Question:To what degree was the civilization developed in that area that modern archaeologists call 'Old Europe', the area of Yugoslavia, Hungary, Bulgaria and at a much later time Greece and Crete? The civilization of that time was in the hands of women. That ancient world was in a period of growth and development. It was a period of expansion in all areas of human endeavor. Under the gracious rule of the Goddess, society expanded and became developed. Now it may be said that matriarchal blossomed in this area, that this was the bed of developing civilization. But in fact this was only one area in which matriarchy came to the front, in which the Goddess took the human beings and united them in communities and began the development of societies. It also occurred during a similar period in what is now China, in the northern portions of India, in the southern continent of the Americas and in other more isolated regions.
The matriarchal culture began forming and bringing into existence a more civilized society in which human beings had scope for expression in multiple arenas. So what were these cultures, these matriarchal societies? In the beginning they were herders and hunters. The society was very primitive. There was little difference between their lives and the lives of other creatures who wandered the land. As time went on and the centuries passed, those clans slowly began to form into societies. There came customs and rituals. There began to be interactions between clans and commerce arose. Societies began to form. They were loosely knit, independent and passive. They did not approach each others as enemies. They did not think other peoples are my enemies. They thought 'all are friends.'
Now why was this attitude adopted? It was because they were linked by a common philosophy and a common approach which was developed by women based upon the mysticism of birth and rearing of children. There was no institution of marriage in those societies. In fact the concept of conception was understood in a different fashion. It was a mystical experience. So around this developed intuitional practice, rituals and beliefs. The basic fertility of the female became the essence of society. The society sprang from the womb of the mother, was nourished by the mother and thrived under the shelter of the Holy Mother. So this was the first knowledge of human beings from which their philosophy, their art, their religion, their rituals and their societies developed.
Now given this all pervasive status of the feminine, it is not surprising that these societies emphasized care and support of all members. They did not operate on patriarchal premises. There were no territorial conflicts. There were no disruptive forces which degenerated the progressive movement, the expansive movement of the society. Instead there was an overall approach of integration. All were considered welcome. If a wanderer came to a tribe, that boy or girl would be taken by the tribe and treated as their own. But these societies existed in a time when populations were relatively limited and resources abundantly available. Human beings were not threats to each other, but welcome additions to the society. So it can be said, that these cultures, these matriarchal civilizations were in a period of enhanced development. Due to the worship of the feminine mystique, society blossomed.
The male played a role, he was a hunter, he was a forager, but he was not central to the mysticism which evolved around the earth and the feminine cycle. In those ancient cultures a woman of some years having numerous children would become Mother of a particular clan. She would gain her status due to the number of children she had contributed to the clan and the health of those children. The women of the greatest fertility having the most and healthiest offspring would be appointed leader, as she was physically strong as proven by her child bearing and she embodied the life giving presence of the mother. Like this women rose in power. The men of those clans worshiped the mother and had the greatest respect for the female who embodied this magic to the greatest degree. She would be the example. All young girls were instructed: 'see if you are good, if the Goddess blesses you, you will become like that one, you will have so many children and they will be all healthy and you will be a great Mother for our clan. But it must be remembered people were somewhat less in number in that time. And society strove by instinct for survival to increase its population. That is why the fertility of women was worshiped.
Now regarding the change from animalistic periods to human cycles, it can be said that as individuals collectively formed in societies of a tribal or clan structure and women came to live together, slowly a change took place and women who were erratic and irregular in their bleeding, who often would not bleed for years in the harshness of the wilds, began to bleed in a regular fashion, to have monthly cycles and to be enhanced in their fertility. Thus came the Goddess, the worship of the Mother and the increase in population and range of these peoples. Commerce began to develop between these communities. Art, monuments to the Holy Mother, fertility ceremonies, rituals of conception, rituals of birth, and the worship of the nurturing aspects of the Feminine grew until these societies began to have a Priestess class who executed the ceremonies. Within this class certain women, as well as some men, began to delve into the deeper aspects of spirituality. They began to look deep within themselves, to the Mother, to the Goddess, to the Divine aspects of creation. They began to ask themselves, who am I That I am worshipping the Holy Mother? Who is this who is worshipping? They began to walk the inner realms.
Great women of spiritual fortitude began to emerge. Cults were formed and young girls initiated into the sacred practices, but men were excluded. They could not join these temples, they could not become priestess for the Mother. The could worship, they could adore but they could not have power. So after some centuries, the society as a whole was well established in many areas but men were in a very weak position. They could not assert themselves and thus the warriors and hunters became restless. They loved the Mother, but they had no scope for their own authority. They began to resent the priestesses, they began to conspire against the established order, they were heretics but their numbers grew as time went on. The societies of the Goddesses became more closed, more formal, less accessible. Over time these men who could not find scope for their own authority grew restless and so a tension grew which broke apart these early civilizations, which undid the accomplishments of centuries. The houses of the Goddess, the temples came under attack and war became known to those early civilizations. One by one they fell to this and the Mother's status began to erode. Then war-like civilization replaced those ancient cultures and their peaceful societies.
Never let it be said that matriarchy harmed this world. But that form, that age is long passed. Now a new era is approaching, one in which both the qualities of the Mother and the patriarchal forces should find expressions. Let neither be oppressed and let the proper relationship between men and women become established. It is sure to happen. The days of matriarchy are gone but the days of women's empowerment are at hand. The Mother again shows her nurturing face to human beings. Again she says: 'Oh human beings, you must love one another. You must build a society together without war and destruction. Oh women, you must come forward to see that your children are safe in the world that is coming.'
The Goddess now moves again in the human psyche, but her movement is different than in those ancient times. God is neither female nor male. He is neither this nor that. Pure awareness has no gender. Shiva and Shakti are united like two sides of the same paper and cannot be separated. It is this balance which society must strive to realize at this time.