The first excavations of Neolithic sites started back in the 1940s. So why did it take over 50 years for archaeology to accept the evidence of an age in the past where warfare didn’t exist? Controversies like this have happened before in science, new evidence and theories can take a long time to be accepted if they go against existing theories. The problem is that knowledge of a Golden Age of peace ruled by a Mother Goddess doesn’t only just come from archaeology. They also come from myths and legends all over the world. What is clear there is a campaign to suppress and destroy all evidence about this Golden Age has been going on for thousands of years. The attack on Marija Gimbutas theories is only latest chapter in this crusade.
At Catal Höyük there are now Feminists and Goddess groups who are attempting to keep the archaeologists on the site honest. So when they attempts to dismiss evidence of a Mother Goddess culture out of hand they find passionate and articulate Feminists who are willing to contradict them. An example of this is a posting I found on the Internet in a Yahoo E-Group called Goddesssites.
That's great you enjoyed the site, it's so beautiful, and holds so much important history (herstory?) It's good they didn't make negative comments about the Goddess, I wouldn't really expect that. But did they mention the Goddess at all? The problem for me with the visitor's center was the ABSENCE of the Goddess, and the absence of what I would call "Goddess consciousness." Mellaart and other early archaeologists were congruent with the material they dug, in the sense that they were able to use language that explicated what they were looking at (peaceful, fertile, nurturing, egalitarian, spiritual, artistic, and so on) while the more recent archaeologists seem to shy away from anything remotely connected with "matriarchal" theories. By the way, matriarchal actually means "beginning with the mother," which makes it technically quite a good term for describing matrilineal, peaceful, mother-centered agricultural peoples of the Neolithic, although perhaps the term "matristic" used by Marija Gimbutas is more appropriate for our time. At the visitor's center there are two murals displayed--two versions of the same one--which happens to be the only wall painting from the site that was predominantly male. All the others are female-central and mostly Mother Goddesses and Double Goddesses. Interesting choice to represent the site, then, don't you think? In the display case showing the reproduction of the beautiful ivory-handled flint dagger, the artifacts are described as having to do with "hunting and war." This is a travesty, since the piece comes from the Neolithic and there is absolutely no evidence of any kind for war or violence. As I have written in an article recently, the knife is much more likely to fall into the category of knives that belong to midwives--for cutting the umbilical cord at birth. These knives were still used b shaman women in Siberia in the 20th century. Fortunately the museum in Ankara still has integrity and shows the finds from Catal Höyük as belonging to the ancient Mother Goddess cultures that are found all over Anatolia. It's too bad the team at Catal Höyük doesn't feel obliged to keep in step with local Turkish scholars and the way they see Anatolian history (and prehistory). I'm not trying to pick an argument, but I was really very upset when I went there. It was a place I had looked forward to visiting for such a long time--two decades at least--and it seemed criminal to me that no one seems to be monitoring what interpretations these "new archaeology" types come up with. There is a culture war happening right now--a concerted effort to block and erase certain approaches to ancient scholarship--and I believe this is quite political and dangerous for scholars of women's studies.
Thanks for listening--Vicki Noble
(Vicki Noble is also a well known authoress)
So what is the problem? Why was arguably the most important archaeological sites discovered in the 20th century so quickly discarded? The reason was probably because had what was discovered in Catal Höyük and other Neolithic sites became common knowledge; it would become a threat to the stability of every government on Earth.
When Dr Ruth Shady began to make known her findings at Caral the local people were proud that the earliest civilisation found in America was in Peru, but they were also very puzzled. The question that she is frequently asked is: “Why did our ancestors have the capacity to build such an important city, and we live so poorly and don’t have the ability to do similar things?” The only answer she is able to give is: “the society was organised with a population that worked to do things collectively for the collective good.”
http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0103/p11s1-woam.html Though she didn’t go on to point out that whereas today everyone works for the benefit of the ruling elite, who keep the wealth of the country in their own hands.
The Peruvian government is now feeling the political ramifications of these finds. Already they have cut her funding making it very difficult to continue her excavation or preserve what she has already discovered. Universities in USA have offered to fund the site, but their condition is that they themselves will take over the excavation. So it seems there are political moves to sack Dr Ruth Shady and put someone in charge that will toe the political line. Which could mean censorship of what is being discovered.
So it seems ancient discoveries are very political, if it became common knowledge that thousands of years ago people lived in peace and equality. Then people worldwide will begin to ask the same questions that the Peruvian peasants are asking today. This is turn could create new political and religious movements that will challenge our present ruling elite. Because if in the past we lived in a world of peace and equality then why can’t we do the same today? This is why Neolithic archaeology is very political; as it is questioning the way our world has been ruled for the last five thousand years.
The history we are taught at school shows a slow progression from time when we were brutal cavemen to even more brutal early civilisations to the democratic governments of today. History tells us we are today more advanced and free then in any time in history. As Harold Macmillian the British Prime Minister of the 1950s, once said, “you never had it so good”. The problem is that if this wasn’t true and there was a time in the past when people lived without wars, conflict, laws and poverty. This would cause great problems for the establishment. Because many people will ask “why can’t we have this today?” Government would then be under greater pressure to give the people more freedom, provide for a more caring society and eliminate warfare. This would create a worldwide revolution that world create more problems for the Status Quo than the Communist revolutions. Governments today can get away with an unequal society and limiting the freedom of the people by claiming that because of “human nature” a true caring, equal and free society is impossible. If there was proof in the past that this was possible and people were able to live in caring and free societies. The power of the ruling elite would be greatly undermined.
Now Freemasonry is supposed to be a secret society but some modern Masons claim that all the secrets of Freemasonry have been revealed to the public. What if this is not true and the Freemasons did have access to ancient scrolls that where saved when Ancient Libraries of the Roman Empire were destroyed? After all it would make sense that scholars of that time would try their best to save what scrolls they could and keep the knowledge secret. Perhaps this is why secret societies like Freemasonry came into being.
[George Washington is his Freemasonry regalia with the Royal Arch in the background. From the book Freemasonry by W. Kirk MacNulty]
If Freemasons do have access to knowledge of what happened in the last Golden age many of them may be plotting to bring a Golden age back into existence. They first tried to do this by bringing a free and equal society for men, through the English Civil War and the American and French revolutions. When the Roundheads defeated the Royalist troops in the English Civil War female emancipation was discussed as a possibility, for awhile, but radical ideas like this was quickly squashed when Cromwell took over as a dictator. Freemasons then may have realised that only women could create a true free and equal society, but such ideas were too far ahead of their time. So they may have been working hard behind the scenes to bring about the emancipation of women ever since.
Although Feminists do claim that it has been a hard fight to gain equality in the 20th century. In historic terms the speed with which they have achieved it has been remarkable. It seems that when a number of Suffragettes or Feminists have gone on to the streets to demonstrate for their rights. Then male dominated legislative Chambers have been quick to pass laws to give them what they wanted. Though it has to be admitted, that in Britain before the First World War women Suffragettes under the leadership of Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Sylvia and Christabel were arrested because of violent protest and many went on hunger strike in prison. The Suffragettes went as far as planting bombs in Churches and setting fire to public buildings and homes of rich and powerful people, to get the vote. One Suffragette, Emily Davison, even died for her cause by throwing herself under the King’s racehorse at a race meeting, toppling both horse and rider. This was the exception and women didn’t have to use violent tactic like this in other Western countries throughout the world.
In Britain the rise of Margaret Thatcher to become Prime Minister was also extraordinary. Where in the Conservative leadership elections she moved from a rank outsider to party leader in a very short time. And then she won the next election and was voted into power and the first female British Prime Minister. In the USA if we compared the struggle and violence associated with the black civil rights movement and the struggle women have had to achieve equality. Women it seems have achieved far more with far less effort. Though this cannot be said to be true in many other countries where Freemasonry has not become so powerful.
Does this mean that Freemasons are working behind the scenes for women's power and are ready to help them when they demand more power? It could be true of some Masons in positions of power, but again it would be doubtful if all Masons feel the same way, as some do show themselves to be very conservative in nature. For this to happen it means that a secret Goddess organisation has to be still in control of Freemasonry.It is also very doubtful if the Freemasons themselves are united because in their history they have been both anti-establishment and pro-establishment in their aims. The code of the Freemasons is about tolerance, freedom and equality for all men. Yet at the same time we find many Kings, Princes and very wealthy people are Grand Masters. During the American war of independence, the main organisers on the rebel side were Freemasons. Yet many people who remained loyal to Britain were also Freemasons. In 1775 American Masons allowed Negroes into their lodges, then later on these black brothers formed the breakaway Prince Hall Freemasonry. In complete contrast with this, years later another breakaway Mason group formed the Ku Klux Klan after the American civil war. So Freemasons has had within its ranks extreme racists and anti-racists. Its whole history of has been of infighting, of lodges breaking away from each other, and of people creating their own versions of Freemasonry. Masons have shown themselves be as diverse in their attitudes and beliefs as the general population. Within the rank and file of Freemasonry many of the members probably treat it just as a social club. This point was clearly made by the famous satirist Hogarth in the following picture:
In this picture Hogath who himself was a Freemason, was clearly attacking Masons who regarded Freemasonry as just a men’s drinking club, and giving the brotherhood a bad name through their rowdy and anti-social behaviour. Likewise today Freemasonry is strongly attacked because many of its members use Freemasonry to make useful contacts in business and politics. There has been even claims that Freemasonry has encouraged corruption because many members who are policemen, judges, businessmen, politicians and civil servants are making secret deals behind close doors. Also giving Freemasonry a very bad name. It is certainly as true today as in Hogath’s time that many Freemasons still regard Freemasonry as little more than a gentlemen’s club and nothing more.
The above cartoon is another satire on Freemasonry. It is about a chambermaid who fell through the ceiling trying to eavesdrop on a Mason meeting. The origins of this story come from a paradox. As everyone knows all women are banned from Mason ceremonies but somehow from the earliest times there have been stories of women being part of Freemasonry. The earliest recorded case is of the Hon. Elizabeth St. Leger who it seems accidentally witnessed a Freemasonry initiation. The story goes the family butler who was also the Tyler discovered her. So to keep her quiet about what she saw, she was initiated into Freemasonry. The problem is that this has happened more than once where women have been discovered within Freemasonry and similar stories have been told why they are there.
Just before the French Revolution the French lodges didn’t bother to concoct a story like this and openly admitted that the Princesse de Lamballe was one of their leaders. Josephine de Beauharnals the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte was also a Freemason. In the late 19th century Annie Besant the Victorian social reformer and Theosophist leader become a 33-degree Freemason. As was Madame Blavatsky the founder of the Theosophist Society and the author and medium Alice Bailey. Both of whom wrote many books on secret esoteric knowledge. They claimed this knowledge come through mediumship, but if they are Freemasons and Freemasonry does have access to secret ancient writings going back thousands of years. Then it gives another way that both authoresses may of gain access to this knowledge. Perhaps they both had access to the secret knowledge of Freemasonry and may of given out parts of this knowledge, and adapted it in a way that would be acceptable to people of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Certainly the Theosophy Society re-introduced to the Western World the concept of reincarnation, which has become an accepted fact in most New Age and Pagan groups today.
Now if some Freemasons do worship a hidden Goddess and there are females within Freemasonry in secret. It is possible to put two and two together and wonder if some Freemasons do have priestesses in the organisation? This could make sense of the behaviour of another well-known Freemason called Gerald Gardner.
Back in the nineteen fifties, a man called Gerald Gardner started Modern Witchcraft. He had a three-degree hierarchy in his form of Witchcraft the same as within Freemasonry. Many of his rituals are apparently similar to what you find Freemasonry and some Witches do know the secret hand signals that Freemasons use. Also there does seem to be a large number of Witches who are Freemasons. Witches are completely open in the fact that they worship the Goddess and unlike the Masons allow both men and women in their Covens. (Though there are still today some Freemason groups who do now allow women in their ranks, and there are also exclusively Female Freemasonry organisations).
Freemasonry does try to present a "respectable" image to the world but Gardnerian Witchcraft doesn't bother. They worship in the nude, new initiates are scourged in a ritualistic way and they have the Great Rite where the High Priestess and Priest publicly have sex together as a ritual act. While the men in the coven worship the High Priestess as a Goddess. Although this is shocking to many people today, this behaviour wasn't so unusual in Pagan times, when sex, flogging and nudity were all part of ancient Pagan rituals.
[Painting of Hon. Elizabeth St. Leger in her Freemason regalia.]