January 23, 2012

Remembering Marija Gimbutas

Marija Gimbutas was born on January 23, 1921 and passed on February 2, 1994. She was an was an archeologist who incorporated linguistics and mythology. In her work she developed the Kurgan hypothesis which stated that a peaceful gynocentric (matriarchal) society was, in the Bronze Age, replaced by an androcratic (patriarchal) society. In her view the the gynocentric societies were peaceful, respected homosexuals, and were egalitarian.

Gimbutas' books, particularly The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: Myths and Cult Images (1974); The Language of the Goddess (1989), and The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of Old Europe (1991), were really important in defining much of what is today modern Goddess belief and built upon speculation that Neolithic Goddess cultures had superior social structures. She also defined a "Great Goddess" of which many other focused goddesses, such as river goddesses, snake goddesses, etc., were manifestations of.

In the 70's, I became read (The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe) and found it extremely interesting - eye opening even. She helped me understand the ramifications of Goddess worship from a social viewpoint. My understanding of how the various gods and goddesses can be viewed as manifestations of a single god and goddess was clarified by her writings. Although I continue to be a true polytheist, I understand the pantheistic view of deity because of Gimbutas.

Of course, several of her books are in my library. Her vision of "The Goddess" has given me an understanding of goddess worship and the implications of the social impact of such worship.

Today, on the 91st anniversary of her birth, I remember Marija Gimbutas and give thanks to her as an Ancestor.

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