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Author Topic: Can ayone recommend an up-to-date book about the Goddess?  (Read 12960 times)
RandallS
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« Reply #30: April 29, 2010, 05:08:26 pm »

Mentioning Graves and Gimbutas will bring down the wrath of the chattering classes on my head, but both authors did more scholarship in their lifetimes than is seen on these boards in an eternity.

That's because much of Graves work was looking at thing from a poetic mythic POV (which he even STATES at times) not a historical POV. Taking it as history is as silly as taking Genesis as history.

Gimbutas was a scholar although much of the work cited by Pagans was outside her field of expertise and has not not acceptable as very factual by other scholars in that field. Many Pagans don't care because what she wote speaks to them.  That's nice, but it still doesn't make it correct.
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« Reply #31: April 29, 2010, 05:12:50 pm »

 
   Mentioning Graves and Gimbutas will bring down the wrath of the chattering classes on my head, but both authors did more scholarship in their lifetimes than is seen on these boards in an eternity.

              Cheers

                  Arne

I expect that in a few minutes that folks a lot more interested in this debate are going to rip into this argument.  So I will only ask this.  Why are you here?  You clearly think that your sources are better and that you're just a little bit smarter than us.  Certainly you show no indication of being willing to learn from us.  

Now, if you were imparting wisdom that 1)people were truly unfamiliar with and 2)had a serious interest in I could understand that as well.  I share some things about Judaism.  Lyric Fox shares great recipes.  Randall shares info about computers and software.  And so on.  But in this case 1)a good percentage of people here HAVE read Graves and Gimbutas as well as the very legitimate criticism of them and 2)have no interest in listening to you laud them.  

I'm not telling you how to post or what to do next.  But I am telling you that if you continue to make sweeping pronouncements like this, you are going to have a lot of frustrated people and no serious exchange of idea.

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« Reply #32: May 01, 2010, 11:18:45 am »

   There is, of course, "The White Goddess" by Robert Graves. It, together with his "The Greek Myths" looks at the goddess idea from the perspective of myth.

   Then the works of Gimbutas :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marija_Gimbutas

   Mentioning Graves and Gimbutas will bring down the wrath of the chattering classes on my head, but both authors did more scholarship in their lifetimes than is seen on these boards in an eternity.

              Cheers

                  Arne

Arne,

I hail from the Feminist/Women's Spirituality Movement spectrum of modern Paganism. I am familiar with both Graves and Gimbutas as these writings have been and remain inspirational within the faiths and traditions evolved within and from WSM since the early 70's.

You are clearly familiar with the reaction of those outside of WSM-influenced Paganism to these authors. So here is another perspective to consider.

One may be disempowering Graves and Gimbutas whenever one claims either to be writing based on actual historical scholarship.

Modern Paganism, that I prefer to describe as a broad movement, has two histories.  They evolved together. They are entwined. They sustain each other. They depend on each other. They each have a different purpose. To conflate them into one history is to disempower both.

There is the history that is based on logos, the actual historical events that cumulatively led to what we live today as Paganism being conceived in the early 20th century. Now this history of logos still had to pass through and be passed down through people, whether based on artefacts, writings or oral transmission. As studies have shown, nothing – not even oral histories - is ever transmitted without being adapted, filtered and interpreted by each new generation based on what they consider more immediately important. That even includes today’s credible scholarship that requires empirical evidence combined usually with written original sources. Logos is about dealing with the external world, what was required for something  - a belief, an idea, a symbol etc – to survive and be passed down. As a result, the history of logos tends to be rather dusty, dry and composed of factual events important at that time and this place.

Then there is the history based on mythos. Since the 16th century in Western cultures when logos was sanctified and codified into everything that is ‘true’, mythos has been downgraded and dismissed as fairy tales. Yet up until that turning point, religion was not about what you believed but about what you did. The written sacred texts were not logos. They were mythos. Such were not literal historical events. Mythos was something that in some sense had happened once but that also happens all the time. Mythos embraced the themes specifically important for whoever was celebrating and was enacted by participation within a framework of collective ritual. This in turn led to personalised epiphanies then were enacted back into one’s life.

Moreover, up until about four hundred years ago, logos was seen as complementary to mythos. Neither was superior, both were needed. Logos was there to deal with the external world while mythos dealt with the spiritual, with what logos wasn’t suited to do such as coping with grief or finding meaning in life itself. Logos faced the future, mythos was the past woven back into the here and now.

Graves and Gimbutas wrote from within the history of mythos. Their writing like those of Starhawk, Merlin Stone, Z. Budapest, Diane Stein, Ruether, Mary Daly, Sjoo and Mor, Eisler, Currott, Shekinah Mountianwater, Matthews, Barbara Walker etc, these authors embraced themes within the history of mythos that were important for women participants within the WMS. That were then celebrated within a framework of collective ritual and which led (and lead) to spiritual epiphanies that enrich women’s lives. To function as literal history, as the history of logos,…these writings become disempowered and detached from the spiritual purpose they were intended to fulfill.

My mileage after nearly thirty years as a Feminist Pagan Witch is that both histories studied, understood and used to complement one another, each within its proper purpose, become empowered, enlightening, enriching and spiritually fulfilling.

Amber
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« Reply #33: May 01, 2010, 02:29:38 pm »

Graves and Gimbutas wrote from within the history of mythos. Their writing like those of Starhawk, Merlin Stone, Z. Budapest, Diane Stein, Ruether, Mary Daly, Sjoo and Mor, Eisler, Currott, Shekinah Mountianwater, Matthews, Barbara Walker etc, these authors embraced themes within the history of mythos that were important for women participants within the WMS. That were then celebrated within a framework of collective ritual and which led (and lead) to spiritual epiphanies that enrich women’s lives. To function as literal history, as the history of logos,…these writings become disempowered and detached from the spiritual purpose they were intended to fulfill

Amber,

Thank you for taking the time to post in such detail.  While I find that I don't always agree with you, I do always learn from your perspective.

What you've said sounds like what I've read elsewhere about Graves and his writing.  But what I've read about Gimbutus (or, at least, what I remember about what I've read) is a bit different.  My understanding about her work regarding "the Great Universal Mother" theory was that she was writing as an anthropologist, putting forward an academic theory, which has since been discredited by further academic work.

Is that incorrect?  How does that square with your description of her writing?

~MI
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« Reply #34: May 02, 2010, 09:52:28 am »

Amber,

Thank you for taking the time to post in such detail.  While I find that I don't always agree with you, I do always learn from your perspective.

What you've said sounds like what I've read elsewhere about Graves and his writing.  But what I've read about Gimbutus (or, at least, what I remember about what I've read) is a bit different.  My understanding about her work regarding "the Great Universal Mother" theory was that she was writing as an anthropologist, putting forward an academic theory, which has since been discredited by further academic work.

Is that incorrect?  How does that square with your description of her writing?

~MI

Moon Ivy,

Marija Gimbutas was indeed writing as an anthropologist that put forth academic theories that have since been discredited. Her “Civilisations of the Goddess, The World of Old Europe”, “Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe” and “Language of the Goddess” were very inspirational to me as a young Dianic Witch, back in the early 80’s. Even today, what she wrote resonates for me in other ways, deeper, more profoundly and perhaps because I have since learned to allow them to do so as mythos.   

Gimbutas, like all modern anthropologists, was a participant within the paradigm of the sanctification of logos as sacred truth that has evolved down these four centuries. Just as much as religious writing, I today view scientific and academic writing and those who are disciplined to write within such languages as the demonstration of this legacy that produces at its most rigid stance, logos as literalism.

Everything in Gimbutas’ training and experiences was a discipline for viewing her work through these filters of logos, to literally seek her ‘truth’ by re-interpreting empirical evidence. There was no question that she believed in her interpretations any more than there is that she inspired and enriched several generations by now with what was considered to be a radical re-interpretation of empirical evidence.

Yet she was re-interpreting that same evidence through modern eyes, adapting and filtering based on what she considered important. Gimbutas was retelling what she believed were genuine stories that needed to be re-claimed and re-heard today without ever having heard the original versions when that evidence was being created. Her detractors did much the same, just for different agendas. Even written records are not immune to this adaptation of agendas let alone pictorial symbolism.

For me, not only because of how I perceive logos and mythos today but also my experiences with her writings over the decades, Gimbutas was writing a vibrant and spiritual mythos in the only language that she was trained to work in, that of logos. To accept what she created as nothing more than logos, for me at least, disempowers this amazing woman’s contributions.

Logos and mythos are complementary. We need them both yet casting each in the role and purpose of the other, well my miileage is that this traps one in the cycle of having to prove the validity of one in the language of the other. Recognizing both languages like understanding the synergy between both histories has let me also re-interpret the works of Gimbutas and Graves etc, in that same universal patterning of what is important here and now.

Hope that answers your questions.

Amber
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« Reply #35: May 13, 2010, 06:20:56 pm »

Amber,

      Many thanks for your delightful post!

      I do tend to make sweeping generalizations, primarily to fetch up comments. As you have seen, it works.

                           Arne
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« Reply #36: May 13, 2010, 09:07:31 pm »

Hi, Artist97 - please don't forget to quote when you're replying.  You don't have to include any of what they said, but we do want the quote code left intact (as I've done here) so it's easy for people to track back in the convo.  Thanks!

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« Reply #37: May 14, 2010, 07:21:26 am »

Amber,

      Many thanks for your delightful post!

      I do tend to make sweeping generalizations, primarily to fetch up comments. As you have seen, it works.

                           Arne

*scratches his head*

Huh. Where I'm from, that's usually referred to as 'trollish behavior'.
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« Reply #38: May 14, 2010, 08:19:08 am »

Amber,

      Many thanks for your delightful post!

      I do tend to make sweeping generalizations, primarily to fetch up comments. As you have seen, it works.


HOST HAT ONThis board has little use for trolls. And the behavior you are describing is that of a troll. If I see any signs of this behavior in the future, you will be banned. This is a discussion and debate forum. Not a Troll haven.
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« Reply #39: May 15, 2010, 05:11:19 pm »

But in this case 1)a good percentage of people here HAVE read Graves and Gimbutas as well as the very legitimate criticism of them and 2)have no interest in listening to you laud them.

On the other hand, there is value in the work of both Graves and Gimbutas. It bothers me sometimes how... vehement... folks on this board can be when something that's out of the realm of current academic circles comes into discussion.

I don't disagree with what folks have said about either source, but that doesn't mean that the sources aren't valuable. I worry that folks who are well-read look down their noses at people who take a less than scholarly approach to their spirituality. And I say that as one of the well-read.

I'm not saying don't correct folks' assumptions about what is and what is not a scholarly/academic/factual resource. Just that I think we need to watch our tone. Lecturing about how the source is crap often-times just makes someone dig their heels into their viewpoint just to spite you. Then we've lost a chance to educate altogether.

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« Reply #40: May 15, 2010, 05:37:57 pm »

I don't disagree with what folks have said about either source, but that doesn't mean that the sources aren't valuable. I worry that folks who are well-read look down their noses at people who take a less than scholarly approach to their spirituality. And I say that as one of the well-read.

I'm not saying don't correct folks' assumptions about what is and what is not a scholarly/academic/factual resource. Just that I think we need to watch our tone. Lecturing about how the source is crap often-times just makes someone dig their heels into their viewpoint just to spite you. Then we've lost a chance to educate altogether.

I'm a snob, but I'm a live-and-let-live snob.  Until someone tries to claim their beliefs are accurate history when they have no decent source to back up the assertion, I don't care what people believe.  I may think it sounds flaky, or ill-informed, or eye-rollingly silly, but it's really none of my beeswax until the aforementioned line is crossed.  I have my own weird, largely-unquantifiable beliefs which, while I'm happy to share if asked, I don't expect anyone but me to take seriously.  I consider this a sign of spiritual maturity, frankly, and anyone who behaves as you mention (digging in heels despite solid refutation) probably isn't ready to accept anything they don't want to hear anyway, however kindly offered.

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« Reply #41: May 15, 2010, 05:45:30 pm »

On the other hand, there is value in the work of both Graves and Gimbutas. It bothers me sometimes how... vehement... folks on this board can be when something that's out of the realm of current academic circles comes into discussion.

I don't disagree with what folks have said about either source, but that doesn't mean that the sources aren't valuable. I worry that folks who are well-read look down their noses at people who take a less than scholarly approach to their spirituality. And I say that as one of the well-read.

I'm not saying don't correct folks' assumptions about what is and what is not a scholarly/academic/factual resource. Just that I think we need to watch our tone. Lecturing about how the source is crap often-times just makes someone dig their heels into their viewpoint just to spite you. Then we've lost a chance to educate altogether.

Karen

I would say 2 things about my above comments.  One is that I was crabbily reacting to the poster not necessarily because of that specific comment (although that "chattering classes" comment was the last straw).  The other thing is that even if I thought a source was great, I would still come down on someone for touting him/her in the manner that occurred here.  You don't explain how great someone is by explaining how superior they are to everyone else around without raising a few hackles (mine included).  To me, it felt like the poster was saying "These people are the best researchers ever, and if you weren't too stupid to read them, you would know that."  

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« Reply #42: May 15, 2010, 05:51:40 pm »

I would say 2 things about my above comments.  One is that I was crabbily reacting to the poster not necessarily because of that specific comment (although that "chattering classes" comment was the last straw).  The other thing is that even if I thought a source was great, I would still come down on someone for touting him/her in the manner that occurred here.  You don't explain how great someone is by explaining how superior they are to everyone else around without raising a few hackles (mine included).  To me, it felt like the poster was saying "These people are the best researchers ever, and if you weren't too stupid to read them, you would know that." 

Sperran

Oh, I know. And I don't really fault anyone for the way they reacted to the troll... BUT... I know all the regulars involved and I know their particular biases and paths and whatnot. Someone who's brand new reading things isn't going to know that, and this is our beginner friendly board.

So the comments were more of a general note, even though I was responding to you. And I catch myself getting my snob on sometimes, too. Here and other places.

Karen
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« Reply #43: May 15, 2010, 07:20:26 pm »

Oh, I know. And I don't really fault anyone for the way they reacted to the troll... BUT... I know all the regulars involved and I know their particular biases and paths and whatnot. Someone who's brand new reading things isn't going to know that, and this is our beginner friendly board.

So the comments were more of a general note, even though I was responding to you. And I catch myself getting my snob on sometimes, too. Here and other places.

Karen

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« Reply #44: May 15, 2010, 09:25:32 pm »

I just caught myself in time to not make a snotty comment about all the Llewellyn stuff in his library--I tend to think of those as fluff at best.

Many are, but Llewellyn does some subject lines better than others. Foe example, many of their books on ceremonial magic and on astrology are quite good.
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