A few years ago I fell down an archeological rabbit hole. Let's be honest. I jumped down an archeological rabbit hole. It started with The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. It was such a great "alternative" (in quotes because whenever a woman tells a version of a story and it isn't the inherently male version it's classified as "alternative") version of "old testament" (as if life was defined by the Christians) life that I had to know more.
Of course, I wanted more of that "alternative" view. So I read The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future by Riane Eisler. The Chalice and the Blade was a great primer, a survey of gylany history (a social system based on equality of men and women). But I wanted more!
And then I found When God Was a Woman, and all my instincts about human history were validated.
My whole life I'd been taught that man came along and became God and made more men, and fought with those men, and aren't men fun. Oh, and he made woman because he needed a sex toy. So when I read about the matriarchal or gylany cultures in the Middle East for the first couple thousand years of human civilization I was elated. Stone brings the Western European Male anthropologist bias to light, and corrects many of their assumptions. It is a fascinating (should we make a drinking game where every time I say "fascinating" you drink?) "new" history of the progression of human culture and the path to subjugating women. Now whenever I read about murdered prostitutes, or rights of women being blocked or taken away I can trace it back to the beginnings of human history. And the knowledge of matriarchal and/or gylany cultures give me hope we can have them again.
Back of the Book:
The landmark exploration of the ancient worship of the Great Goddess and the eventual suppression of women's rites.
In the beginning, God was a woman...
How did the shift from matriarchy to patriarchy come about? In fascinating detail, Merlin Stone tells us the story of the Goddess who reigned supreme in the Near and Middle East. Under her reign, societal roles differed markedly from those in patriarchal Judeo-Christian cultures: women bought and sold property, traded in the marketplace, and inherited title and land from their mothers. Documenting the wholesale rewriting of myth and religious dogmas, Merlin Stone describes an ancient conspiracy in which the Goddess was reimagined as a wanton, depraved figure, a characterization confirmed and perpetuated by one of modern culture's best-known legends??―??that of the fall of Adam and Eve. Insightful and thought-provoking, this is essential reading for anyone interested in the origin of current gender roles and in rediscovering women's power.