Gods and Goddesses

These notes were provided by Michael, the course tutor.

Deities of the sky have ultimate power – Sun-gods are creators by virtue of their growth-producing powers –The sun-god is remote, detached from mankind. The moon is different: linked to rhythm and cycles: it waxes and wanes, is vulnerable because it grows strong and then it weakens. Moon-deities are female: she exemplifies the vulnerability and fragility of life, she is like us. In the late Old Stone Age, women were left behind and they became the seed-gatherers > more intimate expertise in agriculture. Depicted as snake, vulture, moon. Moon worship was advanced in Palaeolithic times. Stonehenge was originally built to glorify the Moon as well as the Sun. Every month, shafts of moonlight line up perfectly with gaps in the massive stones. The Moon’s cycles repeat themselves exactly every 18.6 years. Lunatic < Latin luna= moon. Lunatic!

Hunters developed male gods – gatherers (women) created goddesses. Fertility in crops, in wild and domesticated animals. The female life-giving principle was considered divine and a great mystery. Goddess statues from as early as 30,000BCE. A goddess culture.

The religious culture now develops > more complex. The earliest agriculture was a feminine rite and provided a means by which the sacredness of the world could be expressed in the femininity of the human species. Agricultural rituals spoke of gestation, birth, nurture, and death. But no matriarchy.

A culture in West Africa with three layers of cultural religious meaning: One refers to an earlier phase where feminine power predominated and the Queen Mother is the owner of the land; the second depicts the theft of the ritual and rights to the land by men who appoint themselves kings of the land; and the third where there is equal co-operation between men and women > harmony between the genders.

This culture lasted for tens of thousands of years in Europe. A time of peace. Males and females had equal status. Many historians and archaeologists believe that their society was matrilineal; children took their mothers’ names; life was based on a lunar calendar; and time was still experienced as a cycle, not linearly.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s