carol christWhile I was in Crete on the Goddess Pilgrimage teaching about and experiencing a Society of Peace where violence and domination were neither celebrated nor encouraged, another war broke out in Iraq, breaking my heart, breaking all of our hearts—yet again. When will we ever learn, oh when will we ever learn?

Barbara Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the US war powers authorized after 9/11 which were used to launch war in Afghanistan; she also voted against authorization for the Iraq war in 2002. Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq war, despite clear indications that the US administration was lying about weapons of mass destruction—which were never found in Iraq. I voted for Barack Obama because he opposed this war. Then he listened to General Petraeus and expanded the war in Iraq. Barbara Lee speaks for me. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama do not.

The Iraqi people are once again living in fear of their lives as reports surface that armies and militias are engaging in mass executions of their so-called “rivals.” Is there any cause that could justify this?

Rape is an ordinary part of war. How many unreported and unpunished rapes have occurred since this war began? How many more will have occurred before this blog is published? Do the Iraqi people deserve this? Do any people deserve this?

I am sometimes asked why I continue to lead the Goddess Pilgrimages to Crete after more than 20 years. I am also asked why I don’t lead pilgrimages to other parts of Greece where Goddesses were also worshipped. One of the answers to these questions is that in Crete I am not simply teaching about the existence of Goddess worship, but also about the possibility that cultures can live without celebrating violence, war, and domination.

For many people the idea that a relatively “advanced” civilization could exist without violence and war is considered to be a romantic fantasy, a dream of a golden age that never existed. This is the “party line” in the academy today—as it always has been.

Archaeologists of Crete call attention to “fortress-like” walls at Petras, to a “watchtower” in the gorge near Kato Zakros, and to a small number of “swords.” But they have not found any evidence of military graves during the period before the Mycenean invasions. Images of kings bearing weapons and of armies are common in other cultures in the ancient Near East. If the Minoans had kings who ruled by force, surely they would have pictured themselves as the leaders of armies. For me the absence of such images is the most telling “evidence” that kings and armies did not rule in ancient Crete.

When Arthur Evans excavated Crete he described the culture as peaceful. He also stated that the major deity was a Goddess of nature. However, he assumed that the culture must have been created and ruled by male elites. Though he never found an image of “King Minos,” he re-created a fresco that he named the “Priest-King” or the “Prince of the Lilies.” Many scholars now believe that the “crown” Evans placed on the head of the “Priest-King” belonged not to him—but to a griffon. Still scholars continue to assume that “elites” must have ruled in ancient Crete.

For example, it is argued that only (male) elites could have supervised large-scale building projects such as the “palace” of Knossos–and that large buildings must have been built with conscripted or slave labor. Yet recent scholarship suggests that mighty Stonehenge may have been built through communal effort during a time when there were no elites. Why could this not have occurred at Knossos as well?

Marija Gimbutas wrote that the field of archaeology is ruled by “indolent” assumptions that ancient societies were like our own. Scholars now attack her for “imagining” a “golden age.” What they don’t recognize is that they are “assuming” that societies must be ruled by violence and domination. Such assumptions are not only indolent, but also self-serving. They perpetuate the “illusion” that “classical Greece,” a society that was patriarchal and warlike, represents the beginning of “civilization,” a view that has justified colonial conquest and domination by “the West” up to the present day.  The assumption that patriarchy and war are “in the nature of things” also justifies what Barbara Lee has called “endless war.”

Why is there such an aversion to the idea that Societies of Peace ever existed? Could it be that the very idea that they might have undermines deeply held assumptions that patriarchy and war are right–or if not right, then at least necessary? Would consideration of alternatives to patriarchy and war force us to confront the fact that “our” civilization is “built upon” injustice? Could Mary Daly be correct that the “Unholy Trinity” at the base of western culture (and others) is “Rape, Genocide, and War”?

barbara lee

Is the thought that they could be right the reason why Marija Gimbutas and Mary Daly must be dismissed as crazy?

I think it is time for those of us who believe that there has been and could be “another way” to speak up—in our millions. That is why I signed Barbara Lee’s petition. Barbara Lee is not crazy. I am not crazy either. Barbara Lee speaks for me. Please consider signing her petition too.

Stop Endless War

On September 14, 2001, in the fog of 9/11, Congress voted to give the President expanded war powers. These powers made it much easier for any President to engage in acts of war. Since that fateful day, thousands of American troops and many innocent civilians have lost their lives based on the overly broad authorization for force which functions as a blank check for war without end.

If you’re outraged by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, drone strikes and warrantless wiretapping, we can help stop them if we repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

Barbara Lee and other members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, have introduced the War Authorization Review and Determination Act. Our goal is to obtain 150,000 citizen co-sponsors.

We, the undersigned, say it’s time to pass the War Authorization Review and Determination Act. We want to stop endless war.

Sign the petition.

Carol P. Christ has just returned from the spring Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete which she leads through Ariadne Institute–early bird special for the fall tour until June 25.  Carol can be heard in a recent interviews on Goddess Alive Radio and Voices of Women.  Carol is a founding mother in feminism and religion and women’s spirituality. Her books include She Who Changes and Rebirth of the Goddess and the widely-used anthologies Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions.  Follow Carol on GoddessCrete on Twitter.

Author: Carol P. Christ

Carol P. Christ is a leading feminist historian of religion and theologian who leads the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete, a life transforming tour for women.

19 thoughts on “BARBARA LEE SPEAKS FOR ME by Carol P. Christ”

  1. Thanks Carol! On Lee’s vote. How many times would some part of New York be blown up by every terrorist group on the planet, if there were no show of force after 911? Even so, any act at all of revenge is a big part of the tragedy and human disgrace of such violence.


  2. I suspect there is no way to stop every single determined terrorist. The show of force did not stop the terrorists in the London subway or in the Boston Marathon. And the show of force in Iraq and Afghanistan has certainly not created democracy, or ensured women’s rights, or made the lives of ordinary people any safer. If anything, our intervention has incited more young men and women to join terrorist organizations with agendas at home and abroad–in other words making the world less safe for all of us.


    1. Yes, violence only gives birth to more violence until someone takes the risk of saying: “No more”. The best way to create more “terrorists” is to keep terrorizing people with drones, bombs and contempt.

      I think there is another very important dimension to “rape, genocide and war”. It is the oppression of an unhealthy pursuit of money, and worship of the “economy”. Wars are financially beneficial to a few people who have power. Just think of how much profit there is in weapons and the “arms race”. Peace and non-violence on the other hand, well … I wonder if some people would call it just plain boring.

      I would sign the support document if I could. I do believe that if we don’t learn to resolve problems in a better way than with weapons of mass destruction, we will simply become extinct. Then the earth could heal from our madness and evolve something better.


      1. Barbara,

        War makes profits for some. But there have been many studies that show that for us as a society, a war economy is LESS profitable. And that makes sense. Because what does a country do with bombs and bullets? Blows them up! So they’re not useful anymore. But when you build infrastructure or housing or many other utilitarian items, they are useful for a long time, creating greater long-term wealth and assets for the country.


      2. True, Nancy. The people who start wars however are not thinking of the common good. I was referring to those in power who start wars so those few “friends of theirs” can make a profit developing, manufacturing weapons that, as you point out, are just used once and discarded (along with all the lives they destroy). Governments, military and corporations collude for their mutual benefit. Just notice the “revolving door” between gov and corp. But many people who vote believe the lies and accept the god of war and profit, taking pride in the contribution of their children. Do you think there would be all this agony in Iraq if G.W. Bush had to go to the front lines and risk his life? I think anyone who thinks war is a good idea should be at the head of the ranks, not sitting comfortable and safe in another country forming a cheering squad.


      3. I don’t think there is any doubt that companies in which Dick Cheney had interests–such as Haliburton– made a lot of profit on the 2nd Iraq war, War is very profitable for those involved in the arms industry and for those involved in providing “support” and even paid non-military combatants.

        On the other hand, war is not profitable for society as a whole, leaving aside the dead and injured. The national debt on which interest is paid would not exist without a bloated military budget and other hidden military-related costs. This is where the Tea Party’s hypocrisy is most blatant. Social programs for the poor, disabled, elderly are NOT the reason for the debt–endless war is!!!

        So I agree with both of you. And thanks for your insightful comments.


  3. The book, “The World Peace Diet,” by Will Tuttle, gives some great insights into why we cannot solve the problems of human violence without going deeper into our worldviews about what we are entitled to do…to non human as well as human creation. He cites Riane Eisler’s books quite a bit in one of the early chapters. “-_


  4. Thank you Ms. Christ for this post. I signed the petition. I empathize with your message and your pain. The media never fully educates the public about the true agendas of corporatocracy waging war to fill coffers with no regard to human life what so ever. The public is grossly mislead on the ongoing empirialism and tampering with other governments engaged by the US to their own ends. In the past children were not raised in our country to question in schools and it is easy for them to grow up as members of the general public not discerning if their is truly a need to buy into warring agendas and the news does not report enough about the atrocities that the people in Iraq suffer. What I take solace in is the old systems will be undermined by children who are home schooled, a population growing in numbers saying no to being made into another widget in the corporate machine, but instead learning to be actually whole human beings, children with autism who also challenge our education systems and for teachers to re-think how to get down to the students level and work with them as human beings ( as a mom of two children with Autism that is my experience and I am sure other parents as do I find ourselves in the position of educating educators on how to work with these children in a more enlightened way.) They also have incredible genius and I can already see how they will bring new solutions and perspectives to how to live on this planet and walk more gently just from the ideas my nine year old comes up with. They are not going to perpetuate the old ways. I also take solace in cancer which is teacher for many in this culture, including myself. Our culture is in desperate need of wake up calls and cancer is certainly that. We are paying for the intergenerational dysfunction/ sins of the fathers brought over with the toxicity of Columbus. The indigenous people see that cultures that don’t take care of one another and this beautiful planet are a very sick culture. That is true and it is the culture that has been perpetuated in this country and through many different means. Cancer patients have raised awareness of looking to alternative therapies, CBD oil which changes our respect for the healing power of Mother Earth, also through diet, since chemo is not the answer and for many cancer comes back if you only rely on magic bullets like chemo. We have to go deeper and heal ourselves on all levels physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and in the process we are needing to forgive the pain of the dysfunction in our family systems that are so damage, see it for what it is and make sure we break the cycles. Forgiveness, rising above is transformation. As a parent I have raised my children from the school of “not what to do that my parents did”.. There is the notion of conscious parenting by Dr. Shelfari who talks about parents need to see that how they treat their children is a mirror to themselves and their own unresolved pain. She was on Oprah Winfrey, that is pretty big exposure to change consciousness in collective and how we raising our children and chose to raise them consciously with non-violence. See how these patterns are all part of the weaving of Mother God and the divine feminine? Also look at the indigenous people now opening their trainings to us to access right brained ways of being through the shamanic traditions to balance the overt tendency to left brained ways in this culture. The old ways are going to be undermined including the ways I have stated, and the movements for sustainability, the 99 percenters etc will eventually have other systems that rise up as our government continues it’s current trend of erosion. It is a painful time and a slow death of these ways but I believe, not in our life time but the shift is coming. Birthing the new world is slow, bloody and arduous for Mother God as any baby being born. Finally we are all needing to awaken to our own power as God Beings, as microcosms of the macrocosm and that we are all responsible for what we choose to create in our world, our community and it always starts with the Self. There are still many people who have been damaged and brainwashed in our culture who are too entrenched in fear consciousness to allow for that possibility. The Dalai Lama has his spiritual practices, so did Mother Theresa. We are all at least as individuals capable through spiritual practices of awakening and of so much and can make the world better for so many no matter what. I live with Stage Four Breast Cancer since 2011 and I continue to heal, trusting in my God Beingness, ie the power of transformation and the possibility at all times for grace which can and does enter often in my life and be a present mom for my children. Some day I will pass what I have learned along to others and help at another level, but for now I know that what I am doing matters and it too is a thread in the new fabric that She is weaving into our realities. Thanks for listening to ideas I have been formulating. Love and gratitude….NancyAnahita


  5. I have signed the petition. Barbara Lee has long been one of my heras. (For readers who don’t know this word, it’s a female hero.) I think she’s probably the smart person in Washington. Carol, what you wrote is so wise……..I wish we could open the brains of misogynist politicians and scholars and just pour your words in. Stir well, mix, and serve–the end of war and violence! What I’m more realistically (?) hoping is that people like Barbara Lee and us can grow to a critical mass.


  6. I didn’t know if the petition would accept my Canadian mailing code, but gave it a try…and it “took”. I do think this action is not in the interest of only the USA, but of the whole world. So I hope others outside the US will sign too.


  7. Signed, and in total agreement with your post, especially the academic realms resistance to the evidence of peaceful cultures like the one that existed in Crete prior to the Mycenean’s arrival. To me the evidence is overwhelming but following that evidence can be akin to suicide to those within the academic realm.


    1. I would say it depends on what sort of religion we are talking about. Many religions have celebrated violence, as in “onward Christian soldiers marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.” Or as in religious justifications by all sides in the Iraq wars.


  8. From Barbara Lee to signers of the petition–email received July 31, 2014:

    We did it!

    Earlier this month Rep. McGovern, Rep. Jones and I introduced a bipartisan bill that would require the President to get Congress’ approval before deploying any more combat troops in Iraq.

    Last Friday, the House of Representatives voted 370-40 to pass that bill.

    This is a tremendous victory for peace. Thousands of you have signed the petitions at and, and last Friday your voice was heard loud and clear.

    Our work isn’t done yet. I will keep fighting to repeal the AUMFs and further roll back our country’s march toward endless war, but I can’t do it alone.

    I need your help.


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