Ernestine Elster, Colin Renfrew, and Marija Gimbutas (from left to Download full-text PDF . She believed that while other languages in the. Gimbutas Marija - Learning the Language of the Goddess - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. Marija Gimbutas, a new professor in the In addition to Marija's contributions to . She believed that while other languages in the yet fully identified language of.

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The Language of the Goddess book. Read 28 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The goddess is the most potent and persistent feature i. The Language of the Goddess [Marija Gimbutas, Joseph Campbell] on site. com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The first authoritative work on the. The work of Marija Gimbutas has been crucial to the growth of feminist spirituality, feminist religious scholarship, feminist psychology, and the Download entry PDF , Language of the Goddess illustration materials (boxes , ).

And there was always a question; what is my own culture? I heard a lot about the Indo-Europeans and that our language, Lithuanian, was a very old, conservative Indo-European language.

I was interested in that. I studied the Indo-European language and comparative IndoEuropean studies, and at that time there was no question about what was before the Indo-Europeans.

It was good enough to know that the Indo-Europeans were already there. Then, because of the war, I had to flee from Lithuania.

Gimbutas, Marija, and the Goddess

I studied in Austria, in Vienna, then I got my Ph. D in Germany. I still continued to be interested in my own Lithuanian, ancient culture and I did some things in addition to my official studies. I was doing research in symbolism and I collected materials from libraries.

So that is one trend in my interest - ancient religion, pagan religion and symbolism. My dissertation was also connected with this. It was about the burial rites and beliefs in afterlife and it was published in Germany in Then I came to the United States and had the opportunity to begin studies in eastern European archaeology and in I became a research fellow at Harvard and I was there for twelve years.

I had to learn from scratch because there was nobody in the whole United States who was really knowledgeable about what was in Russia or the Soviet Union in prehistoric times.

So they invited me to write a book on eastern European prehistory and I spent about fifteen years doing this. So that was my background of learning. Rebecca: Did you anticipate the incredible interest that this research would fuel? Marija: No. At that time I was just an archaeologist doing my work, studying everything that I could.

And after than came the Bronze Age studies, and this gave me another aspect on this Indo-European culture.


In my first book I wrote about eastern European archaeology, I started my hypothesis on the IndoEuropean origins in Europe and this hypothesis still works and hasn't changed much. Rebecca: Could you describe your hypothesis? It was the old culture mixed with the new elements - the Steppe, pastoral, patriarchal elements. So already at that time, thirty years ago, I sensed that, in Europe there was something else before the Indo-Europeans.

But I still didn't do anything about the Goddess, about sculptures, or art, or painted pottery. I just knew that it existed but I didn't really have the chance to dive into the field.

When I was traveling in Europe and visiting museums I was already building some understanding of what this culture was like before the Indo-Europeans, before the patriarchy. It was always a big question mark to me; what could it be? This is so different. Painted pottery, for instance, beautiful pottery. And then the sculptures. Nobody really was writing about it. There were so many of them, wherever you went you found hundreds and hundreds. I was just putting in my head what I saw. So then I started my own excavations and I discovered at least five hundred sculptures myself.

Rebecca: How deep did you have to dig?


Marija: It depended. Sometimes at a site of 5, B. C, it was on top. You could walk through the houses of 7, years ago! Other times you have to dig deep to reach that. Usually you excavate sites which are already exposed, which are known and where people are finding objects of great interest. Many things have been destroyed in this way. Some interesting excavations were made, especially in Greece and I started to understand more and more about sculptures.

I don't know how it happened, at what moment, but I started to distinguish certain types and their repetitions. For instance, the bird and snake goddess which are the easiest to distinguish. So I slowly added more and more information. The first book was called Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe.

Gimbutas Marija - Learning the Language of the Goddess

Actually the first edition was called Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe, because I was not allowed to use Goddesses first. David: According to who? Was it the publisher? Marija: Yes. The publisher didn't allow me. In eight years a second edition appeared with the original title, Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe. Rebecca: That first edition could be very valuable one day. Marija: The intuitive people are always the first to say that. Then eventually academia catches up, because these are the least intuitive.

Marija: The symbolic systems are very different. All this reflects the social structure. The Indo-European social structure is patriarchal, patrilineal and the psyche is warrior. Every God is also a warrior. The female goddesses are just brides, wives or maidens without any power, without any creativity.

They're just there, they're beauties, they're Venuses, like the dawn or sun maiden. So the system from what existed in the matristic culture before the IndoEuropeans in Europe is totally different. I call it matristic, not matriarchal, because matriarchal always arouses ideas of dominance and is compared with the patriarchy.

But it was a balanced society, it was not that women were really so powerful that they usurped everything that was masculine. Men were in their rightful position, they were doing their own work, they had their duties and they also had their own power. This is reflected in their symbols where you find not only goddesses but also, Gods. The Goddesses were creatrixes, they are creating from themselves.

Download Ebook The Living Goddesses, by Marija Gimbutas

As far back as 35, B. C, from symbols and sculptures, we can see that the parts of the female body were creative parts: breasts, belly and buttocks. It was a different view from ours - it had nothing to do with pornography. The vulva, for instance, is one of the earliest symbols engraved, and it is symbolically related to growth, to the seed. Sometimes next to it is a branch or plant motif, or within the vulva is something like a seed or a plant.

And that sort of symbol is very long-lasting, it continues for 20, years at least. Even now the vulva is a symbol in some countries, which offers a security of creativity, of continuity and fertility. Rebecca: Why did the patriarchal culture choose to dominate? Marija: This is in the culture itself. They had weapons and they had horses. The horse appeared only with the invaders who began coming from South Russia, and in old Europe there were no weapons - no daggers, no swords.

There were just weapons for hunting. Habitations were very different. The invaders were semi-nomadic people and in Europe they were agriculturalists, living in one area for a very long time, mostly in the most beautiful places.

When these warriors arrived, they established themselves high in the hills, sometimes in places which had very difficult access. So, in each aspect of culture I see an opposition, and therefore I am of the opinion that this local, old European culture could not develop into a patriarchal, warrior culture because this would be too sudden. We have archaeological evidence that this was a clash. And then of course, who starts to dominate? The ones who have horses, who have weapons, who have small families and who are more mobile.

Rebecca: What was daily life like, do you think for the people living in the matrifocal society? Marija: Religion played an enormous role and the temple was sort of a focus of life. The most beautiful artifacts were produced for the temple. They were very grateful for what they had.

They had to thank the Goddess always, give to her, appreciate her. The high priestess and queen were one and the same person and there was a sort of a hierarchy of priestesses. David: Was the Goddess religion basically monotheistic? Marija: This is a very difficult question to answer. Was it monotheistic, or was it not? Was there one Goddess or was there not? The time will come when we shall know more, but at this time we cannot reach deep in prehistory. What I see, is that from very early on, from the upper Paleolithic times, we already have different types of goddesses.

So are these different Goddesses or different aspects of one Goddess? Before 35, or 40, B. C there is hardly any art but the type of the Goddess with large breasts and buttocks and belly, existed very early in the upper Paleolithic. The snake and bird Goddess are also upper Paleolithic, so at least three main types were there.

But in later times, for instance, in the Minoan culture in Crete, you have a Goddess which tends to be more one Goddess than several. Even the snake Goddesses which exist in Crete, are very much linked with the main Goddess who is shown sitting on a throne or is worshipped in these underground crypts. Perhaps, even in the much earlier times, there was also a very close interrelationship between the different types represented. So maybe after all, we shall come to the conclusion that this was already a monotheistic religion even as we tend now to call it - the Goddess religion.

We just have to remember there were many different types of goddesses. Rebecca: Do you see remnants of the Goddess religion in different religions throughout the world today? Marija: Yes, very much so. The Virgin Mary is still extremely important. She is the inheritor of many types of Goddesses, actually. She represents the one who is giving life, she is also the regenerator and earth mother together. This earth mother we can trace quite deep into prehistory; she is the pregnant type and continues for maybe 20, years and she is very well preserved in practically each area of Europe and other parts of the world.

David: Do you see the Gaia hypothesis as being a resurgence of the original Goddess religion? Marija: I think there is some connection, perhaps in a Jungian sense. This culture existed so deep and for so long that it cannot be uninfluential to our thinking.

Rebecca: It must have conditioned our minds for a long time. How do you respond to criticism that the Goddess religion was just a fertility rite? Marija: How do I respond to all these silly criticisms? Fertility was important to continuity of life on earth, but the religion was about life, death and regeneration.

Our ancestors were not primitive. David: Did you experience a lot of resistance from the academic community about your interpretations?

Marija: I wouldn't say a lot, but some, yes. It's natural. For decades archaeologists rarely touched the problem of religion. Rebecca: So far back in time, you mean? Marija: Well, they probably accepted the existence of the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic religion, but the training was such that the students have no occasion to be exposed to these questions.

There was no teaching about prehistoric religion. Only in some places, like in Oxford University, sixty or seventy years ago, Professor James was teaching a course on the Goddess. Nobody at that time was resisting. Now we have more resistence because of the feminist movement. Some people are automatically not accepting. This kind of criticism ie. What is true is true, and what is true will remain. Maybe I made some mistakes in deciphering the symbols, but I was continually trying to understand more.

At this time I know more than when I was writing thirty years ago. My first book was not complete, therefore I had to produce another book and another book to say more. It's a long process. Rebecca: Wasn't it incredibly difficult to find written sources and references for your research? Marija: There was so little, it was amazing!

There were some good books in the 's. In a book was published on the mother Goddess by a Jungian psychologist, Eric Neumann. Then there were very good works on symbolism by Mircea Eliade. Rebecca: When I tried to get hold of some of your books from the library they were all checked out and the librarian said that this was normally the case, so works on this subject are definitely in demand now.

Marija: I never dreamed of that. I always thought that archaeology books are not generally read and that you just write for your own colleagues. David: Were you surprised in yours and others' excavations by the advanced designs of the habitats and the settlements of the Goddess religion? Marija: Yes, I was. This was a revelation, to see that the later culture is much less advanced than the earlier one.

The art is incomparably lower than what was before, and it was a civilization of 3, years, more or less, before it was destroyed. For thirty years now we've had the possibility to date items, using carbon dating. When I started to do my research, chronology was so unclear and we were working so hard to understand what period the object belonged to. Then in the 's it became so much easier.

I spent a lot of time doing chronology, which is very technical work. That gave us a perspective on how long-lasting these cultures were, and you could see a beautiful development from the more simple to the really sophisticated, in the architecture and the building of temples. Some houses and temples were two stories high and had painted walls.

Catal Huyuk was such a great discovery in Anatolia. The wall paintings there were only published in , twenty-five years after Myler's excavation.

One hundred and forty wall paintings - and archeologists don't believe him because it's so sophisticated. And this is from the 7th millennium!

Rebecca: Do you think the matrifocal society could have sustained cities, or do you think that the nature of the religion and the lifestyle kept it small, usually no bigger than the average village? Marija: It would have sustained cities. It did start to develop into an urban culture, especially in one area of the Cucuteni civilization which is presently Romania and the western part of the Ukraine. There we have cities of ten to fifteen thousand inhabitants in around 4, B.

So urban development began, but it was truncated. Rebecca: You have said that you think the meaning of prehistoric art and religion can be deciphered and that we need to analyze the evidence from the point of view of ideology. Do you think that we can honestly do this without being unduly biased by our own ideologies?

Marija: That's always difficult. Most archaeologists have great difficulty in accepting that the life was so different.

For instance, an excavator publishes a plan of a village. This is a circular village in a concentric circle of houses and in the center there is a house also. The explanation at once is, here is a chieftain's house and around him is his retinue and then the last ring around is everyone else.

And then, when you analyze the material, it is totally the reverse. The large ring of houses were the most important houses, the largest houses with the best floors and so on, then growing into the inside the smaller houses are in the middle.

So you can write anecdotes about the interpretation because we see only through the twentieth century prism. David: What does your research indicate about the social status of women in the pre-Indo-European culture?

Marija: Women were equal beings, that is very clear, and perhaps more honored because they had more influence in the religious life. The temple was run by women. Rebecca: What about the political life?

Marija: My findings suggest that the political life - of course, it's all hypothesis, you cannot reconstruct easily, but we can judge from what remains in later times and what still exists in mythology, because this again reflects the social structure - was structured by the avuncular system.

The rulers of the country; the queen which is also the high priestess and also her brother or uncle. The system is therefore called avuncular, which is from the word, uncle. She model proscribing the homeland, social structure, and was an active researcher in the archaeology of the archaeology of Proto-Indo-European PIE speakers. Baltic countries, eastern Europe, and the former For a comprehensive bibliography, see Elster Soviet Union.

Her Lithuanian heritage left her with Her first American article, in American Anthropolo- the conviction that the combined study of historic folk gist, introduced these ideas and the Kurgan culture. The region where kurgans are archaeology would provide a key for the interpreta- numerous, north of the Black Sea and eastward, corre- tion of both material culture and prehistoric reli- sponded, Marija believed, to the homeland of the not gion.

She believed that while other languages in the yet fully identified language of PIE speakers. A long Indo-European family had lost their archaic elements, article in the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society they survived in Lithuanian because the country was presented her analyses of the archaeology, with maps far from the crossroads of migrations. Sub- ments to the west Figure 3. One of her admirers, rines, pottery marks, and painted or incised designs the distinguished Harvard linguist Roman Jakobson, on ceramics from Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites in considered Marija to be underappreciated at Harvard the Balkans and Greece.

As professor of European archaeology and Indo-Euro- pean studies and, starting in , curator of Old World archaeology for the Museum and Laboratories of Ethnic Arts and Technology, she regularly offered lecture courses and graduate seminars in Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe and in Baltic and Slavic folk- lore and mythology. She hosted often at home visiting scholars and student seminars; served on countless commit- tees and editorial boards; taught; published hundreds Figure 4.

Ernestine Elster, Colin Renfrew, and Marija Gimbutas from left to right in at the publication celebration for of book reviews and articles and dozens of books; the first volume of the Sitagroi excavations.

Personal archive lectured widely; accepted fellowships, awards, and of the author. She had earlier visited Saliagos, Alojz Benac during an earlier trip, Marija received in the Cycladic Islands, which Renfrew and John counterpart funds for a joint project with Benac and Evans were excavating.

Marija and Colin were a good the Zemaljski Museum in Sarajevo to start excavations pair: there was mutual respect and they admired each at Obre, Bosnia, in the summer of Marija was still involved equal.

It is interesting to compare the reports. Both at Obre but traveled to Sitagroi for part of each sea- are thorough and present a tremendous amount of son Figure 5.

Both Marija and Renfrew had as one data. The important picture of village layout. The UCLA team 29 dates were many more than heretofore had been focused on a smaller excavation and on maintaining a obtained from any other site in Europe and resulted carefully controlled stratigraphy.

Renfrew and she organized a Sitagroi semi- they practiced and how these changed over time. Marija spoke about the figurines established a separate but equal dig. Deshayes and his responsibility to the Obre publication was consider- students were thoughtful, the Sitagroi team had many able, and he chose not to continue as field director questions, and Renfrew was clearly skeptical.

How- during the second season, in , which exposed ever, Marija was certain of her interpretations and Early Neolithic levels. Its corpus of figurines and pot- elated by the richness and variability in the assem- tery was of particular interest to Marija.

She found blage. Work at Sitagroi closed after the study season a subsistence pattern based on the domestication of plants and animals at all three sites, with specialist crafters, trade or exchange of raw materials, and only limited hunting and gathering.

Many classes of pottery and figurines of humans and animals, both natural and schematic, were recovered at all three sites and were ubiquitous at two. It had been explored by Dimitrios Theochares, who reported evidence of aceramic levels. This intrigued Marija, because such a finding suggested that the lowest levels of the mound would contain a prepottery settlement. In none of the excavation squares was this expectation fulfilled, however.

Marija Gimbutas left in , overseeing an excavation unit at Sitagroi. Personal archive of the author. Nevertheless, excavations revealed a rich sequence of Sesklo painted pottery from the of , leaving Marija with an impressive corpus of Early to Middle Neolithic, plus an extensive database more than figurines, which she published in the of floral and faunal remains, significant evidence of first Sitagroi monograph.

They formed an important architecture, and the ubiquitous tools of bone and part of her thesis on an Old Europe pantheon of gods stone.

The obsidian indicated trade exchange down and goddesses. Also recovered were Middle Neolithic occupation at Sitagroi and Obre hundreds of figurines in context, which Marija pub- partly overlapped, but the Early Neolithic was not well lished fully in the excavation monograph.

Marija had represented. Marija hoped to rectify this with another long been persuaded that the nonrealistic shape and excavation, and by the time the second season at modeling of the so-called Vinca figurine heads repre- Sitagroi was under way, in , Marija and Milutin sented facemasks. Because of these hundreds Neolithic site south of Skopje.

Eugene and Anna of figurines, the economic data, and considerable Sterud, veterans of Obre, worked at Sitagroi for a few comparanda from her own and other chronologically weeks, until a telegram with the permit arrived. All analogous sites, she believed that her ideas on the lodged in the hamlet of Anza; Sterud set up the field- existence of an Old Europe and its prehistoric cult had work, as he had done at Obre, and directed the first incontrovertible support.

The seminar in Sitagroi village in , presented by Marija Gimbutas and attended by members of excavation teams from both Sitagroi and Dikili Tash. She noted that the shapes and incised or painted surface designs of the Neolithic pottery were reminiscent of Old Europe pottery.

In the latter, human remains representing some years were recovered from the upper chamber, along with pottery, stone and bone tools, and evi- Figure 7. A small clay figurine mask and stand recovered dence of fire. A preliminary report of the first season was published by the field supervisors, but Grotta Scaloria was the only excavation that Marija did not publish fully before her death in Marija Gimbutas in , outside of the entrance of Scaloria Cave.

But the geogra- promise me that you will see Scaloria published. Ceramics included highly polished vessels, Marija. Also Marija named the small sculptures of humans and ani- in these assemblages were seals pintaderas , human mals and identified them as representing a prehistoric and animal figurines, and ornaments of shell and cult of goddesses and gods of Neolithic and Chal- bone—artifacts representing technology and symbol- colithic Europe and the Balkans.

In one fell swoop, ism.

Marija described Old Europe as a wide region of she brought the variability of Neolithic art front and agricultural settlements with a social organization. She center, a lasting contribution that has produced some observed occupation over millennia with debris build- fascinating work, unraveling decades of goddess schol- ing up over time, forming the mounds magoulas, or arship Talalay , enlarged now with a very new tells described in the literature.

She further postu- critique Lesure forthcoming. A polyglot and prodi- lated the absence of strife because of the paucity of gious scholar, Marija had remarkable command of the identifiable weapons and fortified settlements and the data. Gods and Goddesses fied as female and indicative of a peaceful matrifocal , with the title reversed for the second edition social structure. Her thesis was pottery, figurines, and pintaderas as an Old Europe that the PIE Kurgan culture was patriarchal, warlike, proto-script linked to the pantheon.

The nature of pastoral, and horse breeding and lacked a pantheon, the pantheon, the proto-script, and its widespread whereas Old Europe was matriarchal, peaceful, and influence diachronically and synchronically are all agricultural and had a pantheon.

She viewed the presented in a series of articles and in the richly illus- meeting of these two groups as catastrophic and trated volumes. They are written in full confidence, transforming Old Europe.

Its florescent Chalcolithic without any of the ambiguity that often surrounds the culture was annihilated, and in its wake were the discussion of cultic practice in prehistory. Indeed, the end of the Chal- tous clay figurines and the proto-script. Here was one colithic and the beginning of the Early Bronze Age of the leading scholars of prehistoric southeastern in Greece and the Balkans present dramatic changes Europe, with enormous control of an international in the material record sites burned, abandoned, and database, publishing her ideas on a prehistoric so on.

Her vision was furthermore and presents a more nuanced and detailed evaluation expressed in a kind of storytelling, even though it of the transformation. Still, the critique is fair, because the archaeological community.I just knew that it existed but I didn't really have the chance to dive into the field.

That is such a revelation, to see in mythology really ancient elements that you can apply to archeology. On June 27, , the Frauen Museum in Wiesbaden, Germany dedicated to her an extensive exhibit, "The Language of the Goddess," and she was there to receive the honor After spending much of her life in relative academic obscurity, Marija Seemed to be genuinely surprised to discover how popular she had become. And there was always a question; what is my own culture? However, Marija was a product of her Wright, pp.

Forth- adopted and understood. There are signs for that, there are voices appearing. She has gifts for the Goddess towels and woven materials are laid for her, because she weaves the life, she is the spinner. Rebecca: When you say pagans, you mean people living in the countryside, close to nature? C, it was on top.

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