Occidental Mythology

 

Occidental MythologyPrinceton: Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series, XVII, 1973.

Occidental Mythology, to say it coarsely, renders the murder culture eventually comprehensive. It is Joseph Campbell’s merit to have unveiled Isis a second time, after her first veil was torn by Helena Blavatsky …

It all started with a murder, the Murder of the Goddess, and it became the mold of all the murders perpetrated thereafter. And he, the scholar, politely talks about ambivalence and inversion for explaining that the basic symbols of the Bible address a pictorial message to the heart that exactly reverses the verbal message addressed to the brain, and that this nervous discord inhabits both Christianity and Islam as well as Judaism, since they too share in the legacy of the Old Testament. We do have a constant rhetoric in the Bible that uses the word ‘love’ like a strange kind of balm for the wounds torn by violence and the patriarchal fear of the female. Continue reading

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Sacred Pleasure

 

Sacred PleasureSex, Myth and the Politics of the Body, New Paths to Power and Love, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1996

Riane Eisler’s second book Sacred Pleasure is not less of a strike of genius than her first, The Chalice and the Blade. In fact, both books are complementary in a way, they should be edited as a two-volume reader, from a publisher’s point of view.

This book turns most of our opinions about sex upside down. I agree with the author when she says that most people are unaware of the fact that their sexuality represents a carefully conditioned habit:

In short, sex does not, as a once-popular song had it, ‘just come naturally.’ Rather, as illustrated by the jarring differences in the prehistoric and contemporary sexual symbols and images we have been comparing, sex is to a very large degree socially constructed./22

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The Chalice and the Blade

 

The Chalice and the BladeOur History, Our Future, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1995.

Riane Eisler revealed in this fascinating book that we were stuck in some kind of neurotic scientism by upholding the age-old dichotomy of matriarchal-patriarchal when we describe evolutionary changes, and that in reality we are dealing with a partnership paradigm versus a dominator paradigm, the first coming close to the idea of matriarchy, the latter more or less synonymous with patriarchy.

The merit of Eisler’s approach to social history is that we can get away from extreme positions: there never was a really pure matriarchy or a really pure patriarchy in human history. When we look, for example, at the mythology of highly patriarchal tribes, such as the ancient Hebrews, we find matriarchal elements, and in highly matriarchal tribal cultures, such as the Trobriands in Papua New Guinea, we find patriarchal elements. Continue reading