A SPIRITUAL ANALYSIS
This work was written by Roderick W. Marling and is protected by copyright. However it is formatted so that you can easily download it for your own personal use. Give it to all those you feel might benefit, but for any other consideration please contact KamaKala Publications.
"Do not think that I have come to send peace upon the earth; I have come to bring a sword, not peace. Matt. 10:34
In the above, Jesus was not talking about a physical weapon, but rather he was talking about power of the mind, the power of mental discrimination, which like a sword can be used to cut through our tribal programming, our cultural trance and our personal delusions.
This process is definitely not peaceful - to the contrary, it can be very upsetting. On the other hand, it is essential if we are ever to mature spiritually. Just as in early childhood, our perception of our parents gradually changed from one that viewed our parents as all powerful, larger than life figures, to one that became more realistic. A similar process can be observed in regard to our perception of our religion, culture and heroes.
The following work then is not a peaceful bedtime story. It skillfully cuts through the pretty packaging with which we've all become hypnotized, to reveal the shadow side of the historical narrative, the dark undercurrent that has to be directly perceived if one is to ever gain a better understanding of our collective past. It is through this expanded understanding then, almost ironically, that we can collectively break free of our past mistakes, and begin to embrace a more fulfilling future.
From around 10,000-7,000 BCE (Before Common Era) there appeared in various places throughout the world, communities based on agriculture. These agricultural communities were well planned villages and towns, some of which later on developed elaborate irrigation and sanitation systems. Extensive trade also existed between these early settlements, even though some of them were thousands of miles apart.
One of the most striking features about these communities however, was the fact they were all built without any fortifications or defenses of any kind. These early cultures simply didn't manufacture weapons of war.
In general, the development of technology served the purposes of sustaining and enhancing the quality of life. Technology made life more pleasurable, freeing up time and creative energy. This is the Age of decorated pottery and other art works, stone carvings, and jewelry made from copper and gold. Writing, mathematics and astronomy also had their beginnings somewhere between 4,000 and 3,000 BCE.
Social organizations were founded on the relationship of mothers caring for their children. Nurturing and cooperation were the values that pervaded all activities. There was common ownership of the means of production, and the equal distribution of the wealth. There was also equality between men and women, with women playing a vital role at all levels of society.
Reigning supreme over these societies from horizon to horizon, was the Queen of Heaven and Earth - the Goddess. Known by many different names in many different lands, she was the origin and the substance of all Creation. She was the nurturing Mother, the indulgent Lover, and the merciful Grandmother, who received the dying back into her arms, to be reborn again. She was the living Whole, and all life's creative expressions were unique parts of this wholeness. Life was integrated into a mysterious, yet beautiful Cosmos.
This Cosmology then, was the original spiritual impulse of humanity come to bloom in all its magnificence. It was grounded in a biocentric spirituality, which perceived Nature as a living manifestation of the Divine, and sought to maintain a sacred bond with the rhythmic processes of the Earth.
Beyond the borders of this Sacred Reality, beyond the peaceful values of its culture, brewing in the dim twilight mists of the collective unconscious mind of civilized humanity, was a catastrophe from which the world is yet trying to recover. Out on the cold and arid steps of central Asia there lived a huge population of tribes, whose cultural evolution had developed along radically different lines.
At the very heart of this culture we do not find the paradigm of the nurturing mother, but one of a distant and dominating father. In Greek and Latin, the father and head of the household was known as "pater". From this word we get the term "patriarchy", which is a social organization where the "pater" or father rules exclusively.
In the structure of patriarchy, the male has absolute authority over all his dependents, including decisions of life and death. All wealth and property is owned by adult males, and passed down through the male line. Descent and succession are always traced through the male line as well.
This social arrangement was a reflection of the prevailing mythology of the culture. Within their belief system, these people worshipped Gods who were distant and many times wrathful. These male deities lived in the sky or on inaccessible mountaintops, and were perceived as having absolute supremacy and demanded blind obedience. Sometimes they wielded thunderbolts as a weapon of their wrath and punishment. Storms wind and fire were also instruments of their domination.
The dynamics of this Cosmology was based on fear. The Natural World was not perceived as a friendly place, producing an abundance of food and opportunities for pleasure and enjoyment. Rather, the world was perceived as a place of hostility, where the scarcity of food made life a constant struggle. Nature had to be appeased, appropriated, controlled or dominated in order for life to continue.
Another extremely important feature of their Cosmology was that in their eyes, the Natural World was not birthed. It was not perceived as part of the living body of the Deity. Rather, their world was made by a Creator, who remained separated from his creation. Spirit and Nature were split apart, and even antagonistic to one another.
With this type of mythology then, we can easily see how the cultural values that evolved among these patriarchal tribes were so radically different from those of the earlier Goddess centered cultures.
Furthermore, it's important to realize these people never developed agriculture. Originally, they were hunting and gathering tribes, who eventually developed large herds of domesticated cattle. They also domesticated horses and used them for transportation.
They were also nomadic tent dwellers, always moving with their herds, always looking for more or better pasture land. Their society was arranged with a rigid class structure. Those at the top of this hierarchy or "sacred order" were the strongest males, one of whom became the chief or king. The strongest warrior became the hero, the ideal of the social structure, and usually became the chief or king. In this way dominance and violence became equated with masculinity.
Moreover, this culture placed a high priority on all technological developments that could further serve their growing arsenals. They considered their weapons as sacred objects. They made various kinds of elaborate clubs, knives and battle axes, and they eventually developed the sword. But by far, their greatest military achievement was the development of the two horse chariot, with which they were absolutely invincible.
These patriarchal nomadic tribes have come to be known by various names: Kurgan, Indo-European, Indo-Germanic and Aryans. Some of the more specific tribes within this general group who have left their mark in our written historical accounts are the Hittites; the Archaeans, the Dorians, the Germans and the Celts.
All these people belonged to a common race known to anthropologists as the Alpine race. They were white skinned and much larger than the dark skinned races of the Goddess culture. They are also classified by a specific group of languages, all of which belong to what is now called the Indo-European family of languages.
We do not know for sure what initially motivated these people to leave their traditional home lands. Maybe some natural catastrophe, a dramatic change in climate, maybe the pressure of other tribes moving in and competing for limited resources. But for whatever reason, around 5,000 to 2,800 BCE these people began to push West. They came in waves, and left destruction and devastation in their wake. They plundered and burned the unfortified cities and towns of ancient Europe, and killed a large percentage of the original inhabitants. Archaeologically, this has been well documented, with site after site showing the same horrific evidence, along with a sharp decline of the original culture.
There was a dramatic disappearance of traditional art, sculpture, architecture and pottery. There was also a marked decrease in the size of future settlements.
The strong man ruler became increasingly more predominant, and was perceived as divinely ordained by the Sky God. Dominance, conquest, and violence became valued characteristics. Art work began to reflect such values, depicting conquerors as heroes.
Funeral remains at this time, indicated a radical shift in the cultural values in the areas in which the Indo-Europeans settled. Grave sites are now found with the male ruler buried with numerous women and children, and even animals, all sacrificed at the time of his death.
About 1,800 BCE hordes of these barbaric tribes descended on the urban centers of the Indus civilization in India. Ironically, they called themselves Aryans, meaning "nobles". These "noble" people then, methodically proceeded to destroy the cities and slaughter the people who they referred to as "black skinned devils". Archaeologists have uncovered at the ancient city of Mohenjodaro, large numbers of skeletons of men, women and children all bearing cuts from the sword and battle ax.
It is not surprising to find the chief Deity of the Aryans, the God Indra, to be referred to as "he who overthrows cities". The people of Indra destroyed the cities of the Goddess, and it took them another thousand years to build one of their own.
They imposed a rigid caste system on the conquered people. The lighter skinned priests and warriors of the Aryans, were the upper ruling castes. While the darker race was assigned to the lower positions. Mixed marriages were strictly prohibited. Even as late as the 4th century BCE we find in The Bhagavad Gita, the Aryan hero Arjuna explaining how the entire social structure would be in danger of collapse as a result of mixed marriages. Gita Ch.1:41-44.
The cultural values of the Aryans were eventually written down in the brahmanical laws of Manu, Manava Dharma-shastra.(1) It should be remembered that Manu was known as a great sage of the Aryans, and was considered to be inspired by God. He established the laws of the Hindu society, and is still praised by many saints and sages in India today. I will share with you some gems from Manu's version of the Law or Dharma.
IX.17 "When God created woman, he allotted to them a love of their bed, of their seat, and of ornament, impure desire, wrath, dishonesty, malice and bad conduct."
IX.15 "Through their passion for men, through their temper, through their natural heartlessness, wives become disloyal towards their husbands, however carefully they may be guarded in this world."
II.24 "Women are able to lead astray in this world not only a fool, but even a wise man, and make him a slave of desire and anger."
V.28 "In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord (husband) is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent."
VIII 416. "A wife, a son and a slave, these three are declared to have no property; the wealth which they earn is acquired for him to whom they belong."
V.154 "Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure elsewhere, or devoid of good qualities, yet a husband must be constantly worshipped as a God by a faithful wife."
IX.30 "But for disloyalty to her husband a wife is censured among men, and in her next life she is born in the womb of a jackal and tormented by diseases, for the punishment of her sin."
VIII.371 "If a wife, proud of the greatness of her relatives or her own excellence, violates the duty which she owes to her lord (husband), the king shall cause her to be devoured by dogs in a place frequented by many."
I chose these particular passages, because they so dramatically show a degeneration of the feminine values and the outright perversion of the sense of justice, that for thousands of years served as the very foundation of Civilization.
As the militarization of the culture progressed, psychological conditioning became very important. It was now necessary to train a large percentage of the male population, so that at a moments notice and on command they might slaughter huge numbers of other human beings, destroying their homes, towns and cities. Without the least bit of exaggeration, this has been one of the dominant concerns of the Indo-European tribes for nearly 5,000 years, and remains so to this day.
One of the basic factors playing a role in this type of cultural conditioning, is the devaluation of the bonding process between mother and child. This always negatively impacts the individual's perception of self and the world, creating a condition of insecurity and fear.
Without adequate bonding between the growing child and the feminine principles of pleasure, and the natural fulfillment of desires, the sexual energy becomes repressed. Once this condition is established, the positive expression of sexual energy becomes perverted, and will begin expressing itself negatively through acts of aggression and violence, either toward others, or towards oneself.
Consequently, there is a complex structure of related cultural values that use and channel this negative psychological conditioning. Life in general is depicted as a struggle, a conflict, a competition with winners and losers. The winners are seen as the good guys, who deserve to take everything for themselves: "to the victor belongs the spoils", even when the "spoils" include women and children.
When it came to the use of the Earth's resources, the prevailing ethic among the aboriginal peoples had always been Take What You Need and Leave The Rest. This principle had sustained their thriving economies for thousands of years. With the Indo-European tribes however, we find a radically different ethical value: Take all you can get, and to hell with the rest. Consequently, they had to keep moving, constantly driven to conquer new lands as the old became exhausted. History more than bares this out. For we find this malignant ethic still prevails today.
The social structure of the Indo-European tribes is that of a pyramid. The natural resources and wealth of the community are owned or controlled by the few strong men at the top, who use sanctions and violence to keep those at the bottom in their place. Conquest, domination and exploitation are taught to be the natural God-given rights of the "good" men at the top.
When this mind-set of domination becomes internalized, and involves the creative energies within the individual, we have a condition know as asceticism. The originating impulses behind asceticism in the Aryan tribes, was that human beings could gain favor with the Gods, or gain great personal powers by forms of self denial. By turning one's back on the laws of Nature and the normal functions of the physical body, one could eventually conquer both the body and the Natural World.
They believed men could acquire miraculous powers, through renouncing all sexual experiences, physical pleasures and the natural fulfillment of desires, such as eating, sleeping and shelter from the elements. Some even went so far as self-inflicted pain or injury, such as standing in one position until the lack of circulation caused the flesh to die.
These examples of course were at the extreme end of the spectrum of social values, but what I would like to bring to your attention is this attitude, that in order to gain favor with the Deity, or identify with the Godhead, one had to liberate oneself from the Natural processes of the physical dimensions of Life. In this ascetic program the Feminine values of pleasure and the fulfillment of desires, were considered to be either a trap, or an illusion.
In the Buddhist scripture Lalitavestara,(2) a famous scene is presented where the future Buddha is at a party with a large number of beautiful women. At the end of the party everyone falls asleep, except the hero. He remains awake, and walks among the sleeping guests. Observing the beautiful women now sleeping in various conditions of disarray, he no longer sees their beauty.
"The sight moved him to loathing, and he thought: 'I do indeed live in the midst of a graveyard'. Then meditating on the idea of purity and penetrating the idea of impurity, he saw that from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head the human body originates in impurity. At this time therefore, he spoke: 'O hell of living beings, with many entrances, O dwelling place of death and old age, what wise man, having looked there on would not consider his own body to be his enemy?'"
We have a perfect example here, of the conscious recognition of the basic connection between the Female, the natural process of life and death, and the physical body. Of course in this scene, they're all devalued and shown to be the enemy of an exclusive transcendental version of spirituality. It quite naturally follows then, many years later after he becomes known as the Buddha, we find him explaining the first principle of his philosophy as: "All Life Is Suffering." This principle became the very foundation stone of Buddhism.
We can see this belief as direct opposition to the concept of the Divine as Immanent or within Nature. In order to identify with the image of the Divine as exclusively Transcendental, Nature and the natural processes of Life were devalued, and in some cases even demonized.
This view is also in complete opposition to the spiritual values of the ancient culture of the Goddess. In fact, it represents the metaphysical battle-ax applied to the very roots of the Feminine Perspective of Tantra.
The fact that some values of the ancient Culture have survived is truly remarkable. The principles of Tantra were vigorously suppressed, but never entirely eliminated from the consciousness of the aboriginal peoples of India. (Or even from Europe). From time to time Tantra would experience a revival, and consequently the dominant culture would undergo a burst of creativity and transformation. Both Hinduism and Buddhism adopted in some form or another, various concepts and practices of Tantra. Unfortunately, most all of the ancient Tantric scriptures have been destroyed or lost to the world.
While the Aryan tribes were busy with their conquest of the early Indus civilization, other members of the Indo-European people were now sweeping like a hurricane across the landscapes of other civilizations.
The Hittites spilled out into Anatolia around 1700 BCE. There is evidence they burned to the ground at least 300 cities. Other tribes like the Hurrians, and the Kassites, continued to push southward into Mesopotamia and Canaan. In 1,200 BCE the Achaean tribes invaded what is now known as Greece, followed by another wave of Dorian invasions in 1,000 BCE.
These Indo-European tribes considered themselves a superior race, simply because they possessed the insensitivity and the technological capability to destroy the more culturally developed cities of the original inhabitants. They were in continual conflict, not only with the conquered people, but between themselves as well.
To gain an understanding of the Indo-European invaders, it is very important to understand their Gods. For the images of the Deities are reflections or personifications of certain characteristics within the collective consciousness of the people. These images contain the genetic code as it were, of the collective psyche. They contain the unconscious ideals, values and qualities that are seeking to manifest on the conscious level.
A wonderful study in this whole area is presented by Robert Graves in his two volume work entitled: The Greek Myths.(3) In several of the myths we witness the Heavenly Father Zeus, raping Goddesses and mortal women alike. In one story he also rapes his twin sister, Hera, and shames her into marrying him. Hera revolted one day against some of his outrageous behavior. For this she was hung up from the sky by her bracelets, with an anvil attached to each ankle.
It is interesting to note, that Hera wasn't originally the sister of Zeus, but the ancient Mother Goddess of the aboriginal peoples of Greece. Her son/consort was none other than the young Zeus. As the invading tribes pushed into the area, they began to elevate Zeus to correspond with their own male dominated society. In this process, they claimed Zeus to be Hera's twin. Eventually, even this position wasn't good enough; he rapes her and forces her to marry him, whereby he becomes the sole ruler over all the other Deities.
On a cultural level, this story tells an interesting tale. Zeus is symbolically associated to the invading Indo-European tribes, while Hera is associated with the aboriginal people. Here we are able to see the interaction between the two cultures. The Goddess worshipping people are "raped" or conquered by the patriarchal tribes. And one day Hera, or the original inhabitants, revolt and are consequently punished.
On a much deeper, psychological level, this story also reveals something about the individuals within the Indo-European culture. They devalued their own feminine qualities. They suppressed the inner female, as well as oppressed the women in the society at large. They forcefully exalted the masculine qualities of the culture, as they exaggerated the masculine within themselves.
This internal process produced a violent imbalance within the individual, as well as within the culture at large, signified by the image of the rape. This is just one small and brief example how these mythological stories possess a wealth of information, if one is able to read between the lines.
No such subtlety of interpretation is needed however, when we examine the mythology associated with the other major players in the destruction of the Goddess culture. We will now turn our attention to a collection of patriarchal tribes who became known as the Semites. They were sheep and goat herding nomads, pushing up out of the Syro-Arabian deserts. They had domesticated the camel and used it effectively in their campaigns of war.
One of the first waves of these barbaric tribes into the civilization of Mesopotamia, were a people that came to be known as the Akkadians. At about 2,400 BCE under King Sargon, they gained control of all Sumeria. The cultural consequences were dramatic to say the least. The position of the Mother Goddess began to decline, as indicated by changes in the mythological stories.
Metaphysically the world became split into two opposite factions: the good forces of light and the bad forces of darkness. In this context, there developed the identification of the Natural World and the Female with the forces of darkness. The sky God and Males were then identified with the forces of light. This was reflected in the devaluation of women in the culture at large, and the replacement of the feminine values of peace and cooperation by competition, domination and violence. To the ancient civilizations of the fertile river valleys, these changes came upon them as a nuclear winter. And the invasions continued.
The next wave of Semitic tribes were known as the Amoritic Babylonians, who carved out an empire with Babylon as its capital. Around 1,800 BCE one of their leaders, King Hammurabi codified and rewrote many of the ancient laws of the original inhabitants into a new text, for which he is still famous.
Another group of Semitic invaders was the Canaanites, who moved into Palestine and Syria. They were followed by the Hebrews around 1,900 BCE.
We can gain a tremendous insight into some of these invasions from the writings of the Hebrews. They quite graphically describe what happened in the Old Testament of the Bible. They claimed their Deity gave them the land of Canaan, and that it was theirs by "Divine Right". It mattered little to them, that this area had already been a center of civilization for thousands of years. It became their "promised land", and with "Divine orders" they waged a campaign of genocide against the inhabitants.
"When you shall pass over the river Jordan, entering into the land of Canaan, destroy all the inhabitants of that land: beat down their pillars and break in pieces their statues, and waste all high places." Numb.33:49-56
"Observe thou that which I command thee this day: Behold I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Hittite and the Perizite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Take heed to thyself lest thou make a covenant (treaty) with the inhabitants of the land wither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee; But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images and cut down their graves, for thou shalt worship no other God, for the Lord . . . is a jealous God". Exod 34:11-16.
This wasn't a mission to win converts to their religion, or to somehow spread their cultural enlightenment. This was simply a brutal campaign of aggression and conquest. When they met resistance, as in the case of King Sihon of the city of Jahaz, the Israelites under the leadership of Moses demonstrated their brutality.
"The Lord our God delivered him into our hands; we killed him with his sons and all his people. We captured all his cities at that time and put to death everyone in the cities: men, women and dependents; we left no survivors". Deut.2:33
This was not an isolated case, as one might hope. The text goes on and on, city after city captured and all the people slaughtered.
"Joshua captured Mukkedah and put both King and people to the sword, destroying both them and every living thing in the city. He left no survivors, and he dealt with the King of Makkedah as he had dealt with the King of Jericho. Then Joshua and all the Israelites marched on from Mukkedah to Libnah and attacked it. The Lord delivered its' King and the city to the Israelites, and they put its' people and every living thing in it to the sword; they left no survivors there, and dealt with its' King as they had dealt with the King of Jericho. From Libnah, Joshua and all the Israelites marched on Lachish, took up their positions and attacked it. The Lord delivered Lachish into their hands: they took it on the second day and put every living thing in it to the sword as they had done in Libnah." Joshua 10:28-32
This by no means exhausts the description of the holocaust. Page after page, it goes on like this, until one is naturally left wondering what kind of God is it, that actively promotes genocide? When examining the written accounts the Hebrews left behind, we find that originally the name of their God was never spoken, and it was deliberately written so that it could not be pronounced. It was written with only four consonants: YHWH. As a substitute for this secret name, they used the words Adondi or Elohim.
Hundreds of years after the original scripture was written, scholars who no longer knew what the missing vowels were, attempted to reconstruct the word. They then came up with the name Yahweh, interpreting its meaning as part of the verb "to be", to give their Deity the title, "the one who is".
Whatever the true pronunciation of the name of their God may have been, we do have definite and clear images of his character. Their God was described as a Father-Creator who essentially made the world out of nothing. He created human beings in his own image, and he saw that everything was good.
Then, after some time, things started to go very wrong. The children he created in his own image became disobedient. God was then sorry he ever made the whole lot.
He said: "I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, from man even to beasts, from the creeping thing even to the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them." Genesis 6:5-7
"Behold I will bring the waters of a great flood upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, under heaven. All things that are in the earth shall be consumed." Gen.6:17.
Of course he doesn't annihilate everything, but spares one family of human beings and a number of animals to repopulate the Earth. But the image is clear, God is perceived as a strict, authoritarian Father. And when he is disobeyed, he becomes the punishing parent, who is capable of killing even his own children; not just the ones who have misbehaved, but also the innocent ones as well. Or are we left to assume that all the animals and plants were guilty by association?
We have to step back from the story line just enough, to imagine what it is like to live in a family where your father has just killed your brothers and sisters, and destroyed the entire house as well. What kind of trauma within your psyche would this produce?
When we thoroughly explore some of the consequences to this type of psychological programming, we are led to the conclusion that this particular image of Deity, is perhaps one of the most pathological images ever to evolve out of the human mind. A dictatorial father who "lays down the law" to his children, and if they somehow misbehave becomes the punishing parent, "for their own good". And of course, in this dysfunctional family, the punishment is death.
Undoubtedly, this represents the child's worst nightmare. The loving and nurturing parent turned killer. It is a betrayal of the bonding process. The development of security and trust are completely undermined, and the internal dynamic is now based on fear, not love. But just as in any dysfunctional family, the culture at large is in deep denial. No one is willing to talk about Daddy.
The image of the killer parent was not some abstract, mythological symbol, simply taught to small children to scare them into behaving themselves. Not at all. In this culture, the killer parent became a concrete reality. How do we know this? We know this for a fact, because once again it is written down in the Bible for all to read.
"He that curseth his father or mother shall be put to death." Ex.21:17
"He that striketh his father or mother shall be put to death." Ex.21:13
"She that plays the harlot in her father's house shall be put to death." Deut.22:21
"Six days you shall have to do work: the seventh day shall be holy unto you...he that does any on it, shall be put to death." Ex.35:2
"If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, or who commits adultery with his friends wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death". Lev.20:10
"If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death." Lev.20:13
"Now a man or a woman who is a medium or spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones." Lev.20:27
"If your brother or son or daughter or wife or friend suggest serving other gods, you must kill them, your hand must be the first raised in putting them to death, and all the people shall follow you". Deut.13:6
"If the inhabitants of a town that once served the Lord your God, now serve other gods, you must kill all the inhabitants of that town, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. And all the household goods that are there, thou shalt gather together in the midst of the streets thereof, and shalt burn them with the city itself, so as to consume all for the Lord thy God, and that it be a heap forever: it shall be built no more." Deut.13:12-16
Like the violent patriarchal Indo-Europeans, we find the Semitic tribes also developed strong anti-feminine, anti-sexual values. In the first book of the Bible, the Hebrew Father God curses his disobedient daughter, Eve:
"I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you." Gen.3:16
This curse lays the foundation on which a great prison is built, and one half of humanity is seen as its rightful inmates. Because of the disobedience of Eve, all females were perceived as cursed. Consequently, they were made subservient to males by divine decree. This theme continued to be propagated and developed in all facets of the Semitic culture.
Another aspect to this anti-feminine attitude is the complete devaluation of the birth process itself. Birth is no longer seen as a miraculous event, in which women participate in the creative powers of the Mother Goddess. In this new context, it is perceived as a curse of the Father God.
In chapter 12 of the book of Leviticus this theme is developed further. Birth is seen as something "dirty" or spiritually degenerate. It boldly declares that a woman who has given birth is considered unclean, and needs to be put in isolation for purification. Furthermore, if the baby is female, the mother is considered more impure than if she had a male, and is ordered to spend twice as long in her spiritual quarantine.
This negative programming is not some minute, isolated example. This attitude was pandemic, continuing to develop for more than two thousand years and still exists to this day.
Another important insight into the prevailing attitude toward females within the Semitic culture, was revealed in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 22 verses 28-29.
"If a man find a girl that is a virgin which is not betrothed and lay hold on her and they be found, then the man that lay with her shall give the girl's father fifty shekels of silver and she shall be his wife."
In this belief system, rape is not considered a crime in and of itself, but can actually be an instrument of ownership. If however they are not found, the man is able to go his way, while the girl is now considered damaged goods and unfit to be given in marriage.
Once married however, a woman is still never secure about her home and possessions.
"When a man hath taken a wife and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes because he hath found some uncleanness in her; then let him write her a bill of divorcement and give it in her hand and send her out of his house." Deut.24:1
We find in all these examples, the exact reversal of the family values of the earlier civilizations. The Female is now devalued, humiliated and without protection under the law and before the eyes of God. Very much like the laws of Manu in India, we find a psychological climate that exaggerates the masculine while minimizing the feminine. It elevates the strictly rational and intellectual qualities of consciousness, while suppressing the intuitive and emotional qualities.
This psychological imbalance generated a tremendous conflict not only in the psyche of each individual, but in the collective consciousness of the entire culture. Violence, domination, conquest and exploitation become the direct manifestations of this pathology. And the image of the Deity was directly associated with this psychological crisis. The Father-God is projected as the killer parent, and all his children live in the shadow of his wrath which at any moment might be poured out upon the Earth. This was the fearful paradigm on which the cultural values of these violent and barbaric tribes were based.
It must be recognized, the patriarchal Semitic and Indo-European tribes didn't come as simple immigrants or missionaries into the civilized cities and agricultural centers of the world. They didn't even come seeking alliances, treaties or compromises. They came to conquer, dominate and exploit. This fact has to be recognized and acknowledged on a conscious level, before we can begin to understand the deeper problems of our present world. For we have inherited many of their beliefs, values and pathologies. And the Program is still running.
To further explore the evolution of our patriarchal programming, we will now focus our attention on a relatively more recent period in our history. A period, that has shaped and influenced our present world as no other - the Roman Empire. What is particularly important about this period, is that within the Roman Empire we find the actual convergence of many of the Semitic and Indo-European cultural values.
Rome's vast area of conquest stretched from England to Greece to Persia. It typically reflected the Indo-European culture with multiple sky deities; a class structure which included slaves, and a passion for technology. No army in the world was a match for their war machine, and they simply crushed any whom resisted.
However, in a small Roman province in the Middle East, called Judea, there arose a spiritual and cultural revolution that would eventually influence not only the Roman Empire, but the succeeding cultural development for the next several thousand years.
There is very little actual historical documentation regarding the origins of this revolution. What we have to rely on is information copied from earlier works, and these probably were copied from bits and pieces taken from verbal accounts. At any rate, the center of this movement was an individual named Yahshua. In Greek, his name was Iasion or Iasus. Today we know this figure by the name of Jesus.
Jesus turned his back on the patriarchal culture of the day, and began to preach a different message:
"I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from Heaven." John 6:32-34
With these words, Jesus directly challenged the authority of the Torah and the Mosaic foundation of the culture. The impact was such that on numerous occasions people tried to kill him as he spoke.
Jesus also openly violated the rules regarding the Sabbath. He also drank fermented wine, which gave the religious establishment reasons to call him a drunkard. (Matt.11:19)
Above all other social and religious transgressions however, the most revolutionary was the fact that Jesus taught that men and women are spiritually equal. This was an affront to the whole social fabric of the patriarchy. Furthermore, he boldly taught the feminine values of cooperation, nonviolence, forgiveness and love. And he taught these values in a society of men who by law were free to kill their own children for misbehavior.
What was perhaps even more shocking for his day, was that Jesus was a renowned teacher who openly and freely associated with women. In the Semitic patriarchy of the Middle East, this indeed was very unusual to say the least. The prevailing attitude was that women were either unfit spiritually or mentally incapable of receiving the "higher truths of God".
But as we read in The Gospel of Luke 8:1-3, Jesus and his intimate group of followers were financially supported by a group of women. I firmly believe, it is with this seemingly obscure fact, we have a clue to a story that for centuries has been lost. Only recently, have the necessary pieces come together.
In 1945 near the town of Nag Hammadi, Egypt, a whole library of early Christian writings was discovered. Very little has been revealed about this find in the mass media. And most likely the majority of the Christian Churches, would rather not have it reach the light of day.
Nevertheless, these writings effectively represent a huge constellation of diverse ideas and beliefs that at one time existed in the early Christian movement. Many more Gospels were once part of the New Testament than what we have been lead to believe. And at Nag Hammadi, several of these have finally come to light after being buried for nearly two thousand years.
One such scripture was The Gospel of Philip. What I find particularly interesting in this account, is that we get an unusual insight into the human character of Jesus, as well as a considerably different interpretation of his mission.
Almost in direct contrast to the ascetic persona that is portrayed by our familiar Gospels, here Jesus is shown in a very different light:
"There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary his mother and his sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion . . . The companion of the Savior is Mary Magdalene. Christ loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on the mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval."
Not much is really known about the person that this Gospel refers to as the companion of Jesus. She was called Miriam of Magdalene. She was a woman with a title, which indicated she was dedicated to a temple. In other words Miriam of Magdalene was a Priestess. The really big question remains, in what capacity did she serve in the temple? Was she part of the ancient heritage of Qadishtu, a "sanctified woman" serving as a Hierodule or sacred prostitute?
Interestingly enough, there is some evidence to help solve this mystery. One piece of the puzzle comes from the fact that any woman who served in the temples as a Hierodule, was always put down by the patriarchal cultures, and was continually misrepresented as a common prostitute. This could very well account for the long-standing reputation of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, even though there is no scriptural support for such a reputation. Yet, well into the Middle Ages, Mary was regarded as "the patron saint of prostitutes".
This speculation as to Mary's role in the temple is further substantiated by other related pieces of evidence. Later in The Gospel of Philip (4) we read:
"There were three buildings specifically for sacrifice in Jerusalem... the third facing East was called the Holy of the Holies... the Holy of the Holies is the Bridal Chamber."
The Gospel then goes on to relate, "Redemption takes place in the Bridal Chamber."
From what we now know about the ancient ritual of the Sacred Marriage, which played such an important role in most all the cultures of the world at one time, can we safely speculate as to the real purpose of the Bridal Chamber?
We really don't have to ponder the question too long, for The Gospel of Philip goes on to explain that when Eve separated from Adam, the original spiritual unity of humanity was broken. The purpose of the Bridal Chamber is to heal this split: "Indeed those who have united in the Bridal Chamber will no longer be separated." This sacramental union is also referred to in the Gospel as "the Redemption" and the "Holy of the Holies". (5)
In view of the information revealed by The Gospel of Philip, we can now better understand one story given to us in the "official" Gospels of the New Testament. As we are told, out of all his disciples, Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene after he rises from the tomb. She is then instructed to tell the others. Very few actually believe her, and some even went to the empty tomb to see for themselves.
This story seems to substantiate the idea that Mary was indeed, the closest to Jesus, and she definitely played a leading role among his disciples. This view was developed further in The Gospel of Mary, which was also discovered near Nag Hammadi in 1945. In The Gospel of Mary the language is very simple and direct. It is almost as if an eye witness was recording the scene as it actually unfolded, leaving unchanged, the all too human characteristics of the disciples. After Jesus departed, "Peter said to Mary, "Sister, we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of women. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember..."
Mary Magdalene then relates a vision she had of Jesus and what he told her. When she was done,
"Andrew answered and said to the brethren, "Say what you wish to say about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas." Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things. He questioned them about the Savior: "Did he really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?" "Then Mary wept and said to Peter, "My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think I thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?" Levi answered and said to Peter, "Peter, you have always been hot-tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. That is why he loved her more than us."(6)
The Gospel of Mary ends here, but unfortunately the animosity on the part of Peter and Andrew does not. This rather insignificant disagreement between Mary of Magdalene and some of the other male disciples, represents the beginning of a rift within the early Christian movement that gradually escalated into two widely diverging streams of ideas, values and practices.
In the early Church there was definitely a strong message that men and women were spiritually equal. In Acts 2:17 we find, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy."
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28
We know for a fact, there were some groups of early Christians who literally embraced this revolutionary teaching. Women were found in all positions of authority in the early churches, teaching and administering the sacraments.
Along with this spirit of equality and the increasing acceptance of women, the image of the Divine once again began to take on the language and symbology of the Feminine.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, the feminine creative aspect of the Divine is associated with the wind and breath, and was known in Hebrew as Ruah Elohim. It is described in the very beginning of Genesis as the wind or breath of God that moved over the waters of the deep, and consequently brought forth all Creation. Gen.1:2.
This concept of the feminine creative force became known in Christianity as the Holy Spirit. In keeping with the original gender of the Holy Spirit then, the early Christians conceived of the Divine composed of a Trinity: the Father, the Mother (the Holy Spirit) and the Son.
One of the books discovered near Nag Hammadi is entitled Trimorphic Protennia. Roughly translated it means, "the three forms of Divine Thought". In this work we find a sophisticated metaphysical presentation, specifically revealing the feminine aspect of God. The book begins:
"I am Protennia, the Thought that dwells in the light. I am the movement that dwells in All, She in whom the All takes its' stand... I am revealed in the immeasurable, ineffable things. I am intangible, dwelling in the intangible. I move in every creature... I hid myself in everyone and revealed myself within them... I am the Word who dwells in ineffable Silence..."(7)
Another book found at Nag Hammadi, which also expresses the feminine aspect of the Divine is titled: The Thunder, Perfect Mind. This work begins:
"For I am the first and the last. I am the honored one and the scorned one. I am the whore and the holy one. I am the wife and the virgin. I am the mother and the daughter."(8)
This resurgence of the Feminine Perspective within the early Christian movement, was perceived as a serious threat to the patriarchal societies of both the Hebrews and the Romans. For it called into question some of the principles on which the patriarchy rested: the inequality of the sexes; the establishment of an exclusive male hierarchy, and the use of violence to keep it in place; the concepts of cut-throat competition and conquest to gain an increasing amount of land and resources.
In light of these widespread values, we can understand how some of the followers of Jesus had a very difficult time moving beyond their own cultural programming. For as we have seen in The Gospel of Mary, even the closest of the disciples had serious problems.
The patriarchal values tenaciously survived the original challenges of Jesus and his revolutionary followers, and quickly reasserted themselves even in the movement itself. Perhaps the greatest proponent of male domination within the early Christian Church was the apostle Paul. He of course never knew Jesus personally, and in his early life actually persecuted the early Christians. After his "conversion", he began preaching a gospel that in regard to women, was the exact opposite of what Jesus had taught and lived.
For in his first letter to the Corinthians in Greece, he brings up the Old Testament to establish that women, by their inherent nature, are not equal to men. In Chapter 11 verses 8 and 9 he says: "For the man is not taken from the woman; but the woman from the man. And the man indeed was not created for the woman, but the woman for the man."
Later on in the same letter he lays down the law:
"Let the women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, so saith the law. And if they learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
One can only guess at what Mary Magdalene, and all the women that supported Jesus had to say about this sexist attitude. But Paul doesn't stop there. Not only does he establish women as a secondary form of human creation, but now because of Eve, all women are not to be trusted.
In his first letter to Timothy Chapter 2:11-14 we read:
"Let the woman learn in silence with full submission. But I suffer not a woman to teach or to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed and then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in transgression..."
If anyone might be deluded in thinking that Jesus came to free women from the curse that was laid on them by the wrathful God of the Old Testament, Paul attempts to set the record straight once and for all. He restates the curse: "Wives shall submit to their husbands in everything." Ephesiuus 5:24. And, "The head of a woman is her husband." I Corn. 11:37. An extension of this absurd logic is of course, that a woman without a husband is like a woman without a head. As ridiculous as this may seem, the tragic fact was, this accurately reflected the prevailing mind-set of the patriarchy.
It is well worth considering, all the records we have of the early Christian Church were written by the Church "fathers". The Church "mothers" had all been silenced and their works destroyed. An avalanche of negativity came down and literally swept them from our collective past.
A typical example of the dominant attitude against women teaching in the early Church is expressed by Epiphanius, the Bishop of Cyprus. Evidently, at one time in his early life he had joined a group of Christian women in Egypt. After he had left them he describes their teachings as "nonsense" and a "salacious myth". He never reveals exactly what this teaching was, but he felt justified in attacking them.
"For the women who told me about this salacious myth were outwardly very charming, but all the devils ugliness was in their vile minds. However the merciful God saved me from their depravity... I reported these people to the local bishop, and found which of them were masquerading as members of the church. And so they were driven out of the city, about eighty of them, and it was cleansed of their rank, thorny growth."(9)
This type of cleansing took place on a wide scale. The Church fathers continued to preach their gospel of intolerance, not only toward women teaching in the Christian movement, but they vehemently attacked all facets of the Feminine Perspective as well. They effectively cast a dark shadow of negativity over everything associated with women: motherhood, the physical body, sexuality, and the entire Natural World.
One of the early Church fathers, Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons in the 2nd Century, claimed that Eve was responsible for bringing death upon herself and all the human race.(10) Because of this belief, we find in a number of the early writings, the idea that Jesus brought immortality to human kind and therefore came to "destroy the works of womanhood". In other words, birth and physical existence in and of themselves are seen in a negative context, simply because they end in death. The exact same idea was presented in the Buddhist scriptures some 500 years earlier.
This negative interpretation of physical existence is developed further by Origenes Adamantius, at one time widely considered to be the greatest of all early Christian theologian. He has this profound revelation for us to consider:
"Everyone who enters the world is said to be affected by a kind of contamination. By the very fact that he is placed in his mother's womb . . ."(11)
Not content to leave it at that, St. Augustine later brings this concept to a strange and twisted conclusion:
"By a kind of divine justice the human race was handed over to the devil's power, since the sin of the first man passed at birth to all who were born by the intercourse of the two sexes, and the debt of the first parents bound all their posterity..."(12)
Here we find that procreation is the instrument for transmitting sin and death in this world. Later on he explains: "The continuation of the world carries on the crucifixion and agony of the historical Jesus."
With this, we have the completion of a metaphysical doctrine against humanity. Human beings are not perceived as inherently part of a divine and sacred existence. On the contrary, the very fact that we are born into physical existence, renders us evil, corrupt and condemned. Birth, sexuality and death, are all inextricably woven in the fabric of our fallen nature.
Based on this metaphysics of alienation, the male dominated Christian hierarchy, early on began preaching the Gospel against the Natural World. The world from this point of view, is divorced from any spiritual reality. The world is not our home. The body is not our friend. And God is somewhere else. "Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:4.
Psychologically, this split within the Consciousness of human beings produced a social and cultural atmosphere charged with disaffection and repression. Sexuality was no longer regarded as a sacrament, a means by which we came into the immediate and tangible contact with the Divine, but as something dangerous, and sinful. Asceticism became the dominant mind-set of the day. The body and all its natural tendencies were to be sacrificed to the Spirit, so that the Natural World might be conquered.
Obsessed with these concepts, virginity and martyrdom were seen as weapons to be used in the war against the physical dimensions of life. Celibacy was celebrated as a sign of success in this campaign of spiritual conquest. It was elevated above all virtues, and seen as a panacea for all the evil of this world. It was the one way of destroying "the works of the woman", and stopping the continuation of this corrupt world, that in the words of St. Augustine "carries on the crucifixion and agony of the historical Jesus."
In this toxic psychology of fear, repression and guilt, the Female became the universal symbol of everything negative and depraved. A church father named Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus, stops dancing around the issue and goes straight for the jugular, telling women in no uncertain terms:
"Do you not know, that you are each an Eve? You are the devil's gateway; you are the unsealer of that forbidden tree; you are the first deserter of the divine law. You are she who persuaded him, whom that devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert - that is, death - even the Son of God had to die".(13)
As bad as this picture portrays of one half of the entire human race, there were others who could still build on it. The Patriarch of Constantinople in the 4th Century, John Chrysostom, continues the condemnation:
"What else is woman but a foe to friendship, an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, delectable detriment, an evil nature, painted with fair colors?"(14)
These quotes do not represent the ranting of a small group of old men locked away in some mental institution as one might suspect. On the contrary, all these men were highly respected teachers and theologians of the Church. Canonized as saints, they were considered to be the very mouthpiece of the Heavenly Father. And their attitudes came to represent a major part of the conceptual foundation of what is commonly called Western Civilization.
In the beginning of the Christian Revolution the faithful were understandably persecuted by the established power structure of the Semitic tribes, as well as the patriarchy of Rome. This new Movement was perceived as a dangerous threat to the powers of the day, and rightly so.
But as the Movement grew, values of the male dominated cultures began to infiltrate and eventually overshadow the feminine values of love and forgiveness, nonviolence and cooperation. And men began to take over all positions of influence and power.
By 300 AD we find a male Christian hierarchy so powerful within the Roman Empire, that it could successfully lobby for official recognition, and the right to worship publicly within the city of Rome itself.
The popular myth concerning this reversal of public policy, is that in 312 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine miraculously converted to Christianity. If in fact he ever did convert to Christianity, it certainly was not a conversion to the teachings of Jesus. Later on in his life, he had his wife Fusta boiled alive and his own son strangled.(15) He also declared himself to be the new Messiah, who would spread the Faith to the far ends of the Earth.
At this turning point in history, the Christian religion became part of the very Establishment that it originally saw as the scourge of the Earth. Within less than a hundred years, the Roman Empire became ruled by the Christians themselves.
Now the tables were turned. The persecuted became the persecutors. Edicts were declared, that to believe any other way then what the official power structure had declared to be "the truth", was not only a heresy of the Church, but considered treason by the State, punishable by torture and death. Methodically all books, writings and information contrary to the Orthodox position were burned or suppressed.
As the Christian hierarchy tightened its' grip on the reigns of power, it was not simply content to eliminate diversity within its own ranks, but eventually went after all the other religions in the Empire, especially those that had any surviving elements of the Feminine Perspective. Fire and the sword were now used to spread the Gospel of Love.
In 391 AD, under the orders of the Christian Emperor Theodosius I, the temples of the Goddess at Rome were closed down, along with the ancient temples at Eleusis in Greece, and what was considered to be the "seventh wonder of the world", the temple at Ephesus in western Anatolia. This rigorous process of spiritual purification, also included the massacre of seven thousand people in Thessalonica.
In 450 AD the famous site of the Goddess in Athens, the Parthenon of the Acropolis finally succumbed to the changing tides of history, and was converted into a Christian church.(16) The end of an era had come, and the beginning of a new one began.
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