I lent my granuelita the book When God Was A Woman after barely beginning it. Now that I have it back in my possession, I continue reading on — about the historic shift from a matriarchal to patriarchal system of cultural governance.
Some of my favorite passages thus far:
”Although classical Greece is so often presented as the very foundation of our western culture & civilization, it is interesting to realize that it actually came into being 25 centuries after the invention of writing & was itself formulated & deeply influenced by the Near Eastern cultures that had preceded it by thousands of years.”
”Judging by the continued presence of the Goddess as supreme deity in the Neolithic & Chalcolithic societies of the Near & Middle East, Goddess worship, probably accompanied by the matrilineal customs, appears to have existed without challenge for thousands of years. It’s upon the appearance of the invading northerners, who from all accounts had established patrilineal, patriarchal customs & the worship of a supreme male deity … that the greatest changes in religious beliefs & social customs appear to have taken place.”
”Considering the repeated evidence of ‘paganism’ during this period, it seems quite likely that Israel had taken up the religious customs of old, at that time accepting the female religion & female kinship to the throne. If this was so, then Maacah would have been the royal heiress & held this position until Asa, possibly under influence of Hebrew priests, once again established the (patriarchal) religion of Yahweh.”
“Why and when the more northern tribes came to choose a male deity is a moot question. In their earliest development they left neither tablets nor temples. It is only upon their arrival in the Goddess-worshiping communities of the Near and Middle East, which by that time had developed into thriving urban centers, that they come to our attention.
The lack of evidence for earlier cultural centers in their northern homelands of Russia and the Caucasus region just previous to the invasions suggests that up until their arrival in the Near and Middle East they may have still been nomadic hunting and fishing groups, possibly shepherds beginning to practice agriculture. These northern people are referred to in various contexts as Indo-Europeans, Indo-Iranians, Indo-Aryans or simply Aryans. Their existence once it surfaced in historical periods, portrays them as aggressive warriors riding two abreast in horse-drawn war-chariots; their earlier more speculative appearances in prehistoric times, as big sailors who navigated the rivers & coastlines of Europe and the Near East.”
“What is most significant is that in historic times the northern invaders viewed themselves as a superior people. This attitude seems to have been based primarily on their ability to conquer the more culturally developed earlier settlers, the people of the Goddess. The Indo-Europeans were in continual conflict not only with the people whose lands they invaded but between themselves as well. The pattern surfaces in each area in which they make an appearance is that of a group of aggressive warriors, accompanied by a priestly caste of high standing, who initially invaded, and ruled the indigenous population of each land they entered.”
“As Sheila Collins writes, ‘Theology is ultimately political. The way human communities deify the transcendent and determine the categories of good and evil have more to do with the power dynamics of the social systems which create the theologies than with spontaneous revelations of truth from another quarter.’ “
AND, an excerpt from a poem I like by Tracy K. Smith:
The voice is clean. Has heft. Like stones
Dropped in still water, or tossed
One after the other at a low wall.
Chipping away at what pushes back.
Not always making a dent, but keeping at it.
The body is what we lean toward,
Tensing as it darts, dancing away.
But it’s the voice that enters us. Even
Saying nothing. Even saying nothing
Over and over absently to itself.