© 2005 Sage Starwalker
after S. Sherratt (ed.), Proceedings of the First international
Symposium "The Wall Paintings of Thera" I
I want to shout it to the skies (or at least to the people in the cars
whooshing, now, down the road outside my early-April living-room window):
"We humans once lived with the Goddess, in Paradise, and we should
GO ... BACK ... THERE ... NOW!"
Or at least let me read others shouting it.
But no. I can't even find someone murmuring, whispering, or lip-syncing
it. Let alone shouting it.
Everyone I know interested in Goddess is just quietly practicing spirituality
in a corner, maybe alone, maybe like me with a group (until recently,
anyway, I belonged to "Gaia's Grove," a Goddess-centered Druid
What about the rest of the world? What about all our bros and sisters
out there dying inside because they're trapped in a God-the-Father world?
What about the planet? You know it's dying, and you know why. The Godfather
"gave" the earth to "Man," to do with what he will.
And man, Man is doing a number on this place!
So, what? We all just sit in our comfy Godmother corners and let the
world fall to pieces?
Why are we doing this?
Im wondering if its partly because of academia. Every time
one of us says "With the Goddess we had Paradise!" a backlashing
academic pops up, sneers, pulls out his/her dusty data and field notes,
and shows us how dumb we all are.
Well, heres the thing: I used to be an academic. I taught prehistory
and anthropology at a university for at least a while. My partner
of fifteen years is a tenured professor. Suffice it to say, I know academia
and academics like the back of my hand. And believe me, we should not
trust them blindly.
Ruins of staircase
at the Temple/Palace at Knossos.
© 2003 Jeri Studebaker
Actually, I've done a bit of Goddess research myself, and last year put
it all together in "A Millennium Without War? Perhaps, if the Goddess
Is Afoot" (PanGaia: A Pagan Journal for Thinking People, Mar.-June
2004, Issue 38). In this article I dealt with the recent academic attack
on the 1000-year peace record of the ancient Minoans. What I found is
what's always found in archaeology (yawn): two or more war-camps, each
vying to prove its theory right and all others wrong.
In the course of my researches, I discovered a regularly-held Minoan
academic conference. In 1998, this was held in Belgium and centered on
whether or not the Minoans engaged in war. Several paper-presenters entered
the conference determined to prove the Minoans were warriors but
left scratching their heads and murmuring, "Gee, I guess we were
Others, though, just kept roaring on, despite overwhelming evidence that
Minoans were as peaceful as kittens: No weapons, no walled towns, no war
art, no skeletal violence, towns built on indefensible sites, etc.; and,
even more telling, contemporaneous god-peoples showing just the opposite
weapons galore; town walls as big as Mack trucks; war art papering
their interior walls, floors and ceilings; skeletons scarred by human-on-human
violence; towns built on hilltops, etc., etc.
Academics often seem to get jealous of other academics who are read by
the general public especially if these are women or other minority
scholars. Margaret Mead is an example. Other anthropologists mostly
male at the time she lived and worked seemed to resent her deeply.
Gimbutas is another a female archaeologist who dared to become
popular with the public. And now other archaeologists seem hell-bent on
attacking her and her work. As an archaeologist myself, I've studied Gimbutas
and see nothing wrong with her. She does what every other social scientist
does: constructs theories and supports them with data. If she doesn't
preface every sentence with, "Now this is theory, not fact,"
neither do other academics. Yet this seems to be the difficulty academics
have with her she, they say, states theory as fact (as if others
dont do exactly the same).
Recently I read a review of Sjoo and Mor's The Great Cosmic Mother.
The reviewer, an academic, says much the same thing:
Are there "unsubstantiated claims"
and "questionable conclusions" in Cosmic Mother? Yes.
There are also many opinions stated as fact. This problem is endemic in
social science writing it's called THEORY, and if you object
to the way these women researched and wrote this book (competently,
for the most part), you'd better not look at your college sociology,
psychology, or anthropology texts too closely. "Truth" in
the social sciences depends on where you start the clock and who's telling
the story. [italics my own]
The man goes on:
I'm a 36 year old male who has (intellectually
and spiritually) inhabited just about every "headspace" one
can imagine from New Age kook to cynical academic. I know bad scholarship
when I read it, I know opinion stated as fact, and I know the red flags
of junk science, because I've experienced this stuff from both sides of
the intellectual divide, both as believer/consumer and critic.
To me, more than anything else, Cosmic
Mother is a critical examination and radical deconstruction of patriarchal
religion and the devastating effects it has had on humanity and the natural
world, as well as a precious and rare source of validation for "smart"
neopagans and earth/mother/goddess worshipers of all stripes. (from
a review on Amazon.com of the book The Great Cosmic Mother, by
Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor; this reviewer signs off simply as "A
Arthur Evans, the original and vastly talented excavator of the ancient
Minoans, was, it turns out, gay. From the very beginning of his work,
Evans contended that the Minoans were non-violent. Is it any accident
that at about the same time the world learned of Evans' homosexuality,
academics began building theories turning his Minoans into warriors and
monsters? Some current archaeologists are even "finding" cannibalism
and child sacrifice among the Minoans theories that, in my opinion,
as well as in the opinion of other academics, have extremely little support,
but which are being published in widely-read venues such as National
Goddess religion is not based on belief in
history, in archaeology, [or] in any Great Goddess past or present. Our
spirituality is based on experience ....
Temple/Palace at Knossos.
© 2003 Jeri Studebaker
However, I for one am not ready to give up on the Goddess religions of
our ancestors. They have things to teach us how to live in the
world, how to save the world, even. I don't think the rest of you should
give up on them, either especially not readers of Matrifocus,
one of the few sites open to academics interested in feminist spirituality
on an intellectual as well as spiritual basis.
I do want to take us back to Gimbutas' Old Europe, Evans' Temple of Knossos,
and James Mellaart's Catal Huyuk. Gimbutas, Evans and Mellaart were and
and dedicated archaeologists, and they knew the paradises their Goddess
peoples lived in. Why do so many Goddess people give greater credence
to archaeologists who denigrate these stewards of our ancient Goddess
As the reviewer above learned from Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor, God religion
has had "...devastating effects ... on humanity and the natural world...."
Conversely, Goddess religion gave us Paradise. I think it can give Paradise
back to us again. (I refuse to shun the word "Paradise." Academics
laugh when we use it, but compared to the patriarchal world I'm living
in, even a normal world would seem like Paradise.)
What I really want to do is wipe the planet clean of the Godfather
of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and all the rest.
I'd replace Him with The Mother. But then my face gets red. I feel as
if I'm just like those trapped in the Godfather: trying to start a holy
war, a Crusade.
Starhawk says: "In today's world, people of good will of every religion
are striving for tolerance, understanding, and sensitivity to other traditions"
[quotations my own]. Who doesn't
want to be one of the "good-will" guys?!
But when you know what I know that good evidence is missing for
and then contrast that to millennia of Godfather war, gore, and
red-eyed horror, what are we to do with that knowledge?
Here's what I've decided to do: I call for a bloodless, non-violent revolution
ridding the planet of God (i.e., war, famine, slavery and pain), and substituting
Goddess (peace, prosperity, equality, and nonviolence). How this revolution
will look to the naked eye, what form it will take I don't know. I propose
only a beginning, a call to arms, a defining of purpose. I know this:
Ghandi did not slip away into a corner murmuring, "Ah, the enemy
is washing my people in blood, I'll go where it's safe and worship in
I say, "Vive la Révolution!!!"
- "Religion From Nature,
Not Archaeology: Starhawk Responds to the Atlantic Monthly."
January 5, 2001. <http://www.starhawk.org/pagan/religion-from-nature.html>
- Evans and Gimbutas are
no longer living; I think Mellaart is.
- And probably for violence
among any other pure-Goddess people, although I've studied only Minoans
- Goddess. Wall Painting, Thera. ©
2005 Sage Starwalker. All rights reserved. After S. Sherratt (ed.),
Proceedings of the First international Symposium "The Wall
Paintings of Thera" I (Athens 2000)
- Ruins of staircase at the Temple/Palace
at Knossos. © 2003 Jeri Studebaker. All rights reserved.
- Entering the Temple/Palace at Knossos.
© 2003 Jeri Studebaker. All rights reserved.