Several people I have discussed goddess mythology with have made the comment that even monkeys and gorillas are agressive and warlike and we humans cannot escape our war-like nature. Well, its not true folks. There is solid evidence to the contrary as much as some in the established academia would like to protest.

" Gimbutas' findings reveal an ancient widespread culture which flourished throughout Europe between 6500 and 3500 BCE, in the era historians call the Neolithic. This civilization was radically different from images of kings, warriors, and conquering gods that previously dominated our view of the past.

"This was a long-lasting period of remarkable creativity and stability, an age free of strife. Their culture was a culture of art." -- Marija Gimbutas

Her excavations and interpretations show, at the dawn of civilization, a society stretching across Europe from the Danube to the North Sea in which women had high status and power along with men. Egalitarian and peaceful, "Old Europe" existed for thousands of years without war. Hundreds of female figurines were found. Paintings, sculptures of birth-giving goddesses, pottery figures of bird headed deities and sacred serpents all honored the regenerative powers of nature.

"The Goddess in all her manifestations was a symbol of the unity of all life in Nature. Her power was in water and stone, in tomb and cave, in animals and birds, snakes and fish, hill, trees, and flowers."
-- Marija Gimbutas

"Archaeological materials are not mute. They speak their own language. And they need to be used for the great source they are to help unravel the spirituality of those of our ancestors who predate the Indo-Europeans by many thousands of years."
-- Marija Gimbutas

Conventional scholars claimed that archaeology could only describe the material record of a culture. To theorize about religion was considered speculative, not scientific. Gimbutas not only dared to interpret, she maintained that to understand a culture as steeped in the sacred as Neolithic Europe, scientists must consider religion. By looking at thousands of artifacts, analyzing groups of symbols that reoccur frequently, and bringing in her extensive knowledge of mythology and linguistics, she discovered a rich symbolic language centered around the figure of the Goddess.

"The main theme of Goddess symbolism is the mystery of birth and death and the renewal of life, not only human but all life on earth and indeed in the whole cosmos."
-- Marija Gimbutas

Gimbutas' descriptions of the life affirming culture of Old Europe have sparked enormous controversy. Her theories have been widely acclaimed by feminists, by women and men in the growing earth-based spirituality movement, by artists, dancers, novelists, and by many historians and archaeologists. But they have also been attacked by other scholars, her methods criticized, and her interpretations denied. The debate is of far more than mere historical interest, for Gimbutas' work cuts to the heart of basic questions about human nature and possibilities. Are human beings innately aggressive and dominating, doomed to live in violence and destroy each other and the earth? Or are we capable of creating cultures based on co-operation and peace?

"Through an understanding of what the Goddess was, we can better understand nature and we can build our ideologies so it will be easier for us to live."
-- Marija Gimbutas

If her theories are correct, then peace, reverence for the earth and the honoring of life are not only human capabilities, they are the very underpinnings of European civilization itself."

ArticlesAnnette Wagner