The American transcendentalists thought that man was most fully himself in the presence of unspoiled nature. Scientific socialists and political revolutionaries, too, have characterized their efforts as a corrective, a reformist attempt to restore society to its rightful founding values. While previous Utopian movements may have romanticized the past, they stopped short of rewriting whole chapters of world history at will. In the case of the feminists and Afrocentrists, the driving force is primarily a desire to create an illusion of social and cultural power.
In the case of the deep ecologists, there is more of a heartfelt wish to turn the clock back to a time when earth was untainted by the presence of man. What is especially remarkable about these latest Utopian accounts is that they are being put forth by groups that are ostensibly concerned with real-world problems crying out for real-world solutions.
It is surprising, then, that they should be fretting, not about the best ways of dealing with these problems, but about things that may or may not have happened long ago. As Greeks began to enter Egypt during the fourth and fifth centuries B. C, they gained access to ancient African wisdom and brought it back to their own land—a land that was far too turbulent, says James, to sustain the practice of philosophy.
Everything that the West has come to associate with greatness—the achievements of the pre-Socratics, Pythagoras, Democritus, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, advances in language, mathematics, medicine, and astronomy—all were stolen from the black Egyptians and claimed as their own by the Greeks. In his latest book Kemet, Afrocentricity and Knowledge , he describes this ancient culture:. When the Greeks appropriated the knowledge of the Egyptians, they affixed their own terms to these disciplines, lending credence to the myth that they are Greek in origin.
Junior high school students studying from the popular Afrocentric text Lessons From History: A Celebration in Blackness encounter the following blanket assertions in the first seven pages of their book: Imhotep lived in the era of B. C, but Hippocrates was not born until years later. Europeans used most of their brains to develop military weapons.
Correcting history, George James realized, would involve nothing less than a revolution in consciousness and would thus require a massive propaganda effort.
James also recognized that any elevation of African contributions must be accompanied by a depreciation of Western achievements. The process of reeducation, says James,. It makes them see their past as one wasteland of nonachievement and it makes them want to distance themselves from that wasteland. These and other Afrocentric assertions about historical events are by their very nature unprovable, since they rest on the two-fold assumption that the ancient blacks relied primarily on an oral transmission of knowledge and that any existing evidence has been routinely suppressed by whites.
F eminists have taken similar liberties with history. They have posited that all existing life forms descended from a single female DNA; that male lifeforms owe their existence to the female life forms that created them solely to assist in reproduction and evolution; that women emerged from the primal ocean walking upright, causing men to evolve into upright hominids; that primitive women invented medicine, law, clothing, agriculture, trade, and fire. Here feminism dovetails with Afrocentrism in asserting that the original Goddess was most likely black.
This is bow one journalist swoons in reaction to the writings of Marija Gimbutas, professor of European archaeology at UCLA and author of, most recently. The Language of the Goddess , a book that celebrates goddess-worshipping prehistoric societies. This will soon be followed by The Civilization of the Goddess: The Language of the Goddess , a glossy, lavishly illustrated, coffee table book with an introduction by mythologist Joseph Campbell, is by no means the first bit of goddess literature to have made the leap from the pages of academic journals onto the shelves of Crown Books.
Where the Goddess held sway, women did so too. If they did nothing else for her, they must have validated her spirituality. They told women that power, awesomeness, and centrality were theirs by nature, not by privilege or miracle; the female was primary. Various psychoanalytic explanations are offered for why this was so, but most feminist historians agree with the assessment of author Charlene Spretnak that patriarchy is an historical anomaly, a distortion of the natural order.
Still others, like Rosalind Miles, maintain that males themselves are a biological deviation from the natural order. T he feminist reconstruction of the past has found a ready ally in the growing ecology movement. The analogy is an ancient one, but it is here given a distinctly political twist: Spretnak—a prolific author and lecturer on feminist issues—observes that ecofeminism is the only logical response on the part of women interested in issues of gender, culture, and history; of women who reject all forms of dominance theory, including Marxism; and especially of feminist theologians who are inspired by nature-based religions of neopaganism and goddess worship.
It stands to reason that if the devaluation of women and the devaluation of nature went hand in hand with the rise of civilization, so too must their revaluation—with a little help from a vision of a pre-civilized golden age. T he utopian vision of the deep ecologists needs to be viewed in the context of its sweeping critique of Western civilization.
It has only recently gained prominence, though, as a logical extension of both the feminist and the ecological critiques of civilization; while ecofeminists are halfway there in seeing men as the problem, deep ecology fulfills the vision by recognizing Man as the problem. The slogan of the ecotoge group Earth First! The truth is that we cannot go back to what we never left. Our home is the earth, our time the Pleistocene Ice Ages. The past is the formula for our being.
Gynegetic man is us. Ecotopian visions present affirmations of our bonds with earth. The task of modern i. In The Dream of the Earth , he observes: We are in between stories. We need a story that will heal, guide, and discipline us. The same cannot be said for the Utopian critiques posed by the Afrocentric and feminist movements.
What is so striking about these two groups is the extraordinary ease with which they rewrite the past, and the boldness with which they invoke the truth of origin stories whose ink is barely dry. In their hands, the old-fashioned notion of history as the discovery of facts—that is, a search for truth—has given way to a notion of history as the creative narratives of oppressed peoples—that is, a striving for power.
That is particularly obvious in the rhetoric of feminist historians. T his persistent notion of the past as power source leads many feminist and Afrocentric historians to attribute near-magical qualities to their Utopian visions. In an elementary school classroom in Washington, D.
It is produced by the Joseph Campbell Foundation and edited by Dr. The book traces the Goddess in history from ancient times and peoples to around the time of the European Renaissance around the 15th century. It is a fascinating work and an in-depth look into an aspect of mythology that is frequently overlooked. Many works featu Gender conflict has deep, historical roots. Many works feature entire pantheons and tribal deities but few are devoted to following the archetypal motif of the Goddess as she moves, evolves, diminishes, and rises transformed through the many arcs of history and mythologies.
Goddesses is one of those few that I've encountered. The story begins in the Old Stone Age 30, - 10, BC where archaeological artifacts depict women as magical vessels which produces life and where men are depicted as task-performers. The book notes that today, women are more often than not, seen as objects seen primarily in terms of appearance and youth, while men are seen as task-performers -- not much has changed.
With the development of agricultural societies, authority transfers to the female and the Goddess is seen as the global forces and energies of nature and life. As some tribes become nomadic with hunting as their primary means of support, the Goddess decreases and the male hero-gods gain prominence.
The mythologies depict these gods killing off their maternal ancestors. The male gains authority and dominance among these societies. As history continues the two types of societies increasingly come into conflict with one another. Cultures are subsumed by conquering. The warring societies dominate. Cities develop and mythologies have to change and adapt to justify specialization of tasks and castes.
For a period of time, from around BC give or take several centuries to around BC, male-oriented mythologies dominate.
However, the Goddess cannot be silenced forever and begin their return into the Greek pantheon. Based on its themes, it is suggested that The Odyssey was composed by a woman to bring the feminine characteristics and power back into Greek thought. The book goes into great detail on an analysis and interpretation of the Iliad which precedes and The Odyssey to see the transformation in thought that takes place between these two works. Goddesses shows that throughout history, the feminine mythologies focus on life and harmony, that she help unite people into community.
On the other hand, the masculine kills and divides, and promotes mostly self-interest. Because many readers have the Jewish and Christian texts as their primary religious and mythological background, comparison are made throughout Goddesses highlighting similarities between what is found in the Bible and what is found in surrounding cultures, often predating the biblical texts by hundreds and thousands of years.
The major monotheistic religions are patriarchal. According to Goddesses they have effectively conquered and killed the female character, even though vestiges can be found in their texts if one looks deeply.
The Civilization of the Goddess is a critical examination of the Goddess Feminist attempt to rewrite the history of the world by authors such as Gimbutas as that of. He is an expert on Chinese and World Politics and History. The Civilization of the Goddess - The Goddess Feminist Attempt to Rewrite the History of the.
Attributes and characteristics that are typical of the female are assigned to the male deity. In so doing, these religions are able to keep the Goddess dead. Goddesses ends in the time of the Renaissance with a return of the Goddess into mythology. The Arthurian legends, the Virgin Birth, and the veneration of Mary are interpreted as part of the return. I really enjoyed Goddesses and found it quite informative. It shows how mythology and religion have been employed as weapons in gender and sex power struggles since the dawn of human civilization. It shows how people have tried to make sense of the world and the universe from the very beginning of consciousness.
It shows how mythologies form, develop, change, are borrowed, and are transformed to fit the needs of people at any given time. It shows that mythologies themselves are not sacred, but they point to a transcendent reality that is believed to exist. For some this book will be very uncomfortable. It will challenge and greatly refute the concept of divine special revelation at least the way "special revelation" is typically understood in certain religious traditions.
It will challenge the foundational soundness of the idea that an exclusive "male deity" can be truly good. It will challenge the origins and purposes of religious thought and practice. I think this is a good thing. We need to be more aware of the use and misuse of the powers of mythology and religion. We need to be more cognizant of our commonalities across cultures and beliefs. The rise of feminism in the modern era, I now see, is no accident. It is a natural process predicted by anthropology, history, and mythology.
It is part of a working out of gender relationships in our time. Will the feminine be able to successfully establish herself a lasting presence as an equal power and authority in the still-patriarchal modern society? Will she be able to transform the mythologies and religions that inform us today into ones that welcome the full participation of the feminine?
This review is based on an advance review copy supplied by the publisher through NetGalley. Jan 18, Steve Cran rated it it was amazing.
Joseph Campbell is a well known scholar of mythology who has taught a number if years at the University level and has authored numerous books. AT the same time as being scholarly his style is also highly readable and enjoyable. Read this and you will get lots of information. Beware though because this book may well change your perspective on things. Many scholars such as Margaret Murray and Marija Gambutas have stated that in man kin Joseph Campbell is a well known scholar of mythology who has taught a number if years at the University level and has authored numerous books.
Many scholars such as Margaret Murray and Marija Gambutas have stated that in man kinds beginning there was a whorl wide religion that revered the Goddess. Now perhaps that was an overstatement but there were places that venerated the Goddess. THese three areas had mastered agriculture and planting. THe societies tended to be settled into communities and there was at the time no threat of invasion or violence. THe Goddesses reign lasted from the Paleolithic to Neolithic times. The Earth was seen as the mother. From her came all life and at the end all life returned to her.
You did not have to be awesome to pick some fruit. Women were cultivators, admired for their beauty. Men were idolized based on how they performed their tasks. In the houses one would find figurines or Venus statues, These could be goddess statues or fertility votives.
Men had their rituals in underground caves which were highly representative of the Goddesses womb. The sun was a feminine sign as was the lion and the cat and the snake. The sun radiated on the earth and represented freedom from time and space. Lions were royalty and serpents represented wisdom and life force. For the male representation it was the bull. The bull was lunar. The male figure was the child of the goddess who grew into her lover and then dies only tobe born again much like the moon.
During the Iron age when the feminine world was being invaded by Indo Europeans in the north and Bedouin tribes from the south things began to change. The Indo- Europeans were semit nomadic warrior who cultivated livestock mostly cows. THe Bedouin cultivated sheep and goats. As was tendency once these warrior tribes took over the feminine lands they did not eradicate the goddess but rather had there moveable gods move and and marry them. Carefully showing how three once powerful Goddess was reduced to a subordinate undeeer the ancient paganism to how she was merely venerated under monotheism.
But you cannot keep a good woman down. SHe rises up during the romantic period of courtly love and she is making her voice heard again. This book is a must read Sep 10, Lina Slavova rated it really liked it. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Joseph Campbell, know that he was a renowned mythologist endowed with the ability to make myth accessible and appealing to all. It is a true pleasure to read his works and to receive his knowledge of the spiritual principles ingrained in all legends. This book is a compilation of lectures given by Joseph Campbell on the subject of the feminine divine.
Campbell traces the evolution of the concept of the Great Goddess from Neolithic Old Europe to the Renaiss For those of you who are unfamiliar with Joseph Campbell, know that he was a renowned mythologist endowed with the ability to make myth accessible and appealing to all. I very much enjoyed reading it and I recommend the book to anyone who has an interest in the subject. The following quote, at the very beginning of the volume, touched an inner sensitive cord. It is both surprising and amazing to me that he had such deep understanding of our feminine energies. The woman finds herself, consequently, in a competitive relationship with the male, and in this may lose the sense of her own nature.
She is something in her own right, and traditionally for some four million years the relationship of that something to the male has been experienced and represented, not as directly competitive, but as cooperative in the shared ordeal of continuing and supporting life. Her biologically assigned role was to give birth to and to rear children. The male role was to support and protect. Both roles are biologically and psychologically archetypical.
But what has happened now—as a result of the masculine invention of the vacuum cleaner—is that women have been relieved, in some measure, of their traditional bondage to the household. They are moving into the field and jungle of individual quest, achievement, and self-realization, for which there are no female models.
Moreover, in pursuing their distinct careers they are emerging progressively as differentiated personalities, leaving behind the old archetypal accent on the biological role—to which, however, their psyches are still constitutionally bound. There is no such need, however.
The challenge of the moment—and there are many who are meeting it, accepting it, and responding to it, in the way not of men but of women—the challenge is to flower as individuals, neither as biological archetypes nor as personalities imitative of the male. Nor is there any model for the male in marriage to an individuated female.
Jul 17, Ivy rated it really liked it Shelves: Its been a while since I read anything even close to scholarly, and I really enjoyed Campbell's cross-cultural approach to understanding both the power of the Goddess and how that power was eventually stripped away as Creator Father figures took over. My only complaint is that the illustrations were small and in black and white.
Some of the works he refers to as evidence for his theories are difficult to see, and you have Read the chapters I needed up to the Gods and Goddess of Ancient Greece. Some of the works he refers to as evidence for his theories are difficult to see, and you have to accept his interpretation of the artifacts since you can't make out details.
Jun 23, Billie Hinton rated it it was amazing. This book is a collection of Joseph Campbell's lectures and workshops on goddesses that explore the symbols and themes of the feminine divine. Edited by Safron Rossi, this book is a treasure chest and overview of Campbell's perspective on goddess mythology. A terrific read for anyone interested in the goddess tradition but as a writer and psychotherapist, I feel this book is an important source for writers, therapists, particularly Jungian and sandplay therapists, and adds an important piece to This book is a collection of Joseph Campbell's lectures and workshops on goddesses that explore the symbols and themes of the feminine divine.
A terrific read for anyone interested in the goddess tradition but as a writer and psychotherapist, I feel this book is an important source for writers, therapists, particularly Jungian and sandplay therapists, and adds an important piece to Joseph Campbell's body of work.
Jan 29, Sharon Miller rated it it was amazing. A little dated and a little disjointed, and as ever I always want him to finish his thoughts. His mercurial mind jumps to the next thing before wrapping up a subject. But that aside the only other criticism is how short this was. Miraculously accessible for being presented in a flurry of connections and texts and stories. Always enlightening and edifying.
Jan 29, David Melbie rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Lovers of the Myths. This is a wonderful editing job, of putting together in a very cohesive way, all of Campbell's writings on the Goddesses. I am already a big fan, but this is by far the best compilation that this publisher has done to date.
It will challenge the foundational soundness of the idea that an exclusive "male deity" can be truly good. His fictional writing includes the popular historical novel 'Zheng He,' about the life of the famous Chinese navigator and admiral also known as Cheng Ho, and the nuclear thriller 'Peace' as well as a number of collections of poetry and short stories. The woman finds herself, consequently, in a competitive relationship with the male, and in this may lose the sense of her own nature. AT the same time as being scholarly his style is also highly readable and enjoyable. In so doing, these religions are able to keep the Goddess dead.
Apr 09, AK Anderson rated it it was amazing. This exceedingly well-edited collection of essays, lectures and notes by Joseph Campbell was useful in seeing his overall opinion of goddesses in mythology and the goddess as she appears in various mythologies. Dec 11, Karen Garst rated it it was amazing.
Joseph Campbell is the diviner of the meanings behind myths. His work is prodigious and this book is no exception. He builds on the work of Marijua Gimbutas, one of the first female archeologists who tackled the notion of what existed before the pantheon of gods and goddesses. Campbell agrees that there likely was an early Earth Mother or Mother Goddess. He likens the Paleolithic Venus figurines to a portrayal of the magic of women. Imagine Paleolithic man who goes on a hunt, gets hurt, bleeds a Joseph Campbell is the diviner of the meanings behind myths.
Imagine Paleolithic man who goes on a hunt, gets hurt, bleeds and dies. Then there is the female who bleeds every month but doesn't die. Then they give birth and ancients believed that the blood actually formed the child in the womb. When people invaded the Middle East from the Steppes, they brought with them domesticated horses and a sky god with thunder and lightening as his symbols. At first the goddesses were incorporated into his worship but slowly, the female was eliminated. Campbell also points to many similarities between the Biblical story and early myths in Mesopotamia.
Pero la Diosa siempre resurge, como lo que es , el misterio de la vida, la dadora de vida , el agua, el fruto, el renacimiento. Dec 19, Maan Kawas rated it it was amazing. I do highly recommend this book. Aug 22, Hella rated it really liked it Shelves: Joseph Campbell is mijn held, mijn goeroe. Op zijn werk is mijn Heldenreis gebaseerd. Maar het is ook niet voor niets dat ik daarna Heldinne's Reis heb ontwikkeld. Zijn werk blijft geschreven vanuit een mannelijke vooringenomenheid. Vrouwen hoeven niet op reis, zij zijn het doel waarnaar de man op reis is, op die manier.
Dus ik was blij verrast toen ik op de site van de Joseph Campbell Foundation een boek over The Goddess tegenkwam. Zou hij tenslotte tot inkeer gekomen zi Voor alle duidelijkheid: Zou hij tenslotte tot inkeer gekomen zijn? Het is op zich een prachtig en interessant boek.
Het is in feite een uitwerking van colleges die Campbell heeft gegeven, en je hoort hem praten. Je komt veel aan de weet over de plaats van het vrouwelijke goddelijke in diverse culturen, over de parallellen en verschillen, en over hoe de overgang naar patriarchale godsdiensten heeft plaatsgevonden. Je leert wat mythen en godsdienst werkelijk zijn: De oorzaak van alle kwaad door religies is dat ze het symbool als absolute waarheid bestempelen. De lenigheid van Campbells geest is enorm. Maar lezendeweg versleet ik toch een heel ikeapotloodje aan onderstrepingen en uitroepen in de marge.
In het voorwoord zegt de bezorger: I hope this volume holds the counterpoint to the idea that Campbell was focused solely on the hero and was not sensitive to or did not find of interest goddesses, their mythologies, or the questions and concerns of women who seek to understand themselves in relation to these stories. Het boek begint met de bewering dat er geen modellen in de mythologie zijn voor Heldinne's Reis.
Die zijn er wel.