A Historical Perspective

Published under: What is a Warrior Priestess?

Tra­jan’s Kiosk — Island of Philae

When­ev­er I hear ref­er­ences made to Greece being the cra­dle of our civ­i­liza­tion — or when some­one men­tions the Euro­pean Renais­sance ush­er­ing in our mod­ern era — I’m remind­ed of anoth­er part of our his­to­ry.  A part that’s almost nev­er men­tioned — that’s kept hid­den in our col­lec­tive shadow.

There was a time long ago when fem­i­nine wis­dom was sup­port­ed — and, the God­dess was revered.  Her wis­dom was taught to men and women in the mys­tery school tra­di­tions through­out the ancient world.  And these matri­ar­chal cul­tures flour­ished for count­less mil­len­nia. (Matri­ar­chal­ly-based cul­tures wor­shipped the Moth­er God­dess as the supreme deity.  Both men and women ruled dur­ing these times.) 

Begin­ning around 1200 B.C. (and con­tin­u­ing to about 800 B.C.) Greece was over­run by bar­bar­ian war­riors who brought with them their new patri­ar­chal vision.  And so began the sup­pres­sion and co-opta­tion of the god­dess reli­gions in Greece. 

The assault on the fem­i­nine con­tin­ued through Roman times and dur­ing the ear­ly Chris­t­ian era.  And, then we had 500+ years of gyno­cide dur­ing the Inqui­si­tion (begin­ning in the 12th Cen­tu­ry) and the witch­craft per­se­cu­tions.  Mil­lions of women were put to death — and this was sanc­tioned by the Church.

This is the actu­al back­drop to our march toward civ­i­liza­tion.  Many were left behind.  Its part of our col­lec­tive past expe­ri­ence — and yes, its most­ly held in our shad­ows.  No won­der women and men are so ret­i­cent about re-dis­cov­er­ing the feminine.

“The Crone: Woman of Age, Wis­dom, and Pow­er,” Bar­bara Walk­er, Harper­San­Fran­cis­co, 1985.

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