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When God Was a Woman When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone
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“Yet rather than calling the earliest religions, which embraced such an open acceptance of all human sexuality, 'fertility cults,' we might consider the religions of today as strange in that they seem to associate shame and even sin with the very process of conceiving new human life. Perhaps centuries from now scholars and historians will be classifying them as 'sterility cults.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“Many questions come to mind. How influenced by contemporary religions were many of the scholars who wrote the texts available today? How many scholars have simply assumed that males have always played the dominant role in leadership and creative invention and projected this assumption into their analysis of ancient cultures? Why do so many people educated in this century think of classical Greece as the first major culture when written language was in use and great cities built at least twenty-five centuries before that time? And perhaps most important, why is it continually inferred that the age of the "pagan" religions, the time of the worship of female deities (if mentioned at all), was dark and chaotic, mysterious and evil, without the light of order and reason that supposedly accompanied the later male religions, when it has been archaeologically confirmed that the earliest law, government, medicine, agriculture, architecture, metallurgy, wheeled vehicles, ceramics, textiles and written language were initially developed in societies that worshiped the Goddess? We may find ourselves wondering about the reasons for the lack of easily available information on societies who, for thousands of years, worshiped the ancient Creatress of the Universe.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“At the very dawn of religion, God was a woman. Do you remember?”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“In the beginning there was Isis: Oldest of the Old, She was the Goddess from whom all Becoming Arose. She was the Great Lady, Mistress of the two Lands of Egypt, Mistress of Shelter, Mistress of Heaven, Mistress of the House of Life, Mistress of the word of God. She was the Unique. In all Her great and wonderful works She was a wiser magician and more excellent than any other God. Thebes, Egypt, Fourteenth Century BC”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“For within the very structure of family life, in families that do or did embrace the male religions, are the almost invisibly accepted social customs and life patterns that reflect the one-time strict adherence to the biblical scriptures. Attitudes towards double-standard premarital virginity, double-standard marital fidelity, the sexual autonomy of women, illegitimacy, abortion, contraception, rape, childbirth, the importance of marriage and children to women, the responsibilities and role of women in marriage, women as sex objects, the sexual identification of passivity and aggressiveness, the roles of women and men in work or social situations, women who express their ideas, female leadership, the intellectual activities of women, the economic activities and needs of women and the automatic assumption of the male as breadwinner and protector have all become so deeply ingrained that feelings and values concerning these subjects are often regarded, by both women and men, as natural tendencies or even human instinct.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“It is only as many of the tenets of the Judeo-Christian theologies are seen in the light of their political origins, and the subsequent absorption of those tenets into secular life understood, that as women we will be able to view ourselves as mature, self-determining human beings. With this understanding we may be able to regard ourselves not as permanent helpers but as doers, not as decorative and convenient assistants to men but as responsible and competent individuals in our own right. The image of Eve is not our image of woman.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“Poor Eve has been damned by all subsequent generations for her deed, while the Babylonians thought so much of their woman ancestress that they deified her.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“In The Dominant Sex, M. and M. Vaerting, writing in Germany in 1923, asserted that the sex of the deity was determined by the sex of those who were in power: The ruling sex, having the power to diffuse its own outlooks, tends to generalize its specific ideology. Should the trends of the subordinate sex run counter, they are likely to be suppressed all the more forcibly in proportion as the dominant sex is more overwhelming. The result is that the hegemony of male deities is usually associated with the dominance of men and the hegemony of female deities with the dominance of women.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“In parts of Libya, where the Goddess Neith was highly esteemed, accounts of Amazon women still lingered even in Roman times. Diodorus described a nation in Libya as follows: All authority was vested in the woman, who discharged every kind of public duty. The men looked after domestic affairs just as the women do among ourselves and did as they were told by their wives. They were not allowed to undertake war service or to exercise any functions of government, or to fill any public office, such as might have given them more spirit to set themselves up against the women. The children were handed over immediately after birth to the men, who reared them on milk and other foods suitable to their age.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“Diodorus wrote at great length of the worship of the Goddess Isis (the Greek translation for Au Set), who had incorporated the aspects of both Ua Zit and Hathor. Isis was also closely associated with the Goddess as Nut, who was mythologically recorded as Her mother; in paintings Isis wore the wings of Nekhebt. Diodorus explained that, according to Egyptian religion, Isis was revered as the inventor of agriculture, as a great healer and physician and as the one who first established the laws of justice in the land. He then recorded what we today may find a most startling description of the laws of Egypt, explaining that they were the result of the reverence paid to this mighty Goddess. He wrote, “It is for these reasons, in fact, that it was ordained that the queen should have greater power and honour than the king and that among private persons the wife should enjoy authority over the husband, husbands agreeing in the marriage contract that they will be obedient in all things to their wives.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“Herodotus of Greece, several centuries before Diodorus, wrote that in Egypt, “Women go in the marketplace, transact affairs and occupy themselves with business, while the husbands stay home and weave.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“Love poems, discovered in Egyptian tombs, strongly hint that it was the Egyptian women who did the courting, oftimes wooing the male by plying him with intoxicants to weaken his protestations.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“Among the Mediterraneans,” wrote Seltman, “as a general rule society was built around the woman, even on the highest levels where descent was in the female line. A man became king or chieftain only by a formal marriage and his daughter, not his son, succeeded so that the next chieftain was the youth who married his daughter … Until the northerners arrived, religion and custom were dominated by the female principle.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“The Great Goddess—the Divine Ancestress—had been worshiped from the beginnings of the Neolithic periods of 7000 BC until the closing of the last Goddess temples, about AD 500. Some authorities would extend Goddess worship as far into the past as the Upper Paleolithic Age of about 25,000 BC.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“Archaeological, mythological and historical evidence all reveal that the female religion, far from naturally fading away, was the victim of centuries of continual persecution and suppression by the advocates of the newer religions which held male deities as supreme. And from these new religions came the creation myth of Adam and Eve and the tale of the loss of Paradise.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“In most archaeological texts the female religion is referred to as a “fertility cult,” perhaps revealing the attitudes toward sexuality held by the various contemporary religions that may have influenced the writers. But archaeological and mythological evidence of the veneration of the female deity as creator and lawmaker of the universe, prophetess, provider of human destinies, inventor, healer, hunter and valiant leader in battle suggests that the title “fertility cult” may be a gross oversimplification of a complex theological structure.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
“The image of Eve is not our image of woman.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman