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Marija Gimbutas

To: alt.magick
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Marija Gimbutas
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2003 22:56:16 GMT

Lars Hedstroem wrote:
> Anyone read the books by Marija Gimbutas? That is, the books she has
> written about the Goddess?
> Lars

Yes, i have read her books and found them worthwhile and of
great interest. Contrary to what you may think, they are not
"about the goddess." They are archaeological books and are
descriptive in nature. They are not theoretical books about
goddess worship per se and they are not polemic tracts that
can be used to support contemporary goddess worship of the
Neo-Pagan sort. 

Gimbutas's books depict the hundreds of regionally variable
statuettes of goddesses and gods found in the shrines and
tombs of ancient Eastern and Southern Europe. They catalogue
and describe early European female deities,
mother-and-child-pair deities, heirogamous (sexually paired
couple) deities, and the  very few male deities extant from
that time period. They also contain a great deal of
illustrated information on prehistoric European and Eurasian
religious iconography that was expressed in what are now
considered to be standard artistic motifs, such as lozenge
forms, zig-zags, and crossed X patterns, many of which
derive from the structure of the human visual cortex.

Her work supplies concrete archaeological evidence that some
Neolithic religious worship took the form of masked
performers or shamans who interpreted the presence of
animal-form deities; this thesis is developed by close
examination of many of the statuettes which clearly portray
stylized animal-form masks on the faces of "deific" human

If you care to inspect Gimbutas's archaeological data in
parallel with similar iconographic material from neolithic
and early metal cultures that survived into historical times
outside of Europe, you can see how her findings have been
used to lend support to fairly mainstream theories that the
tribal structuring of society in neolithic Europe ran along
the lines of animal-totemic clans, probably carried through
female descent. 

I highly recommend all of her books. 

cat yronwode 

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