence on life and the creative life principle. Woman as conceiver, deliverer, and nurturer of life would be a powerful spiritual/religious symbol. Further, in a culture that understands the sperm-egg biology of reproduction (many so-called 'primitive' cultures, such as the Australian Aborigines, did not believe that men played any role in reproduction), men would also be similarly deified in a life-affirming way; that is, as a lustful, priapic lover. This is Pan and Dionysus of the Greeks, and Kokopeli of the Southwest American Indians. This is also the demonized incubus of Christian thought, as well as the Devil himself, who was well-known by the persecutors of the witch-hunts and trials as the consort of witches. It's Robin Hood, the verdant Green Man, champion of the downtrodden, god of the witches.

    It seems to me that a lot of the reactions against Goddess culture and worship, the pooh-poohing of it as an unrealistic ideal utopian dreamland, are offered by men or women who are somehow enamored of the notion of historical/scientific progress, the andocratic society, and the religions of just, heavenly gods who sit outside of the world and time, judging and weighing. Science itself, in the Copernican sense, is such a god: external, rational, eternal laws and rules. But the science of the mid-twentieth and now 21st centuries is chaotic and not able to be pinned-down. It turns out that Copernicus and Newton saw what they believed they would see, measured the way they did without recognizing that they were participants in the processes of life that they sought to measure and exactly pin-down for all time. But the great gift of progress has brought us to a curve in spacetime, and we must recognize that the river cannot be made straight; it don't flow like that. Made straight, rivers and civilizations run too fast, erode, and crash. Civilization and humanity, like a river, must curve and meander and dance, as well as create and copulate and cooperate.

    Civilization is not measured in centuries of progress or by the atomic weight of Uranium, but is measured by its symptoms of beauty, connection, creativity, meaning, and yes, love for creation.
     
  13. sooty

    sooty sooty

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    There has been much talk of matriarchal societies in the ancient past. Some scholars point to the figure of Arete in the Odyssey of Homer as being a throw back to a time when women played a more prominent role in society. I did alot of research on the orign of Artemis as a goddess and discovered some interesting points. It looks likely that Artemis, Hera and Aphrodite all originated from one earlier mother earth type goddess. There are figurines of this goddess dating back to the early Helladic period (3000BC) and earlier. At this earlier stage of Greek religion, the mother goddess seems to have been the most prominent deity. Some of the frescoes found at Knossos (Crete) may also point to a time when women had more active roles in society compared to later in history, although this is very speculative.
     
  14. Dogbrain

    Dogbrain New Member

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    At any worthwhile university, such comparisons are made in more areas than "women's studies". It's not new, at all.
     
  15. Dogbrain

    Dogbrain New Member

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    Quoting Gimbutas to bolster arguments about paleolithic societies is akin to quoting Galen to bolster arguments about medicine. The field has long since passed that particular individual by, and that individual's hypotheses are no longer widely accepted by the experts within the field. Now, people with political axes to grind, on the other hand, swaller Gimbutas's stuff uncritically and enthusiastically.
     
  16. Dogbrain

    Dogbrain New Member

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    Civilization is measured by whatever darn thing somebody uses to measure it. Claiming that there is a single and only a single valid "measurement" speaks far more to the mind of the claimant than it would to any "units" of civilization that might be "measured" by the advocated standard.
     

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