“When they claim never to have found a ‘true matriarchy’ these anthropologists are envisioning a mirror image of patriarchy, a vision which ignores the differing way males and females wield power.” Christopher Ryan & Celia Jetha
The Burning Times fill our nostrils with the memory of char-grilled flesh, but so far away are the times of the goddess cultures that we can look upon them with a misty nostalgia. They inhabit the Dreamtime. Did they really exist? How lovely it must be to live in a temple…
Matriarchy existed; but we call it high synergy culture.
Only last century did revisionist historians – archaeologists like Eric Von Daniken and Robert Schoch, anthropologists like Margaret Mead and Anthony Maslow – reinterpret our ancient past without the confines of orthodox religion. Their reinterpretations open our eyes to ancient high cultures whose central theme is integrated feminine and masculine power. These were not patriarchies.
High synergy culture existed 12,000 years ago (10,000 BCE) across the planet. Much earlier than we are led to believe, peaceful and prosperous organised societies built huge temple complexes upon earth. With this post-religious scientific method we can view past cultures like dynastic Egypt, Jomon Japan, pre-Incan South America, Hawaii and Mesopotamia, as sophisticated and successful socieities activated by a high degree of feminine power. This is obvious in their artefacts.
The myth of paradise lost, of a Golden Age passed, is almost global. In the Golden Age humanity was pure, wise, empowered, magical, and at peace. The Greeks knew about these Ages and explained that they were like seasons in grand cycles; a Golden Age declined to a Silver Age, declined to a Bronze Age, and then into an Iron Age, which was a time of darkness. Vedic culture mirrors this knowledge. In the (Sanskrit) Vedas are the Yugas; Satya Yuga (Gold), Treta Yuga (Silver), Dwapara Yuga (Bronze), and Kali Yuga, which the Vedas say we are now experiencing as the Iron, or Dark Age.
The Garden of Eden represents the Golden Age in the Judeo Christian tradition. Adam and Eve were magical beings living and loving in paradise. Eve’s exit from the Garden was the serpentine twist that framed femininity for the downfall of the Ages, thus initiating the Silver Age, and the slippery slope into the Dark Age (Kali Yuga). This theme is echoed in the creation myths which define our current age. Femininity was exiled, sent to the underworld, resulting in a devolution of culture.
In our cells we remember life in a golden age. If we did not we would be completely satisfied and entertained by the modcons of modernia, but we are not. This is why young people love festivals, all that ecstatic dancing, sharing in circles and communing in nature engages our Paleolithic brain which remembers, in its neurons, sacred union. My body knew that living like a huntergather was good for me. Chop wood, carry water, walk everywhere, dance ’til dawn, a nomad, free. In my youth I sought it on the fringes and in the wild places way beyond the sleepy Australian dream.
35,000 years ago there arrived Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Cro-Magnons, as we call them, carved the first goddesses and built the first temple complexes at Gobekli Tepe and later, Stonehenge. It was their culture, labelled Aurignacian, which first gathered into villages around a central hearth, whose primary life was leisurely and full of art, flirt and dance. It was Cro-Magnons from whom the Egyptians, Minoans and Canaanites got their rites. Archaeology proves that ritual and connection were important in their lives.
“The appearance of Cro-Magnon man brought technological and behavioural innovations, an explosion of symbolic artefacts, sophisticated representational art, and more… There was a striking uniformity of Aurignacian [Cro-Magnon culture] technology over a vast area of Europe and the Middle East that appeared without any convincing origins or antecedents. There can be no doubt that the appearance of the Aurignacian reflects an intrusion of an essentially new human population. And for a while, they lived amongst Neanderthal man.” Laura Knight-Jadczyk.
The proto-humans, on the other side of the ‘missing link,’ were Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis. Neanderthals had not evolved culturally for 200,000 years. Their flints, cave dwellings, and burials were identical for all that time. Their life with mammoths, sabre-tooth tigers, giant snakes and giant wombats, was prey or be prey. These are the ‘ape men’ we talk about, depicted in Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel 1980) as brutish and nomadic. The Cro- Magnon was akin to Jean M. Auel’s character Ayla, a fully modern human. Cro-Magnon culture was the lineage of leopard, bull and breast worshippers, who ended up on Minoan Crete.
Archaeology provides, literally, mountains of evidence for high synergy cultures in the Upper Palaeolithic and Neolithic era. These mountains are ancient temple complexes, uncovered from deserts and forests, and sometimes underwater. Contrary to Yuval Noah Harari’s view in Sapiens, where he depicts Cro-Magnons as violent colonisers, the planet was populated in the Paleolithic by people who built sustainable villages around a central fire and celebrated all life with art, dance and ritual. Not only that, they built great temple complexes which we are unable to reconstruct with modern technology. We can see what remains of Aurignacian culture in Native American tribes like the Hopi and Anasasi (who dwelt similarly to the first Mesopotamian tribes in kivas), the Quechua of South America, and the Hawaiians. Like the Turtle Island tribes, those who inhabited the Golden Age prior to exiting Eden were predominantly people of peace. Occasionally they entered the ‘dangerous’ state of single- pointed left-brained action to defend their tribal boundaries. Most of the time they flowed in a feminine communion with matter and spirit.
“The hunter-gathering culture was the original affluent society. By common understanding an affluent society is one in which all people’s wants are easily satisfied. In Australia, in 19th century studies, the aborigines’ subsistence activities took only two to four hours a day. The well-known Kung Bushman spend two to three days per week in subsistence activities. The rest of their time is spent doing the same things leisured people prefer in all places and times: hunting, dancing, playing games, swimming, conversing and flirting, as Paul Shepard explains in his book The Tender Carnivore and Sacred Game.” Dolores La Chapelle.
Palaeolithic people were stable enough to build and maintain their temple complexes over many many centuries. We cannot claim this of modern architecture (in the Southern
hemisphere our great cities have endured only two hundred years). All of those temple complexes did degrade ‘mysteriously’ – through their Silver Age and into Bronze – and those who lived there dispersed into tribes. The tribes found less conspicuous sacred places in the waterfalls, groves and stone circles. Here they happily communed with divinity until they were labelled heretics, sometime between 300 CE and 1900 CE, and told heaven was definitely not on Earth.
For Homo Sapiens Sapiens (from about 30,000 years ago) the idols of worship were female. The Venus of Willendorf (Austria) is one of the earliest examples of Palaeolithic art. Figurines found from this time feature women and animals carved and moulded in clay.
“The women depicted in these figurines were obviously not intended to be flattering portraits of the contemporary Eve. Most of them have neither feet nor facial figures, but the emphasis is on sexual features. Large pendulous breasts droop towards an ample stomach supported on massive thighs; the buttocks are often large.
“Man himself appears in few cave drawings, and when he does it is in the form of a caricature [stick figure]… Graphic depictions of female sexual organs, the subjects of the earliest art of all, are a continuing theme; but the drawings gradually become less explicit and more diagrammatic.” Readers Digest
Archaeologists surmise that Palaeolithic art had a ritual purpose. This means that femininity was the focus of ritual when the last Ice Age receded around 15,000 years ago and our earthly climate warmed. Palaeolithic tribes became Neolithic communities who began the first settlements and farms, and worshipped the goddess. Although this view has evolved, the common description of these communities was that “farmers were as much concerned with performing the right rituals to make their crops grow as with the actual techniques of farming.”
8000 years ago, 5000 people lived in one of the oldest known communities, in Catal Huyuk, Turkey. Here the “heads and horns of animals abound on the 40 shrines uncovered [and] the earth goddess worshipped by Catal Huyuk’s farmers was often represented in wall paintings and reliefs of leopards [and also] arranged in friezes are stencilled hands and rows of plaster breasts.”
More about leopards, bulls and breasts later…
Revisionist historians of Palaeolithic culture challenge the notion that ancient civilisation was inspired to arise through agriculture.
“We used to think agriculture gave rise to cities and later to writing, art and religion,” writes Charles Mann in National Geographic. “Now the world’s oldest temple suggests the urge to worship sparked civilisation.”
Charles is writing about Gobekli Tepe, a temple complex in Turkey similar to, yet more sophisticated than, Stonehenge. It is over 12,000 years old and it is thought that it was built by hunter-gather tribes as a centre of worship. Goddess worship, as well as leopards, bulls and breasts.
“Bewilderingly, the people at Gobekli Tepe got steadily worse at temple building. The earliest rings are the biggest and most sophisticated, technically and artistically. As time went by the pillars became smaller, simpler, and mounted with less and less care. Finally the effort seemed to have petered out altogether by 8200 BCE.” Charles Mann.
This curious phenomena, a high culture which gradually degrades and disappears is an indication of a fall from Grace – a shift away from the golden age of that culture. The Mayans had a high culture which built many temple complexes. Their calendrical skill amazes scholars. Their mathematics and astronomy gradually became less and less sophisticated, and the entire civilisation melted back into the jungles of South American around 800 CE. This slow or sudden degradation of culture is the case in all the temples listed below.
Archaeologists have uncovered temple complexes of ancient sophisticated construction all over our planet; at Gobekli Tepe and Alaca Huyuk in Turkey, Cuzco in Peru, Tiwanaku and Puma Punku in Bolivia, Sundaland in Indonesia, at Yonaguni in the Ryuku Islands of Japan, in Western Italy, Bosnia, Samoa, Easter Island, Jerusalem, Egypt… and now Antarctica? Nobody really knows how the pyramids of Egypt were built, and the same can be said for many of these ancient structures.
To build these temples, Aurignacian communities had technologies which look, to us, like magical powers. We can’t replicate them. I find this very exciting, as it attests to the mystical mastery of highly synergistic culture – the mastery of a community who lived daily the integration of feminine and masculine power.
The exact timeframe in which these cultures flourished is under debate, as the Jewish, Chinese, Mayan, Egyptian and Roman calendars were ‘normalised’ to the Christian calendar after 1000 CE. Sometime – and for this long time – between 12,000 and 3,500 years ago (1500 BCE), mostly peaceful cultures based on a profound understanding of gender equanimity, lived sustainably on planet Earth. Some, like the Native Americans, Mayans and Tibetans, have existed well into the common era.
Robert Schoch PhD (University of Boston) determined that the Sphinx is approaching 9000 years old, from a time before dynastic Egypt.
“In the early 1990’s geophysicist Thomas Dobecki and I carried out seismic surveys around and under the Great Sphinx of Egypt to measure the depth of subsurface weathering. The depth of subsurface weathering confirmed my redating of the Sphinx, placing it thousands of years earlier than the traditional date of c.2500 BCE.” Robert Schoch
So, lifting the veil of orthodox religious interpretation, Palaeolithic and Neolithic cultures, lasting at least 10,000 years, were sophisticated, artistic, powerful, peaceful, magical; and
they were not patriarchal. In sharp contrast to today’s culture, woman and nature were valued at least as much as man and mind. God and goddess were in love. Woman was worshipped as the vessel which creates life. Life was worshipped. In 2000 years of worshipping one male deity with many names, we have advanced technologically at an incredible rate, while degrading our ecosystems and destroying our communities at the same pace. We can’t see this from our viewpoint of white priviledge. We can only go to the countries we draw our livelyhood from, and visit the slums, toxic rivers, drug addicted communities, and disappearing ecosystems that we profit from. We think we are sophisticated.
“In fact, primitive systems in general are so sophisticated as far as government goes, early Europeans tended to think that they lived in complete anarchy.” Dolores La Chapelle.
This is not surprising, as high synergy governance evolved over thousands of years, in a dynamic dance of integrated polarities. Missionaries who looked for evidence of patriarchy, what they knew as governance, found there was none. How could these tribes thrive for millennia without some form of governance? The potency of the ancient goddess united with god remains in the ruins of high cultures. In the ancient temples and tablets we can see that goddesses were of equal stature to the gods. I, and many others, have called on these akashic archetypes as a magical way to reclaim our power. In this way we are drawing high synergy back into our culture.
So join me … invoke the Egyptian horned goddess Hathor to bring beauty and music into our lives. “The patron goddess of women and beauty, Hathor presides over the sacred feminine arts of adornment, enchantment, and lovemaking.” Her temples were all but destroyed in the Crusades.
Seek counsel from Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, after whom Athens was named, and for whom the Parthenon was built. Sophia also means wisdom, and this comes from the feminine ability to be still and know our heart. Call on Lakshmi for prosperity, and Kali when you need her.
Delve deep into the world of King Solomon, who built temples for the goddess in Jerusalem 1000 years before Jesus Christ. Surprisingly – or is it a message from the feminine – The Song of Solomon can still be read in the Bible.
“The Song of songs, which is Solomon’s. Oh that he would kiss me with the kisses of his lips, for your love is sweeter than wine! The savour of your ointments is fragrant; your name is like perfume poured out; therefore do the maiden’s love you. Draw me after you, let us hasten; the king has brought me into his chambers; we are glad and in you we truly rejoice; we prize your love more highly than wine; rightly do they love you.”
Call on the snake priestesses of Crete to bring you courage to do this…
The most recent historical example, from our western cultural lineage, of an integrated feminine-masculine society was Minoan Crete. Minoan culture centred around the worship of the mother goddess, from Neolithic 6000 BCE to almost historical 1400 BCE.
The Cretan palaces abounded in brilliantly coloured wall paintings, radiating the sense of a civilisation in which war seems hardly to have intruded. The Minoans had an unrivalled feeling for nature, and their illustrations are as vivid today as they were 4000 years ago.” Minoan craftspersonship and architecture was impressive, with “elaborate drainage and piped water systems unsurpassed until modern times.” They wrote in one of the earliest scripts, known as Linear A.
“The mother goddess was the focus of religious worship in Minoan Crete. The Minoans made effigies of the Goddess in faience and set them in shrines in their homes and palaces. The goddess is depicted as brandishing two snakes, sacred to the Minoans. A seated leopard on the head of the goddess symbolises her command of the wild forces of nature. The goddess is dressed in the style of a fashionable woman of the Minoan court, with an elaborate flounced skirt, and ornamented stomacher below the bare breasts. Women had a high status in Minoan society and were treated as men’s equals… the freedom enjoyed by Minoan women was almost unknown elsewhere in the ancient world, where women were usually regarded as chattels.” Readers Digest
Minoans maintained the continuity of their Neolithic ancestry, celebrating the leopard, the bull, and breasts, just like the artisans of Neolithic shrines at Catal Huyuk and Gobekli Tepe. You will be familiar with the (Greek) story of the Minotaur, an anthropomorphised bull. Minoans also revered the snake. Made infamous by Eve, snakes are becoming popular again as one of the symbols of the goddess returning – Shakti kundalini.
Minoan civilisation came to an end around 1400 BCE when the volcano Thera erupted on the isle of Santorini, a Minoan settlement only 75 miles from the capital, Knossos on Crete. It appears that their protective power was devastated by this eruption. The Minoans, who thus far had not needed to wall their cities, were overtaken by the Mycenaeans, Greek speaking warriors from the north. For this culture too, the slow decline towards the Dark Ages had begun.
At this same point in history, Greek culture began to thrive, resulting in the Athenian democracy. Today our governments uphold this society as an achievement worthy of our unquestioning obeisance. “While the culture of Crete was essentially peaceful and feminine… the culture of the Mycenaeans was aggressively masculine.” Still.
Ancient feminine archetypes seem bold and brazen, but impossible to embody in town. Do we dare walk bare breasted down the street, let alone brandishing a pair of snakes? We will be risking ridicule – and worse. The priestesses in faience are a potent reminder of the authority commanded by woman in a non-patriarchal culture on the islands of the Mediterranean. The Minoan goddesses are long gone, but we still have the Athenian democracy – the difference is that every four years the women and slaves get a vote.
If humanity lived in peaceful communities in the Paleolithic, in Minoa, and many other places, why can we not do it now? What has changed to make us perpetual fighters – for resources, for fame, for love?
Central to the mystery of modern culture is the question – how on Earth did we become so unbalanced? Peacefully integrated woman, man and nature temple cultures turned into warrior man societies based on the rape of woman and nature. What on Earth happened? And more to the point, why do we continue to stoically believe that patriarchy is the best possible way to manage society?
“Societies in which women have lots of autonomy and authority tend to be decidedly male- friendly, relaxed, tolerant and plenty sexy. Got that fellas? If you are unhappy with the amount of sexual opportunity in your life, don’t blame the women. Instead, make sure they have equal access to power, wealth and status. Then watch what happens.” Celia Jetha
Some places on Earth are currently so blessed. There is a mini golden age happening around some sacred mountains, and in some sacred valleys, right now. Because I’m a free tantrika I happen to visit a few of these locations, and reside there from time to time.
The qualities of these magical abodes are unequivocally striving to be ecologically friendly, creating mini temples, solar passive homes, retreat centres and meditation huts, groves of relaxation where the feminine is integrated. They are always surrounded by large swathes of healthy forest, gardens of organic food and fresh homegrown fruit freely shared; places where herbal medicinal remedies abound in gentle climates where we can live often naked and outdoors. Sure, there are all the mod cons but no one is conned. A focus on spiritual awakening, cultural synergy and living close to nature, brings closeness of community, supporting many single parents and blended families. Seasons are celebrated regularly, and festivals of all sorts abound. Indigenous wisdom is honoured. There is a rhythm of life which is anchored in the embodied dance of the goddess and the god approaching each other, tentatively, slowly and surely.
Wouldn’t you rather live like this?
In such realms of abundance and synchronicity, realms of high synergy, I cut my teeth on the tantric path.