Lilith— winged, bird-footed, with owl and cats, 2000 B.C., Babylon

The Iron Age

Here is where we have truly broken off from the female as deity, and from nature. This god is separate. He makes the world, not from his body, but from his WORD. He is the supreme male god, and the product of an incredibly violent and troubled time.

One of the more troubling changes with Yahweh is that making images of him was forbidden. No art. This was a commandment so that nothing would limit his personality in any way.  They cannot speak or write his name to this day. God could be heard, but not seen. But, Yahweh speaks from places that were holy to the goddess. From mountaintops, out of lightening, storm, fire. He is a-physical, without a body, he is incomprehensible and transcendent, and even though he is totally abstract, he is still male.

A new kind of focus was demanded here, as humanity is learning to look through the world to what is beyond it. Divinity is thus drawn away from nature, and we are left with the absolute freedom, the commandment, to dominate and control nature, and also, left absolutely alone in the world.

He assumed the mantle of the goddess of war. the Old Testament is just this violent power drive, and his deficient morality— his unlimited power is a revelation of the Iron Age values and patriarchal customs. After this, women belonged to one of two men— her father or her husband. Every woman could be stoned to death if she were raped. And there were no Hebrew priestesses.

The way to do this is to practice detaching the mind from appearances, and the spirit from original participation in holiness. Yahweh has no name either— this is Total Transcendence, beyond our predication of anything we can control or even understand. Everything proclaims the glory of this god, but nothing represents him. Gender, however, was retained. This is a very brutal, butch story. The morality of Yahweh is HARD. Jung says, “The image of a personified brutal force and an unethical non-spiritual mind…leads to a violent power drive.  This god is like a nature demon of a barbarous society.”

This original participation is the consciousness of the goddess culture, where the substance of the body is divine because it comes from, and ultimately IS, the body of The Goddess. This is Immanence— that the visible appearance and the invisible source are the same. Human nature is then bound to the physical world and the sense that nature is wondrously alive with the same life as humanity. This knowing is completely sacrificed by obeying Yahweh’s instruction.

There is no word for Goddess in the Hebrew language. The task of the Hebrew priests was to turn their chosen people from The Goddess. This is another evolution in consciousness— bequeathing us to this day with the paradigm of opposition as the only way to progress. It has been accepted so uncritically, for 3,000 years that metaphysics is melded with power politics and not seen as the ploy it was.

The point of the Old Testament was to transform a disparate group of clans into a nation. It was a political point. Yahweh is a god of nomads, not tied to a sanctuary, or a land base, but to a particular group of men. They are his people, and he is like the head of a clan. The old Testament gives a mythical background to endow these men with imaginary ancestors in order to provide them with a sense of identity as a tribe and a historic role. Instant history! This created a sense of belonging, and a mission, a passion, to fight, kill, and die for Yahweh, and the tribe.

The people of Israel became the bride of god. The divine life was incarnated in a chosen people, rather than the life principle of the earth. In the same way that the head of the patriarchal family demanded the unquestioning obedience of his wife and children, so the Hebrew father god required the unquestioning obedience of his bride. Because there is no image of the divine feminine, the people were cut off from the whole past experience, personified in the image of The Goddess, and so lost their former access to the ethical values that came from the participation in life, animated by divine presence. Yahweh was transcendent only, not immanent. Life was sacred because Yahweh created it, not because he was incarnate in it.

If father god religions are reactionary and anti-evolutionary, the reason is simple: they are built in reaction to the original Goddess religion, which dominated human thought and feeling for all time. By contrast, god has been conceptualized as a complete male for only about three or four thousand years. For this reason, patriarchal religions must begin by denying evolution, for if that long stretch of human time was acknowledged, it would have to be credited as the evolutionarily creative time of the Great Mother. To avoid this the father gods just somehow appear, and human life just suddenly appears with them, fully formed, sprung from the forehead of the he-god, sometime around 2,000 BC.

In Greece, The Olympian male takes over. He does not evolve, he apotheosizes, to the blare of trumpets. He is not born from woman, or earth, or matter, but from his own absolute will. God becomes a mere idea, and the world his mere mechanism. Spirit rises above all physical laws, above all that changes, and away from the dependence of human development on cosmic powers. The Greek Olympian gods were a political move of the newly established ruling elite, who did no communal work, but were serviced by slave labor.  They were the gods of the urban upper classes. In Greece, the poor, the villagers, still worshipped the Goddess.

Professional warfare developed as a new way for men to get together. “In warfare, men re-found the group and spiritual identity they had lost with the loss of the Stone Age hunting life. The new god, the male war god, could be erected to humanize it. To make it seem holy—it was the primary builder of male wealth, and thence of a ruling elite. Most of all, for the first time, it gave men the power to control women. Professional warfare allowed organized and iron-armed males to destroy ancient female collectivity.” (William Irwin Thompson; The Time Falling bodies Take to Light; Mythology, Sexuality, and the Origins of Cultures.)  After the Neolithic, the following ages show the domestication of women by men.

The goddess had been all-powerful, but she was the mother of sons as well as daughters. Under matriarchy, men were not reduced to slave labor, or to subhuman objects. She knew that she was the parent, and did not have to enforce unnatural religion with unnatural law. Her son was also her lover, and she only desired graceful worshippers. In no goddess religion ever known were people ever depicted on their knees.

The mid-stride shift in worldview, from matriarchy to patriarchy, began in Sumer. Sumer began as a Goddess oriented agricultural village and ended as a civilization, which grew from a fortress—the fortified granary. Real life changes slowly, but complex changes over time are compressed into a simultaneous image, and the myth of Enki and the World Order shows the power of the new male religion still entangled in, and ultimately dependent upon, the wisdom and physical capacity of the Earth Goddess to get the job done. “The job” is an impossible one—a mythic delusion—to turn the father into a mother. The goddess becomes eroticized, a seductive and wily sex goddess, and to survive she must seduce and lure and petition the new arrogant and armored male god.

All legends and myths indicate that the reciprocally male/female unity of Goddess cultures were split apart by force. Into all this upheaval, the war god, Yahweh came to power. The female and male principles were separated and put in their places, as when the Egyptian god Shu lifts the Sky goddess Nut  from her embrace with the Earth god, Geb. When the Babylonian sun hero, Marduk sliced Tiamat in two, parting her from Apsu, God of the Upper Waters.  Marduk slays her in the form of the great whale-dragon, or cosmic serpent. In the original matriarchal creation myths, the Great Mother always sacrifices her body herself, voluntarily, to create the world from her substance. In patriarchal myth, the mother is passively surrendered, and the father god is created through an act of male conquest and matricide. The cosmic serpent— the spirit of earth and water—was redefined everywhere. And the new source of world energy was to be slave labor, military force, the threat of violence, and death by the fire-breathing, guilt-mongering male priesthoods in the service of war and wealth.

The solar hero of all cultures corresponds with the establishment of patriarchal order, and everywhere this order means the destruction of the Great Mother religion. Our classic dragon stories come from the goddess being represented as the serpent of chaos who must be conquered by the hero. As the Great Mother of Chaos, she holds the earth like an egg in the pure energy of her coils. She represents time before the gods, before the establishment of hierarchy  and separation. She is The Undivided One, older than the individuation of forms. And she is everywhere identified with the indigenous, the matrifocal peasantry, who are invaded, conquered, plundered and murdered by the “dragon slayers” of patriarchal history. The serpent energy is the subterranean energy that powers all life. The Greek hero, Perseus  slays the Amazonian Medusa.  Apollo slays Gaia’s python. St. George slays the dragon; even St. Patrick must “drive the snakes out” of snake-less Ireland.  In Hebrew Genesis, the serpent is doomed by the war god Yahweh to be forever the enemy of the human race. In Christian prophesy, the final extinction of the dragon is promised in Revelations when the king messiah kills the cosmic snake and takes over the throne. “Thou breakest the heads of dragons in the waters.”

In the most ancient times, Goddess shrines were in groves, in caves, on mountaintops. With the building of huge cities and enormous solar temples, architects were attempting to fix and permanently control the flow of the earth current. Because the priests were no longer sensitive to the earth’s spiritual energies, they resorted to deliberate manipulations of peoples’ fears. The real spirit was wandering elsewhere, but the BUILDINGS became more grandiose and expensive. One thing patriarchal orders of all times and places have in common is the huge and square cut blocks of stone that no longer have spiritual resonance or healing power for the human psyche. The cosmic serpent no longer lives in these stones—only secular ambition lives here. The warping of Earth energies, artificially trapped below concrete cities create the tension field, the anxiety grid, the “spirit” of modern life.

The sun gods and sky gods were introduced by a privileged male priesthood for their own political and military purposes. The people were now supposed to forget the great mother and believe a male god could create the world through an act of masturbation. He is liberating his being from the sources of life, from responsibility to the being of the world. He liberates himself by recklessly and arrogantly, destroying the interconnecting webwork of which he is a part, and then there is nothing but wasteland and death. And his power over all.

Alexander the Great slew no dragons—instead he slashed through the Gordian knot with his sword. Knots are  sacred, found in the goddess imagery of Crete, and of Demeter. Knots have had forever back in human consciousness been symbolically aligned with the goddess, and the magical language of poetry. Instead of going into a sacred trance as shamans did, or entering a journey to the underworld like Inanna or Isis, or waiting till he knew how to untie it, Alexander was historically signaling the triumph of patriarchy. He slashes through sacred paradox, the serpent guarding the treasure. He denies cyclic recurrence, and he glorifies in war. The great mother is not entirely eliminated at first—she is married to the conquering sky god—and she never again appears anywhere with any power.

The Indo European people were white, tall, big boned. They entered history with a superior technology, and they swept down and killed or enslaved the smaller, darker, agricultural people. Everywhere they settled,  they established themselves as a priestly, intellectual, warrior elite. Everywhere, the conquered did the work. Racist theories are closely bound up with the defeat of these Goddess worshipping women cultures.

From the beginnings of sun-god-patriarchy to the present day, imperialist invaders used a sex ploy to divide and conquer indigenous people. They drove a wedge between men and women—this was the best way to demoralize a people—to get men to despise and control “their” women is to turn them effectively against the very source of their being— against their mothers and their partners, and, most potently, against the very earth itself. The sun god’s troops relate to women as slaves and property, not partners, not equals. This is how you rob a colonized people o their energies—set up the male against the female. No longer bound to each other by mutual respect and common history, but by mutual fear antagonized by mutual guilty need. Then come the armies who enroll the native males as terrorists, and these young men are “rewarded” by being allowed to rape, torture, and slaughter their own people.

WHY DOES THIS WORK? Because the relation between the sexes is always very delicately balanced. Balance is maintained by generations of ritual and customs, which are destroyed by invasion and colonization. The male ontological situation is very fragile. In both hunting and war, men experience the acquisition of things they have not themselves produced. This can swell the egos’ sense of power, falsely. Among Mother Goddess Stone Age people,  this danger is balanced by ritual propitiation, prayer and giving back, and by the strong intact spiritual perception that life is given, not taken. The aggressive war god ideology of patriarchy counters this perception, this humble sense of life with another— To the victor belongs the spoils, they say; All’s fair in love and war, we hear; The meek shall inherit the earth— we’re told to wait for heavenly afterlife. And so the male ego is given power over the source of life, in this life.

In ancient Sumeria, “sheep-fold’ meant “vulva”. Inanna was a sexy goddess, and the shepherd king was consecrated in sacred marriage to her. She was the fruitful Neolithic garden. The king ensures the prosperity of his people by being a good lover to the goddess. The settled people of the Old Testament, like everyone else in the Middle East, practiced Goddess worship. The Hebrews were nomads, and the patriarchal people who invaded lands belonging to ancient matriarchal Canaanites. They worshipped orgiastic-ecstatic Moon Mother, Astarte. The invasions and slaughters  described as a “spiritual victory” of Yahweh and his chosen people, who kept backsliding into the religion of the great mother. This constant fight against matriarchal religion and custom is the primary theme of the Old Testament. It is the story of a war against Goddess worshippers. All the sacred symbols— tree, serpent, fruit, moon, woman—become icons of evil.

Monotheism did not begin with the Jews— it began, like everything else, with the worship of the Goddess. The worldwide prehistoric worship of the Goddess was a monotheism in which the female form of divinity was supreme.

Biblical Leviticus (written by the Levite priests) introduces a political, holy war.  Leviticus gives us the most punitive, misogynistic laws against women ever written down. They were consumed with the hatred of the Goddess and of women, and intent on instituting patrilineal property and inheritance rights and the father-dominated-family, based on women’s total submission, social degradation, and spiritual disinheritance.  The Levites were an elite class, living in luxury and serviced by slaves, like the Hindu Brahmin and The Greeks and Romans.

The Hebrew tribes were pastoralists on the move, showing the restlessness of mind and ego characteristic of the Bronze Age. They were no longer fully immersed in the mutual effort of ritual, the cycles of the Goddess designed to maintain the equilibrium of seasonal recurrence, and so, they were detached from the earth. They experienced themselves, through their god, as detached, becoming separated, individuating as “chosen people”, no longer bound to the earthly cycles of the Mother. Also, their land in the Middle East was degraded by the time they settled there, and was an enemy too, and so nature was a force to be feared and fought. The old ecstatic-holistic experience of Oneness with the earth and the creator was gone.

God could no longer be known, but instead had to be thought about and thought toward. In contrast to the art that preceded it, this male God’s image was forbidden. The patriarchal priesthood had to design verbal descriptions of god, in the form of rules for how to act to get this god’s attention. This was because god is no longer all-pervasively there, present on earth with the people and creation, or looking out from the inside and in from the outside. Ethical maps had to be written down to tell the people’s minds how to reach out to something holy and terrifying that is acknowledged to be distant. As people separate more and more from oneness within the body—within the earth within the cosmos, religious doctrine takes on the form of instructional maps on how to get there and how to get back. But maps based on a god, located in the mind, cannot take people back to the female source.

The asherah was the symbol of the Goddess of the time. She was perceived as a female tree, and planted at all the altars and holy places. Yahweh ordered all evidence of her, all worship of her to be destroyed. His absolute hostility to the mother-daughter of all creation, all knowledge and abundance of the settled agricultural matriarchal peoples became a psychological hostility to the entire living earth. Yahweh, the nomadic god  of cattle breeding, warfare, moralistic wrath, and misogyny, becomes enthroned as god-the- father, enemy-of-the-mother. This was holy war—the commandment of slaughter of religious enemies, of people who believed differently. The Old Testatment is the handbook for holy war, recognized by both Christianity and Islam as “the word of god”.

What was Yahweh jealous of? Of the goddess and her lover, of the sacred-sexual relationship itself. He and his religion are based on a violently asexual, or anti-sexual morality never before seen on earth.  Sex—the source of pleasure and life and love— becomes the enemy of god. The feared and then wholly exterminated mother and her earth, and thereby evolution itself, and the cycles of life’s processes is totally separated from their concept of deity. Yahweh alone among all male gods of the earth, never has sex with a female. He is the only male god in the history of the world who never made love to a female or to the earth. In Christianity, his son is born without sex, from a sexless virgin mother, who counsels his male followers to give up sex and femaleness forever. The paranoid patriarchy dealt with their male fear and hostility towards the Goddess by eliminating the female sex entirely from the creation or purpose of the world.

Female blood was a sacred element in all goddess religion, and so there were extremely punitive taboos and spiritual laws against female blood. What had been sacred for so long was rewritten as a process of filth, shame, and corruption of the psyche and the spirit. This move was designed to take control over human life and the burgeoning Neolithic abundance by destroying the original communal bonding of people through the blood of their mothers, and to replace this with a new covenant made with male blood- circumcision. It wrenched the sexes out of balance to this day. Under the purity taboos of Leviticus, Hebrew women who gave birth to sons were “unclean” for 7 days and must “purify” themselves for 33 days following childbirth. A woman who bears a daughter is “unclean” for 66 days, and must then make a sin offering as an atonement for bearing a female.

We have still not recovered from that act of primary alienation from the source of our earthly lives. Still we worship a male nomadic god who’s power comes not from giving birth, or enhancing life, but from dominating and breeding cattle herds as a sign of individual egoistic wealth. And dominating women, who were re-imagined as unclean-but- profitable-cows as well.

The excessive Hebrew condemnation and punishment of homosexuality, which was a common and universal Neolithic practice, was another attack on all shamanistic-ecstatic religion, against the bisexual image, theory, and practice of the Great goddess. The balancing of male and female energies was always the goal of Paleolithic and Neolithic religions. Bisexuality and homosexuality are symbolic and real enactments of this balancing vision, to live the self in the other, to free oneself from gender by enlarging gender experience to total experience.  If god never has sex with a male or a female, what then is Yahweh ? He is pure spirit, he is not here on earth, a Hebrew male above sex, and above all, from his vast distance in the unreachable sky, he is above life.

There was no longer any containing image to inspire the spontaneous trust and joy in life, or in life’s magical processes. There was only awe, and fear of divine wrath if you screwed up. Now that we have sacrificed the old human experience of belonging to a sacred earth and a sacred heaven, how do we not sacrifice all of life? The state of consciousness must be continually enlarged and deepened as human insight evolves. The image of the iety is separate from the unknowable nature of the divine, as with the chrysalis leaving room for the butterfly to emerge. How are we to emerge, now?

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