When European scholars began to study Sanskrit they were surprised to discover linguistic similarities between Sanskrit and Greek and Latin. Old Persian was found to be even closer to Sanskrit. Scholars thus began to speak of related groups of Indo-European languages stemming from an earlier language they called Proto-Indo-European.
Tracing the earliest incursions of Indo-European speakers into Europe from the north along the Danube River, Marija Gimbutas hypothesized that the Indo-European homeland was in the steppes north of the Black and Caspian Seas. DNA research has confirmed Gimbutas’ view: Indo-European-speaking men from the Yamnaya cultural group who carried the YDNA gene R1b–which now is the largest YDNA group in Europe–arrived in large numbers about 2500 BCE from a homeland north of the Black and Caspian Seas.
Until now DNA evidence confirming the Indo-European incursion into India has been lacking. Hindu nationalist groups and some scholars have rejected the Indo-European hypothesis because it suggested that Hinduism and by extension “Indian culture” had a “foreign” origin.
Recent DNA research forwarded to me by Goddess scholar, iconographer, and bibliographer Max Dashu confirms that Indo-European-speaking Yamnaya men carrying the R1a gene entered Persia (Iran) and India in the second millennium (2000-1000 BCE). Moreover, this new DNA study finds the R1a gene in India to be located primarily in the Brahmin or priestly caste associated with the introduction and preservation of the Vedic religion and the Sanskrit texts. Continue reading ““Old South Asia” and “Old Europe”: New DNA Research Suggests Tantalizing Relationships by Carol P. Christ”
I sometimes feel as though I live caught between feminism’s assorted waves. I am too young to have experienced the rise & crest of the Second Wave. I only just began to learn there was an actual -ism type name for this collection of thoughts, desires, feelings, & beliefs shaping themselves within me during my adolescent years as the Second Wave was decidedly ebbing.
Coming into my own as a very young adult, I found the rising Third Wave frustrating, though. Arguments over even using the word “feminist” to begin with exhausted me and it seemed like there was more debate raging about what was or was not feminism than there was meaningful change-agent action in the world around me. While I now recognize that was probably a necessary step in feminism’s evolution, at the time I was more concerned with confronting the immediate challenges of my work in a massively male-dominated career field under extremely stressful conditions than endlessly defending my conceptual feminist identity. This was the socio-political setting in which I came to Women’s Spirituality.
I came with little knowledge of the herstory behind the re-emergence of Goddess spirituality. I was too young to know the names of the Second Wave women who created the vessel anew. And too put off by my contact with the early Third Wave to study it formally. What I did know was that there was a thing called Women’s Spirituality and it spoke to me body, mind, heart, & soul. So, I eschewed study for direct experience, fumbling my way through creating a personal spiritual practice between myself & Goddess as a very private solitary. Years later, my penchant for autodidacticism & a huge, ugly feminist-on-feminist argument on a blog post I wrote led me on a quest to discover more about both my feminist and spiritual roots. Who had come before me? How did feminism & Women’s Spirituality get to where it was now- in theory & in practice? What was my herstory?
That was when I finally met the work of the women whose stories make up Foremothers of the Women’s Spirituality Movement: Elders and Visionaries. This volume, edited by Miriam Robbins Dexter and Vicki Noble, is precious to me and it is honestly an honor to write a review for it on FAR today. Continue reading “Foremothers: A Book Review & So Much More by Kate Brunner”
In her comment following my last post which was about mythology, my friend, Carol Christ, expands on my paragraph about how the so-called “ancient triple goddess” was really invented in 1948 by Robert Graves in his book, The White Goddess. (Thanks, Carol.)
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, when the Goddess movement was just getting up on its feet and our ovular books were being published, the idea arose that if “they” have a holy trinity, “we” have one, too. And ours is older and holier. We see it in the three phases of the moon, new (Virgin), full (Mother), and dark (Crone). Here’s a tiny sample of these books that changed the lives of so many women and men:
- Woman’s Mysteries Ancient and Modern by M. Esther Harding (1971, but first published in 1933)
- The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (1974) by Marija Gimbutas
- When God Was a Woman (1976) by Merlin Stone
- Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths (1978) by Charlene Spretnak
- The first edition of The Spiral Dance (1979) by Starhawk
- The Chalice and the Blade (1987) by Riane Eisler
- Laughter of Aphrodite (1987) by Carol P. Christ
- The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries (1989) by Z. Budapest
- The Reflowering of the Goddess (1990) by Gloria Feman Orenstein
- Whence the Goddesses: A Source Book (1990) by Miriam Robbins Dexter
Triple goddess? ’Tain’t so. Our beloved triple goddess is one of our foundational myths. It’s nice and it’s perhaps inspiring, but it’s only a myth. Anyone who looks at a calendar or almanac—or up into the sky every night for a month—can easily see that the moon doesn’t have three phases. It has four: waxing, full, waning, and dark. And since the late 20th century, women have lived long enough to go through more than three stages of life. Continue reading “An Archaic Trinity of Goddesses? Not Necessarily. by Barbara Ardinger”
A man in the group leaned forward and asked, “But how did the Goddess get overcome?” So I told him. Young “warrior heroes” came galloping out of the Russian steppes and the Caucasus Mountains, including Afghanistan, which no one (not even Alexander the so-called Great) has ever conquered. The boys were carrying their thunder-solar-sky gods with them.
I attended a book club at a beautiful metaphysical bookstore a few weeks ago where we discussed the conquest of matrilineal civilizations by the patriarchy. A man in the group leaned forward and asked, “But how did the Goddess get overcome?” So I told him. As my friend Miriam Robbins Dexter writes in her essay in The Rule of Mars, young “warrior heroes” came galloping out of the Russian steppes and the Caucasus Mountains, including Afghanistan, which no one (not even Alexander the so-called Great) has ever conquered. The boys were carrying their thunder-solar-sky gods with them. Those gods included Jehovah, Zeus, Jupiter, and Ares. (Allah arrived later.) Some of these young “heroes” were outlaws “who live[d] at the edge of society and are connected in legend and myth to wolves, dogs, or other animals.” Dexter does not use the term “biker gangs,” but that’s what they were. Testosterone-crazed invaders out to have a good time. They ran over every goddess and temple in their path, and to make themselves seem more legitimate, they “married” former Great Goddesses (like Hera) to their thunder gods (Zeus). Their gods are famous for hurling lightning bolts, enticing their generals to invade peaceful, Goddess-worshipping lands (like Canaan), and populating their new turf via rape, which is how the innumerable sons of Zeus were conceived. More recently, during the last two or three millennia, one of those gods has inspired his prophets and preachers to roar about sin and hell and idol-worship and punishment. The new gods and their carriers thus planted the seeds of warfare in society and its literature. I describe one such invasion in the prologue of Secret Lives, where after a horrific vision that causes her the blind herself, the shaman sends her people out into the world to escape the coming hooligans on their horses and become the secretive, dark “little people” of Europe. Continue reading “Where Did the Gods Come From? by Barbara Ardinger”