"The Chalice and the Blade", examining the Neolithic culture of Old Europe

From The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future, by Riane Eisler:

[i]"The Old European and Kurgan [Indo-European] cultures were the antithesis of one another. The Old Europeans were sedentary horticulturalists prone to live in large wellplanned townships. The absence of fortifications and weapons attests the peaceful coexistence of this egalitarian civilization that was probably matrilinear and matrilocal. The Kurgan system was composed of patrilineal, socially stratified, herding units which lived in small villages or seasonal settlements while grazing their animals over vast areas. One economy based on farming, the other on stock breeding and grazing, produced two contrasting ideologies.

The Old European belief system focused on the agricultural cycle of birth, death, and regeneration, embodied in the feminine principle, a Mother Creatrix. The Kurgan ideology, as known from comparative Indo-European mythology, exalted virile, heroic warrior gods of the shining and thunderous sky. Weapons are nonexistent in Old European imagery; whereas the dagger and battle-axe are dominant symbols of the Kurgans, who like all historically known IndoEuropeans, glorified the lethal power of the sharp blade."[/i]

This contrast (which is backed up by archaeological finds) is quite different from the concepts frequently discussed in the rewilding communities, which would tend to label farming, sedentary life and townships as “bad”, and nomadic life and herding as “good”. But the theories developed by Riane Eisler are fascinating, well worth reading, and offer a clear explanation of the clash of cultures that has ultimately led to the last two or three thousand years of war, colonization, and occupation within and extending out from European culture.

I would love to discuss the ideas in this book with anyone here who has read it or is familiar with its theories.

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