God was a woman before She was a man.
Archaeological evidence indicates that prehistoric people worshiped a female deity. These primitive people lived close to the earth and worshiped a Goddess that was earth oriented, not heaven oriented.
Even before developing language, humankind’s first attempts at communication were images that represented symbolic thinking. The earliest surviving religious symbol was recently discovered in Germany in 2008. This ivory figure called the Venus of Hohle Fels – named for the cave in which it was found – dates from 35,000 to 40,000 BCE, predating the Venus of Willendorf by 5,000-10,000 years. The press has most often referred to this figure as an example of “erotic” or “pornographic” art due to the accentuated breasts and genitals– but they miss the point.
Most of the oldest surviving myths from ancient cultures worldwide tell of a Goddess who gave birth to the world and all life on it. The goddess encompassed the entire Cosmos within her body and existed within every human being — not above and apart from nature. So it is only natural for a representation of god(dess) to be the most fertile (female) life-giver.
Noted psychologist Carl Jung theorized that the Mother Goddess is an innate concept of the human psyche because the primary human experience is gestation and birth. An infant experiences the Mother as a supernatural force of nourishment and security. Perhaps this is why images of the mother resonate so deeply at the core of the human mind.
In mythical accounts of the creation of the world, consciousness emerges from chaos and takes a separate form from the chaotic whole. Infantile experiences of the mother as both the ‘good/god’ — protecting and fulfilling wishes, and the ‘evil/devil’ — punishing and denying desires, become the Yin/Yang model of contradictory forces inherent in all human experience.
From goddess to god(s)
Primitive societies that emerged from jungle regions, such as, Africa, India, and Brazil, developed mythologies based on a dominant Mother Goddess principle. Plants were the source of food and power. Women were believed to be made in the image of the Goddess since they could reproduce, but men apparently had no existence beyond death since their contribution to procreation was unknown. Many ancient cultures even believed that the goddess withheld the secret of immortality from men.
In areas of the world where we find large plains — Northern Europe and Northern America, hunting societies developed where men were the food providers and thereby became tribal leaders. These men devised various rituals and philosophies to establish a masculine role in cosmology and thereby acquire a means to immortality. From the dawn of the Iron Age (approximately 1250 BCE) patriarchal warrior races, such as the Syro-Arabian and the Hellenic-Aryan began subjugating the rest of the inhabited world — establishing patriarchal societies and the worship of a masculine sky god.
Consequently, most modern religions were conceived by men as an extension of their need to conquer death. Females by default became associated with the Temptress, often taking the form of a dragon, serpent, or witch. To view these ancient goddesses as “pornographic” is merely an extension of the misogynistic portrayal of any female deity as an evil succubus.
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