After spending much of my summer re-reading her marvelous Goddess books and rethinking the important work of Marija Gimbutas for our time, I am happy to announce the launch of my online course to introduce her amazing life and the profound contribution she has made to our knowledge of world history and human evolution.
For almost forty years the brilliant radical work of Gimbutas has been a target of relentless attacks from the archaeological establishment because it does not conform to their orthodoxy. They have tried mightily to "debunk" her discovery and interpretation of a highly evolved, peaceful matristic civilization predating the rise of the State by several thousand years, which she named Old Europe (also known as the Danube Culture).
Recently (beginning in 2015) DNA studies have shown that not only was she right in naming the "collision of cultures" that happened when Proto-Indo-European male warriors invaded the ancient cultures along the Danube and near the Black Sea, but that those invaders--in three destructive waves over a period of 2000 years--actually wiped the earlier male farmer DNA from the record. We can see clearly now that they came into peaceful territories, killed the men, and abducted the women; this particular event, around 3000 BCE, created the hybrid mixture that makes up the DNA composition for those of us with European ancestry to this day.
The good news is that after colonization, the women's culture went underground, remaining visible in the folklore, rituals, songs, festivals, textiles, birthing practices, foods, agricultural rites, and general "old wives' tales" still found in rural mountain villages all over Europe.
In 1970's America, the Women's Spirituality Movement was stirring, and when Marija Gimbutas revealed her findings, first in Gods & Goddesses of Old Europe (1974) and then in its corrected form, Goddesses & Gods of Old Europe (1982), the nascent Goddess movement began to coalesce around her astute archaeological (and archaeo-mythological) knowledge that grounded our intuitions in reality.
My intention in this course is to synthesize her four Goddess books to help us bring her enduring work forward into present time as a living model of a way of life--still very present in our cellular memory--which was peaceful, cooperative, sacred, and sustainable. Permaculture, biodynamic and organic farming, natural healing, eco-feminism, and a reverence for the Earth all have roots in the ancient cultures of the Goddess. We simply need to remember.
( 7 Thursdays: October 27th, November 3rd, 10th, 17th and December 1st, 8th, & 15th)
1) Council of Snake Goddesses or Council of Women, figurines with chairs found in a Cucuteni vase
2) A typical female figurine from Cucuteni culture (4200 BCE) found in a vase with other figurines (male and female).
3) One of many elegant vases belonging to the Cucuteni culture, this one from around 3700 BCE.
4) Another elegant pot with a female dancing figure in a classic ancient hourglass (double axe) shape from Cucuteni, around 4050 BCE
5) What archaeologists call an "anthropomorphic" vase (they are always female) from earlier Cucuteni, around 4450-4200 BCE.
6) This priestess necklace was found at Varna, a seaport on the Black Sea that became very wealthy with the copper and gold that Old Europeans learned metalurgy. Varna appears to be the first place where Indo-European chieftains may have taken up residence and colonized the locals for their rich artifacts.
7) The shell necklace on the right was found in Moldava (also Cucuteni) around 4500-4300 BCE and almost certainly belonged to a priestess if we follow the scholarship of Jeannine Davis-Kimball, whose research indicated shells as one of the main features of priestess burials in later Amazon graves.